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Mom helping son with education at home

5 Ways to Keep Kids’ Education on Track at Home

a local school's COO has some great ideas

I think I can speak for all moms (who are now de facto educators since COVID-19 closed schools) when I say that teachers are amazing.

I’ve always appreciated them, but now that I’m in charge of my son’s day-to-day lessons, I’m all the more grateful. Teachers should be making more than professional athletes, am I right?

My child’s school, Covenant Christian Academy in Colleyville, has done a wonderful job of getting worksheets and assignments into our hands and providing instruction via Facebook and other technologies. The school’s chief operating officer Sheila McDoniel has also been sending out tips that help kids and parents transition to distance learning. I wanted to share some of her insight—because while we’re on insolation day 4,231 (OK, it just feels like day 4,231), we could always use more expertise to ensure our kids’ education stays on track.

Encourage your students to follow their normal schedule as much as possible.

“For example, if your child typically starts their school day with math, do their math work first at home,” says McDoniel. “This provides structure. Kids do well with structure.”

It’s especially important to follow an established schedule if you have older children with virtual classes taught by multiple teachers. “If your student finishes the assignment before the allotted time period is up, they can take a break until their next period. If they don’t finish, set the assignment aside and come back to it later. Keep the day going, like a normal school day would,” McDoniel recommends.

Set up a workspace.

Moms and dads may be able to concentrate on their work while sitting on the couch with the phone nearby, but kids often need something a little more formal to stay focused. “There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but the main goals are to limit distractions and organize books and materials,” says McDoniel. 

Create a system for multiple kids.

I personally stay quite busy with one kindergartner, so to the moms and dads with two, three, four or more kiddos at home: I feel for you. McDoniel offers these tips if you’re managing school for multiple students:

  • Set out your kids’ assignments the night before. Use a separate clipboard, folder, desk organizer or even wall space to post each student’s schedule and assignments.
  • Have a designated work space for each student. Your children may work better in separate rooms if they are easily distracted.
  • Stagger schedules as needed. If you have multiple kids who need a lot of hands-on help from mom or dad, consider alternating their learning times so you can offer one-on-one assistance.
  • Middle and high school students “should be able to manage on their own for the most part,” McDoniel notes. “Let this be a time they learn and exercise some independence.”

Take breaks from schoolwork.

For me and other parents who are holding down jobs, this is a must—I alternate doing schoolwork with my 6-year-old and writing stories, reviewing copy and collaborating with our DFWChild team.

But those schoolwork breaks aren’t just about me getting my job done—they also help my son adjust to this unusual situation. “Let children have time to be creative and move around,” advises McDoniel.

Pro tip: We have fun with GoNoodle movement and mindfulness videos. And fresh air is a must!

Work with your child’s teacher.

I joked about parents becoming “de facto educators,” and while that may true to some extent, remember this: Your child’s teacher is still their teacher.

“Our teachers miss their kids so much, and we’re eager to help our students succeed however we can,” explains McDoniel. Reach out to your child’s teacher or school staff when you need ideas or support.

 Image courtesy of iStock.