With COVID-19 resulting in school closure, parents are left to their own devices when it comes to offering their children educational aid.
Elizabeth Beavers, associate professor of special education, and Shanna Graves, associate professor of early childhood education at UH-Clear Lake, have offered ways for parents to help their kids with school work.
Here are their tips:
Make a schedule
Having structure in the household is incredibly important when a child’s daily routine is shifted. Schools run on schedules, so establishing one is a great way to manage being at home. You can personalize it how ever you want, according to the need of the child.
“We follow it loosely, but I think the point is to keep going with a bit of the structure they have grown used to each day with school. It’s good because it keeps me as a parent and the kids in the mindset of school,” Graves said.
Have a productive morning
Getting up and getting dressed early in the morning is a great way for kids to be productive for the day.
“Once they’re out of bed and dressed, they have more willingness to participate in school work,” Graves explained.
She said that she takes her kids for a walk in the morning, as a part of their daily routine. After their walk, her kids journal about what they say, which helps them start off being productive.
Engage in activities
Activities should touch on school subjects like language arts, math, science, social studies and technology. Getting your child engaged in things other than a TV or computer will help them not regress in their education. Setting weekly goals is also beneficial.
“The goals should be challenging, yet realistic,” Beavers said. “The idea isn’t to emulate what schools provide. The aim should be just to keep the kids curious, engaged and learning.”
Know your limits
Everyone has their own strengths and limitations. Beavers said that while parents balance their work schedules, they need to navigate how to optimize their child’s at-home schooling lessons. Allowing the child to come up with creative ideas that will best benefit him or her, is a good way go about this new homeschooling lifestyle.
Beavers suggests, “if parents need more ideas, they should communicate with their child’s teacher.”
Have a conversation
Parents need to discuss with their child about the so-called “new normal.” Though it may seem like a big shift, informing your child on the circumstances will help give him or her a better understanding and allow the child to become more flexible with the parent. Beavers said that each child is different and require certain things to allow an individual to learn.
“From a child’s perspective, they are experiencing dramatic changes. We need to attend to the questions and anxiety that our children are feeling, and the best way to do this is through conversations,” Beavers said. “Validating emotions and reinforcing that they’re safe is critical to gaining the ‘buy-in’ that the new temporary routine will work if everyone is supporting each other.”