How to prepare for home learning in the 2020 school year

Nobody knows what’s in store for our schoolchildren during the 2020 academic year. But we can predict this—parents will have the option to choose some combination of remote learning or full home schooling in the coming year. And many families will take those options.

It’s a sudden and overwhelming situation for a lot of families, but with a little preparation, you can help ease the transition into this different mode of learning.

Decide between remote learning and home schooling

In remote learning, students learn along with their class and curriculum is controlled by the teacher. In home schooling, parents have the option to teach their children in any way they please so long as they are meeting grade level curriculum (homeschooling regulations by state here.) If you decide to go the home schooling route, check into home schooling cooperatives in your area so you can network with other students and families and share their expertise.

Know your child’s limits

The older a child is, the better their tolerance for being able to sit for long periods of time listening to a speaker on screen. For smaller children, do your best to break up the time they spend in front of the computer. Break the day up with play as much as possible. And if children are having trouble learning by themselves, organize Zoom groups with a friend where they can discuss assignments.

Set designated learning zones

When kids are doing homework and listening in to classes all over the house, things can get disorganized fast. Set aside places in the home—the kitchen table, or a desk in their room or living room, where they can tune in to their classes. When they’re done, let them put all their work in one centralized basket, so nothing gets lost.

Don’t pressure yourself to do a full seven-hour school day

A good academic day in a home school environment is about four hours of work. Recreating a seven-hour school day is difficult to do, especially for younger children. Feel free to let your kid sleep in just a little, if you like. But make sure your child is up and dressed by a reasonable hour so they can get used to having a structured schedule. Just make sure there’s lots of breaks, so they can get up and move around.

Consider passion projects

Has your child shown an interest in cooking? Art? Visiting historical sites? Sewing? Volunteering? Now is the right time to engage with your child around these things. Let them have the unstructured time and resources they need to explore their interests to the fullest. You may find that they are learning more when they have time to go at their own space.

Give yourself (and your child) a break

These are extraordinary times, and nobody will be perfect. Just keep trying, and remember that better times lie ahead.


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