With COVID-19 causing chaos on our calendars and closing schools, many classrooms have gone virtual or just gone away. We already see the summer brain drain as parents and educators, so it’s hard to imagine what 6 or so months away from the classroom can do.
Keeping in mind that all students are unique and there is no single set of steps to take to keep the academic muscles flexed, we did want to offer three general guidelines to help navigate these difficult times while our kids are home.
- Be Fun. Of course, keep an academic mindset, but now is a time when when kids may be distracted and unable to focus on straight academic work. Follow their interests and the learning will be fun. For older kids, that may mean a documentary about dinosaurs, a book about space, or exploring the yard looking at different types of leaves. Older students may find online lesson on computer programming interesting, or maybe football stats.
Try one hour of productive fun. Chances are, there’s a way you can turn that into one hour of academic fun. Imagine how much easier it will be for your children to do math homework if they can apply it to quarterback ratings or for them to read if you can find a book about their favorite dinosaurs
- Create a School Space. If it’s possible to avoid the kitchen table for schoolwork, we recommend creating a ‘school space’. By having a clean, quiet, and orderly spot will help your kids get into a great headspace for learning. Imagine things you may see in a classroom. Hang a whiteboard with a general schedule for them to follow. Include paper and pencils. Make sure they have a daily goal written out for them.
In fact, ask your kids what they liked most about their physical classroom. You may surprised what they say they miss and what helped them focus on work.
- Get Moving! We mean physically of course. It’s important that kids take regular breaks during schoolwork and while at home. Have them go outside and play (while social distancing). Encourage physical hobbies and exercising, and even consider using free online yoga, workout, or dance videos as an option to keep kids active.
Taking breaks during schoolwork should involve moving, too. Make it a point for you kids to leave their ‘school space’ during breaks and not just stay there and watch a YouTube video or text friends. Again, you want to make sure that your kids are able to get their brains to shift between relax and work modes easily
Those are just three tips, but try new things. These are hard times, and the last thing that should be a source of stress are academics.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and be well!