Whatever this back to school season looks like for your family, it’s bound to be unconventional. In some states schools have fully reopened, others are giving students the option for in-person learning a few days a week, but for many families, school remains entirely remote for the foreseeable future. For those whose home has been converted into a digital classroom of sorts, parents suddenly find themselves in the position of homeschool administrator, IT support, recess monitor, and full-time at-home worker.
To best support your little ones and proactively get this school year off to a strong start, we sourced information from reliable sources and education experts to provide you with a trove of remote learning resources, tips, and best practices to make at-home school work for our WFH parents!
As you read through these tips and tricks, remember that you are not the teacher. It might have felt that way last year during the abrupt switch to schooling from home, but, unlike what we experienced last spring, our educators have had some time to prepare for at-home learning, build curriculums, and re-shape what education can look like. This means that rather than acting as a homeschool teacher, parents can take on the role of observer and facilitator.
Jump down to find:
- Setting at-home learning schedules
- Creating an at-home learning environment
- Recess and off-screen activities for kids
- Ways to support equitable education
Hint: If any Card fails to load, just refresh the page!
Our friends in the education community at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have also compiled a bunch of awesome virtual learning resources for back to school in the form of a Guru Card — you can check those out here.
Setting at-home learning schedules
Children are more apt to learn when they know what to expect. Setting up structured schedules early on will help restore a sense of normalcy to their learning environment. Remember that these schedules are flexible! Trial and error are key when figuring out what schedule-style will work for your particular student.
"Younger students thrive with structure and routine in their days, and their focus time for a particular activity will be significantly shorter than that of older students. Middle school and high school students benefit from some level of flexibility and autonomy in building their schedules. Work with your older students to create a daily schedule that works well for them. Reevaluate at the end of each day to determine whether adjustments should be made. And don’t forget, it does take some time to get adjusted to new routines." - Pearson
Creating an at-home learning environment
Dedicating a space in your home for your child's "classroom" will help them to differentiate school time from family/free time. Even if your student is going to school a few days a week, it's important that when they are learning at home they have a designated area that encourages engagement.
When reading this list, keep in mind that not all family homes have the space to make an "ideal" classroom setting for their children. If you don't have large family rooms, gardens, offices, etc. to work with that is okay. Setting up some kind of desk in the corner of their bedroom or table in the kitchen will work just fine.
Recess and off-screen activities for kids
The days can seem repetitive (the days can seem repet— oh wait). The cyclical nature of this stay-at-home period is weighing on all of us, and finding new and engaging activities for our families to partake in is getting increasingly difficult. It is however extremely important to give kids breaks throughout the day, get them away from the screens, and have interesting "recess" or weekend activities for them to look forward to!
From virtual field trips to National Parks to soap experiments and everything in between we've got your at-home recess resources covered:
Ways to support equitable education
The move to at-home learning has spotlighted and reinforced educational inequity in so many ways. The lack of access to what are now essential considered resources for education (such as WiFi connectivity in the home or personal computer devices) amplifies the inequality of education. So many of our teachers are going above and beyond to facilitate this transition to remote learning, but they can only do so much with the resources at their disposal.
If you’re interested in helping find ways to support equitable access to education and resources, check out this Card: