A Crash Course on Homeschooling for Parents affected by COVID-19 school Closings

In the midst of the mystery surrounding the COVID-19 virus, over thirty U.S. states have closed their doors to their public schools, leaving parents to supplement their child’s education at home.

While school districts organize distant learning plans, here are some helpful tips for parents new to homeschooling.

Tips on Homeschooling from Rai King, an experienced homeschooler and lifelong educator:

DO Try hard to maintain a schedule. Take your time in the mornings. Not having to rush out of the door at 7am is a gift during this time. Take advantage by letting the kids sleep in a little later, have a more complete breakfast, and generally take their time getting into the swing of their day, but detail a schedule that works best for your family, and keep the kids on a regular routine. Let the household ease into this new adjustment.

DON’T STRESS! The kids will be alright. Don’t feel pressured to recreate the classroom, or to give your kids their school environment. Don’t feel pressure that the kids are going to fall behind. Kids are resilient.

“Most of the school day is spent shuffling kids room to room, activity to activity, lunch, P.E, recess, behavioral management, and bathroom breaks,” said King. “Only a few hours of the day is instructional time, and even with that you have to think about what your student was even taking in and retaining. It’s certainly not 7 hours of instructional time. Don't stress about duplicating the environment your child came from. It’s not possible, and it's not necessary.”

What parents can pay attention to:

Every parent is familiar with the one word responses to questions about their kids' day. This time with them, focusing on schoolwork at home, can grant you deeper insight into your child's actual abilities.

“This would be a great time to read a book with your kid. Choose a chapter book. Read it together. Listen to them read because reading out loud is a very different skill than reading to yourself. You get to get an idea of what they sound like and how they are interpreting texts.You get to ask them questions about it and really get an idea of what their level of comprehension is,” said King. You should read to them too, because they learn alot from listening to where you inflect, and how you ask questions about what you are reading.”

“Listening to your kids read and reading to them is a really great thing to do right now. For your middle and high schoolers, it may be a good idea to read a book together as well. Or task the older kids with a project focused on what they are passionate about,” she continued. “Have them write a curriculum and teach it to the younger kids.”

Make sure the schedule is diverse:

“This is a great time for kids to start going through their drawers, organizing their closets, learning how to do household chores like laundry. Scheduling some time to teach cooking, they can bake cookies or muffins,” said King. “Don’t be afraid of the mess because now is a good time to teach them how to clean up the mess.”

“Playing a game of UNO with an older sibling, that’s learning. Playing a family game of monopoly where your younger child, who is learning to count money, is the banker, that’s schooling. Teaching your seven year old how to load the dishwasher properly, that’s schooling. Teaching your highschooler about credit cards and checking accounts. Even if these things don’t happen during the traditional hours of school, that’s okay,” King continued. “I don’t think parents will have such a hard time finding educational things for their kids to do as there are so many online resources. Parents should instead think about what other, more tangible skills they can impart during a time like this. I just don’t want parents to have to have the burden of trying to be teachers, and to try to fill up every moment with something educational it’s just not necessary.”

“Everybody is going to be fine. One of the beauties of homeschooling that I hope doesn’t get lost on people during this time is the flexibility. Take this time to be with your family.”

Know Your Resources

Here are some online resources that offer lesson plans and schooling activities for children of all ages:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers - this site offers free and paid downloads of original teaching materials made by educators.

  • Cosmic Kids Yoga - a fun and adventurous Youtube channel that offers free yoga classes for kids.

  • Moving Beyond The Page - this is an order in curriculum that offers a month to month payment schedule. It is not free, however, this option is well rounded and packed with instructional materials for all grade levels..

  • Scholastics - offering free online courses to help students keep on track.

  • Mosaic Literary Magazine - for teenagers and highschoolers, Mosaic offers free lesson plans directly related to black literature and culture.

COVID-19 411:

Coronavirus, officially named SARS-CoV-2 but also known as COVID-19, is a novel virus that causes a number of respiratory illnesses, including lung lesions and pneumonia. The virus spreads easily from person to person through the air when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.

COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to some 136 countries. More than 174,000 people around the world have become infected and nearly 7,000 people have died. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency on March 13.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can take between two to 14 days to appear. The CDC recommends calling your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you also experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face, seek medical attention immediately.

In order to keep yourself and others safe, be sure to wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid touching your face. The CDC is recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled for the next eight weeks. Click here for information on how to prepare for a quarantine.

About the Author

Branden Janese is a creative and a writer. She lives uptown.