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How’s the homeschooling going? In these strange times, it is important to remember that you are not alone

Advice on structure, tools, and teaching tricks from the #EdTech experts @Quizlet 

These are anxious times, but they are also hopeful times: countries are sharing knowledge and know-how; politicians are devising unprecedented packages and measures to allow us to thrive again; vehicle manufacturers are building respirators, and scientists are coming together to better understand how to cure COVID-19.

We are lucky to have the most intelligent minds crowdsourcing their knowledge to solve a problem that the whole world is facing. However, they are not the only ones who must contribute during the coronavirus crisis. Parents, siblings, and grandparents have been forced, almost overnight, to become teachers. It is with this thought in mind that we at Quizlet decided to reach out to our network of educators and edtech experts to put together these recommendations for parents who, at this point, may be feeling a little overwhelmed! 

Before you consider these recommendations, remember that a student’s attention span is 2-3 minutes per year of their age, so keep that in mind when planning, for example, a teenager should be able to manage 30-40 consecutive minutes. Let the following steps be seen as a rough guide to keeping kids invested in their education and maintaining a routine, while the country is on lockdown. 

1. Create a structure

Many teachers will be creating daily and weekly lesson plans for students, or giving guided classes to follow from home. If this is the case for your child, it is important for you, as a parent, to try to be aligned with these schedules. If their class used to do maths in the morning and visit languages after lunch, continue that pattern to the best of your ability. Try to maintain regular school hours from home, so that your child doesn’t fall out of their existing routine. Then use this as a basis to build wider activities around: schedule exercise, relaxation time, and moments to be creative together.

2. Schedule creative time

It’s important to find time to be creative outside of schoolwork and computer time. Get books out, coloured pens, counters, blocks, whatever you may have to hand. Make a recipe with your family, work on a puzzle, go on an indoor scavenger hunt. Now’s the time to try something new. 

3. Remember, connection is still key

Changing the home environment into a learning one can be difficult to associate, so it is important to find separate time to connect with each other.  We may be physically distant, but we can still be socially close. Setting up virtual play dates on a one to one basis can also be a way of loosening up the scenario and feeling less alone. Parents can use secure systems, like Kast, to create virtual playgrounds, where children can come together to chat or play. This can also be a great way for parents to compare notes and offer support to one another.

4. Get active

At 9 am each day, body coach, Joe Wicks, is hosting a daily online PE Lesson that parents are encouraged to do together with their children, either in real-time or later in the day. If outdoor space is limited, be creative: push back the sofas to create a makeshift workout space. Additionally, meditation, yoga, and tai-chi are just a few activities that can be carried out as a whole family and don’t require a huge amount of space.

5. Embrace digital tools

Most parents will be at a total loss as to what is available to them and their children when it comes to the apps, platforms, and websites used every day in school. Bodies such as UNESCO have outlined some of the best and most effective sites, apps, and platforms to help students, parents, and teachers stay connected whilst learning from a distance. Connected platforms such as Google Classroom, and study activity applications like Quizlet are also great as they allow teachers to monitor and keep up with students’ progress while they continue to learn at home. 

In these strange times, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Though it may seem daunting and stressful, there are numerous resources available to help when teaching children from home. Whether it is a lesson plan that the teacher has emailed over, an online class to participate in together, or tailored videos, games, or quizzes, the tools are there for the taking. 

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