(Note that this is not a comprehensive list.) In these times, I found educational videos that could fill the spaces, where my children could still be learning, but I was able to focus on the meetings and my work. You can use an existing bingo card, plenty of which are posted for free online.
The second is what is being referred to as remote or distance learning, or, in our district, cooperative distance learning, which I think describes this option very well.
Khan Academy Schedules for School Closures. Uncertainty and lack of direction and why can cause unnecessary stress and a lack of commitment. To avoid things becoming disorganized, piling up, getting dirty during meals, etc., it is best to dedicate a shelf or whole bookshelf to the schoolwork, books and all related equipment. Your next steps are: 1) Identify the age groups of the children you are educating and whether they need to be planned separately or if the plan and content can be the same. Everything else is a bonus. I present to you the conference call activity challenge for today (03/17/2020): Conference Call Bingo (with your kiddos)!
Retrieved June 24, 2020, from https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/, Digital Learning Collaborative. One combined list of these is accessible on EarthCam.com, here: https://www.earthcam.com/events/animalcams/. The two most commonly tested subjects in standardized testing tend to be math and language arts, so when we homeschooled, we put the most emphasis on these two subjects, integrating the others as appropriate and as possible. There are a few things to consider. Will you and your children be ok with this or able to handle any repetition or boredom by supplementing with other activities? Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.earthcam.com/events/animalcams/, National University Library. More details about the rating systems used for the Common Sense Media ratings can be found here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/our-mission/about-our-ratings. One option is for grades 3-5, called Digital Passport, and is accessible here: https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-passport. Lets face it, we are all in survival mode right now, and trying to claim anything else would be misleading.
Its challenging to ensure everyone is on the same page during a normal school year, but even more challenging during a global pandemic. Retrieved March 19, 2020, from https://www.headspace.com/covid-19, Khan Academy (2020). The truth is that our kids (or any of us, for that matter) have never learned or gone to school (in person, hybrid or online) during a global pandemic. For example, if you choose to homeschool or opt for distance learning to start with in the fall, will you want to send your children back to school (this year or in the future)? As parents, educators, and administrators, (and our children) we are all part of a team with a common goal of ensuring that our children are safe, cared for, and that their learning is promoted and supported in all ways possible. (n.d.). When you are planning your days, you will first need to decide how much time you want (or need) to spend with your focus dedicated to your work (in meetings, for example), and how much time you want to spend homeschooling your child (or children). Accountability involves all levels, including our children consistently being held responsible for their work. Enjoy! Its important to have an honest conversation with your family and make the decision that is best for you, and to communicate that through these surveys.
As you wrap up the day, after allowing your kids to play and relax for the first day, take three deep breaths and smile, knowing that you completed some planning and organizing, and that you are on your way. For other jobs, like when I administered analytics servers, I had more flexibility to design my work day around the desired school schedule. In fact, they have created a launch page for the current times, accessible here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/resources-for-families-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic, Common Sense Media. If this was or is you, trust me, you are not alone. This can be important if you are deciding between temporarily homeschooling your children and opting into distance learning (especially in middle school or high school grades). Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-compass, Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Are you comfortable sending your children to school in the fall, as long as CDC guidelines for schools are followed (CDC, 2020)? Retrieved April 19, 2020 from https://grownandflown.com/soft-skills-for-teens/, Minecraft. Trust that everyone is working toward a common goal, for example, is one type of trust. schoolwork has to follow the school day/week schedule, the schoolwork has to only include academic subjects, the kids have to be working on academic work the entire time, socialization is an afterthought when homeschooling, the kids are responsible for schoolwork and parents need to continue all of the housework. If you have decided that you are not yet comfortable physically sending your kids back to a school building, thinking through some of the following questions might be helpful in deciding between distance learning (assuming this option is available/offered through your school) and homeschooling: 1) Do you want to choose your own curriculum, make your own lesson plans, etc., or do you want to assist your children in completing teacher-assigned activities? If you want to really make it fun and engaging with everyone involved, you or the meeting organizer can make up a bingo card and send it out to everyone on the call. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from https://www.roblox.com/, Wiess, S. R. (2020a). What is Montessori Education? Welltrainedmind.com. If you are teaching one child, you can skip this section. K12. (These are usually set at the state-level and enforced at the district or school-level. You dont have to wait until plans for the fall are released to figure out what you are comfortable (and not comfortable) with. There are many misconceptions about homeschooling, in general, but especially with working and homeschooling. Making sure others respect your time is actually easier than it might seem at first. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/age-appropriate-chores/, Grown and Flown.
The CRHE and HSLDA do a great job of keeping up with the current state regulations and how they are implemented (along with your legal rights and options as a homeschooler) (CRHE, n.d.; HSLDA, n.d.). (n.d.2).
The state, on the other hand, wants to have as much control and oversight as possible, in many cases.
What we sometimes forget, though, is that our kids are, as well. Why not act like the dedicated school time is just another meeting? ), 3) Do you think you might want to send your students back to school in person either some time this year or in future years? ), 4) If you choose homeschooling instead of distance learning, are you fully informed of any reporting requirements, regulations, etc. Carter, Christine. Small wins go a long way. Retrieved March 19, 2020, from https://www.steamsational.com/free-printable-homeschool-planners/, The new challenge to keep the kids occupied during conference calls is: FORT MAKING!!! How might it impact their learning? Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://nu.libguides.com/CommonCore/ccss_publishers. Bauer, S. W. (2016). Hopefully, you have found this content helpful, and are on your way to planning a (relativelythey are our awesome kids, after all) calm, fun and enjoyable adventure educating your children at home while working. (The first is required if choosing homeschooling and not purchasing a pre-packaged curriculum or enrolling your children in a full-time online school. The rule for our girls was that they had to look at all movies, games, and apps up on Common Sense Media and bring them to us prior to asking the question of whether they could play, watch or download something. While you are on a conference call today, have your kids stand next to your whiteboard or sit next to you coloring or doing some additional activity, and work with them to complete a bingo card based on what is said or done on your conference call. We cannot control what this pandemic has become or is about to become or the ripple effects it may cause. https://medium.com/taskworld-blog/lencionis-5-dysfunctions-of-a-team-330d58b2cd81. 2) Develop open lines of communication between parents, educators and administrators.
This is when choosing distance learning through the school, working with the school on curriculum or even taking advantage of optional portfolio reviews, or employing a certified teacher in a pandemic pod could work out better than doing what we did with creating a custom curriculum. Having a dedicated space will allow you to put everything away in a neat and orderly fashion after every day, so that it is available and easy to access the following day. (Remember: If you dont know where you are going, any road will get you there. CommonSenseMedia.org. Common Core Resources: Textbook & Publisher Resources.
An alternative is to make your own bingo card that might be more age-appropriate, like one with silly words or um and uh, for example, that might be easy for little ones to pick up on during the call.
While I worked and homeschooled, I had a variety of types of jobs, all technical/knowledge-working jobs, some with more flexibility than others. The activities in the basket could be anything from printed mazes, cut and paste activities, manipulative for counting, coloring books, etc. The one thing that all of those spaces had in common was a dedicated space to store all of our supplies and work. So, what options are there? On top of a foundation of trust is constructive conflict. With some states canceling in-person schooling for the rest of the academic year and others extending the closures for additional time periods or indefinitely, but messages coming from politicians that we need to re-open the country, we are in a state of wait and see. Other paid options exist for states which do not offer state virtual schools, like K12, ConnectionsAcademy, although many others exist, as well (Connections Academy, 2020; K12, 2020). You can make, download and print your own bingo card at sites like BingoBaker, accessible here: https://bingobaker.com/ Yet another alternative is to keep your call off speaker, but let your kids mark off the square on the bingo, and you tell them when the criteria has been met.
While you are determining how much time you want to dedicate to your work, also consider if there are specific days or times of day that you have regularly scheduled meetings, deadlines for regular work, or other time-specific restrictions. Awake and Mindful. (n.d.). You will need to determine the best balance and schedule for your family based on the ages you are teaching, the subjects you have selected, and the modes you have chosen to use to teach those subjects.
Examples of delivery modes include DVDs, online learning games, online video lessons, printable lessons, workbooks and textbooks, fully online classes, and instructions posted online that allow you to create your own. at the schools themselves, but something to be aware of when asking them for assistance of any kind. 3) Identify the delivery mode you want to use for each subject and each child.
You can ask the school about options for continuing distance learning (if they dont already include that as an option in their fall plans). Stay home and stay safe. You dont need to go crazy buying organizing supplies. Everything you need to organize your area is probabily already in your home. Although Im not fully convinced that this is the best approach to managing your time, the concept of Timeboxing is similar to the approach Ive recommended above. (2020). Retrieved March 19, 2020, from https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html, STEAMsational. At this point, state and local boards of education are doing the best they can with the little information they have to plan for something none of us have ever had to deal with before. The third consideration is the mode you wish to use to teach the subjects you have selected. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/kid-safe-browsers-and-search-sites, Common Sense Media. Almost three years later, I can tell you that it was the right choice for both of them, without a doubt.
Administrators need to be able to raise concerns when they see inactivity and absences, to agree or disagree with reasons behind them, and then for everyone to be able to constructively discuss options for solutions, and even test out different solutions (and yes, sometimes fail and try something else). No year, and no day, to be honest, looked the same for us, even when I tried to plan it to be the same, and my kids turned out just fine. With the quick pivot to distance learning in the spring, and the large disparities with technology access and related issues, the schools and districts are still working to get some students caught up on their work from the spring. (Various factors played into our decision, but one major factor for us was for the girls to have the option to participate in sports, clubs and other activities, and we were living in a location where they were districted into good schools.). When you get stressed or overwhelmed, just remember that surviving is all you and your family need to do right now, and the rest will all work out eventually. Looking at these from a more positive lens, as opposed to negatively identifying them as dysfunctions, the list of what teams need to thrive include: The foundation of working together as a group, especially in a stressful, unclear, unpredictable situation like remote learning during a global pandemic, is trust. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-passport, Common Sense Media. Retrieved March 18, 2020, from https://www.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/611770255064350720/remote-learning-with-khan-academy-during-school, Scholastic. Marc Zao-Sanders (2018) wrote an informative article on TimeBoxing, accessible here: Organizing your space is another aspect of your current situation that you have total control over. Are you comfortable sending your children to school in the fall if they are physically opened for attendance? (2020). Educators have never taught during a global pandemic, much less taught remotely or taught some students remotely and some in person at the same time.
It is important to remain aware (and equally appreciative for any help they provide) that the schools and school districts are not required to assist homeschooling families, and that submitting an intent to withdraw (and/or an intent to homeschool) does have a direct impact on their budget, as they are funded on a per-student basis. The second option is for grades 6-8, called Digital Compass, which is accessible here: https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-compass. Others split them into pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-5 and grades 6+. (Also, in Connecticut, if your children were never enrolled in a public or private school, no notice of any kind needs to be filed. Accountability is the forth level in the pyramid identified by Lencioni, and aligns closely with constructive conflict and commitment. Current Homeschool Laws. Some subjects that lend themselves to video lessons are art, music, history, and even physical education, for example. For those who are not experienced or knowledgeable about publishers used for K-12 education, the National University Library System has a list on their website, accessible here: https://nu.libguides.com/CommonCore/ccss_publishers. In the middle of the fall, we collectively decided that it was time for the girls to attend public school. These can be accessed here: https://www.headspace.com/covid-19. You will need to determine, based on the number and ages of children, your work schedule, and any other constraints, what subjects you want to teach and can manage to do so with minimal stress. You can research options for full-time online schooling, which some states offer for free (Digital Learning Collaborative, 2018). Administrators have never run schools, districts or boards of education during a global pandemic. How Timeboxing Works and Why it Will Make You More Productive. (2020). (n.d.). They had to tell us the recommended ages by Common Sense Media, parents and kids and were only allowed to watch movies, play games or download/use apps that were 2 years over the lowest age recommended out of the three. Parents need to be able to bring concerns to educators and administrators when things arent working for them and their children.
30 Gratitude Games and Activities for Kids to Practice Thankfulness. 5) Understand and be honest and open about what you (and your student) can and cannot reasonably take on and complete given everything you have going on outside of school responsibilities, and be open to working with your student and their teachers and school administrators. The pause for them is a huge change and requires adjustment, but provides an opportunity for us, as parents, to teach them how to slow down and be ok with being bored or finding their own activities. 2) Identify the subjects you would like to teach each of the children. In sports psychology, life coaching and other venues recently, youve likely heard the term locus of control or phrases like control the controllables. Situations like the pandemic we are currently experiencing bring to light the true meaning of these phrases, as there is so much that is truly out of our control. What if schools open in a blended format, where schedules are alternating day to day or am/pm? Either way, some people are going to be happy and some unhappy, regardless of the plan or approach that is taken.
These options are completed at a time and location of your convenience and have assigned teachers for all classes, as well as providing official transcripts and grades, just like on-ground/in-person school options. Khan Academy has provided help and getting started pages for their content here: https://www.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/611770255064350720/remote-learning-with-khan-academy-during-school, and the lessons themselves are accessible here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSZhOdEPAWjUQpqDkVAlJrFwxxZ9Sa6zGOq0CNRms6Z7DZNq-tQWS3OhuVCUbh_-P-WmksHAzbsrk9d/pub, Scholastic has provided schedules and lessons here: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html. The last thing we need is to waste time searching for books, pencils, paper and other supplies while we are trying to work and homeschool.
Retrieved March 18, 2020, from https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSZhOdEPAWjUQpqDkVAlJrFwxxZ9Sa6zGOq0CNRms6Z7DZNq-tQWS3OhuVCUbh_-P-WmksHAzbsrk9d/pub, Khan Academy. They already do for other meetings and for lunch, right?
Kid-Safe Browsers and Search Sites. Awake and Mindful has collected five yoga videos for kids that might be one option for a calm activity to start off the day. These are legally optional. For example, Connecticut only requires a notice of withdrawal, legally, but does recommend (only a recommendation, not a legal requirement) a notice of intent to homeschool and portfolio review. To commit to common goals, everyone on the team has to be aware of the goals, understand why those goals are important, and be aware and accepting of their role in helping the team attain those goals. Also, be sure that you are fully informed about what activities are offered or not offered for any who opt into remote or distance learning through the school, as this likely differs on a district by district or school by school basis. You can choose to homeschool your children with you being the primary teacher (as opposed to distance-learning where you are assisting your children with work assigned by their teacher). For parents looking online for content for their children, who may not be familiar with different websites, movies or apps, or unsure how to tell what might be safe or age-appropriate, this post is for you. Literally blocking it off on your calendar and communicating your schedule with your bosses and colleagues will make sure you are all on the same page and that everyone will respect that time. The first consideration is the age levels you are teaching. Retrieved March 16, 2020 from, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html, https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/, https://www.digitallearningcollab.com/state-virtual-schools, Common Misconceptions about Working and Homeschooling, https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/2218929/how-many-hours-homeschooling-per-day/, https://welltrainedmind.com/a/what-are-the-non-core-subjects/?v=7516fd43adaa, https://montessori-nw.org/what-is-montessori-education, https://www.sheknows.com/parenting/slideshow/2173553/coronavirus-school-closings-keep-kids-busy/1/, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews, https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/age-appropriate-chores/, https://grownandflown.com/soft-skills-for-teens/, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/our-mission/about-our-ratings, https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-passport, https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-compass, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/kid-safe-browsers-and-search-sites, https://nu.libguides.com/CommonCore/ccss_publishers, https://www.earthcam.com/events/animalcams/, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/resources-for-families-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic, https://www.steamsational.com/free-printable-homeschool-planners/, https://www.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/611770255064350720/remote-learning-with-khan-academy-during-school, https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSZhOdEPAWjUQpqDkVAlJrFwxxZ9Sa6zGOq0CNRms6Z7DZNq-tQWS3OhuVCUbh_-P-WmksHAzbsrk9d/pub, https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html, https://awakeandmindful.com/best-kids-yoga-videos-on-youtube/, https://hellobestow.com/blog/gratitude-games/, https://www.dropbox.com/s/xbwyrg21rbg79fj/conferencecallbingo.pdf?dl=0, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_school_closures_can_strengthen_your_family, https://hbr.org/2018/12/how-timeboxing-works-and-why-it-will-make-you-more-productive. We made a decision years ago to provide some independence and ownership of content decisions to our kids, specifically for movies, games, and apps. While you are working on a schedule more customized to you, your kids and your work schedule, two companies, Khan Academy and Scholastic, have recently provided lesson plans and activities free for children who are now staying home due to school closings. If you are unsure, Common Sense Media is a great place to start. This is not true, legally. There are actually more options than you would think, and you are your and your childrens best advocate. They also expect to have to make up for missed learning in the fall for this last spring, especially for the younger students in lower grades. Starting your day with gratitude and calm activities has been said to start your day off on a positive note. It is important to understand the risks and the comfort level you have with those risks, and, depending on the approach taken, the health risks for your children and for you (and for everyone in your household).
Many other options exist, just be sure that you are accessing them through sites that you trust. Your child or children will be perfectly fine with a couple or a few hours of school-related work and other fun, educational activities while you focus on work. Retrieved March 19, 2020 from https://awakeandmindful.com/best-kids-yoga-videos-on-youtube/, Bestow.
If your remote/distance learning/homeschooling is only planned to be temporary, keeping as close to the curriculum their classmates are learning in school will make for the smoothest transition when the time comes for them to go to school and join their classmates again. However, we can control our reaction to it by staying safe, keeping our family safe, and following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) (2020) guidelines posted here: In my experience homeschooling and working full time (from various locations and time zones), the biggest lesson I learned was that I needed to be organized, but also flexible. One is that everyone (or nearly everyone) you work with is in the same boat right now, so they understand the need to balance, and you shouldnt be shy about sharing what you are trying to accomplish. As homeschoolers, they worked at their own pace in different subjects, which was great for their education and learning, but made the transition to an age-based grade-level determination a challenging one. Trust that everyone is doing their best (whatever their best looks like on a given day) and trust that everyone has the childrens best interest at heart are a couple of others. Some states and districts are surveying parents to find out their comfort level with the options listed above (or others, depending on the state and district). Remember that you have options and that considering the short term and the long term will help smooth any future transitions for you and your children. I will gather and post a list of the supplies I always kept on hand soon. If you are homeschooling on your own, you and your children might be the only members of the team, but for others remotely schooling via distance learning options provided through their school or district, there are many other members of the team, as well. What Are the Non-Core Subjects?. As part of a successful, high-performing and well-functioning team, we have to work together as a team toward common goals, just like a sports team or a project team in an organization. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/about-us/our-mission/about-our-ratings, Common Sense Media.
Age-Appropriate Chores. Focusonthefamily.com. Our children need to be able to disagree and question things when concepts or instructions arent clear to them. But, there is also so much that is fully within our control. SheKnows.com.
You will need to decide, based on your family values and rules about electronics and screen time, your work schedule and flexibility, ages of your children, and learning preferences and styles, what modes are best for you for each student and each subject.