Covid 19 has brought the entire world to its knees. Mostly all of the academic institutions have already turned to online learning. Some colleges have even announced summer and fall semesters online. While we hope summer will bring an end to this mania, the bottom line is unpredictability.
Like it or not - it's homeschooling now.
Schools are giving work online while our kids are staying home and let's be real, homeschooling is hard.
As much as we parents do not want to take up more on our plates, because lets face it even at home we have an ongoing and never ending list of chores and our own office work for most that we are trying to do at home.
This is a true salute to parents who have made the decision to home school their kids.
So how do home school parents engage their kids while at home?
I got in touch with a couple local home school moms of kids who come and attend our courses and the crux of the matter came down to planning.
It is so important to keep the kids on a schedule while giving them a bit of flexibility. That absolutely does not mean that fill each waking hour with an activity, but what is important is uniqueness of those activities. No to mention that by planning for them you will make it easier to go through your day without distractions as well.
To engage kids of all ages- even the high schoolers!
While most parents make an effort to engage elementary age kids, we should not forget that planning and engaging is equally important for kids of middle and high school ages.
At this age kids are able to reason and choose what activities they like to do. And, lets be real they would rather be playing games or texting their friends and spend their time on social media. But there is a ton of things they could be putting off or should be learning which would be beneficial for them as they go into higher grades.
I cannot emphasize enough that this is a great time to explore new things. Some of which you might think your kids will never try, You'd be surprised! Right now they have the time on their hands to explore , and we never know what they might take a liking to.
Letting them choose
By letting them choose it does not mean that they can do anything they like to, in-fact it is the opposite.
One of the parents I talked to seemed to have their child making what we would say " great choices", I was extremely curious. I asked them what was the secret?
Here is a couple of things i noticed that were interesting -
The parents put together a list of possible things they think they would like the child to do, and asked her to make a choice amongst those. For the child, giving them an ability to choose was exciting itself. In addition to that, in my opinion strengthens the trust between the parents and the child.
There was another time when the child disagreed with the parents, so they gave him the opportunity to do his research and present his case. The parents asked the child to pick the topic of his choice and with that a reason why that topic would be beneficial to him and what does he expect to gain from it.
This was amazing, because he came back to his parents, and agreed with them on one of the topics of their choice while holding the right to choose where to learn it from. It was a win for both!
The most important thing i noticed in this exchange was that by giving a little freedom and ability to decide, there was a lot of argument and frustration avoided and a ton of respect gained. Not to forget that the child gained confidence and the parents gently nudged him to a lesson in making a good decision.
Interactive learning & live instruction
When the times were different , we would send the kids to school and go to work not worrying about the fact that we need to keep a eye on them to finish school tasks atleast during the day! But as more and more time passes, kids are getting restless and the honest truth is, so are we. So, like it or not we need to accept the changes in the way kids have to engage themselves and online learning is a big part of that.
There are several virtual learning activities to choose from. We have also put together a comprehensive list of no-cost STEM resources for you to choose from. You can find that list in by clicking here.
But apart from the online resources which are mostly in the form of independent learning , most of the time they do require parent help especially for little kids.
Organizations like Strem HQ Tech Academy are providing courses with live instruction, which provides peer to peer and teacher to student interaction. This kind of interaction helps not only engage the student while you can take care of other chores , as the kids are fully and thoroughly engaged, it greatly helps the child's emotional state in this time of social distancing.
This is the world of Digital Mobility and innovative learning opportunities.
Virus aside, remote collaboration is the way of the future. COVID-19 has pushed us to get even more comfortable with the digital world.