What could your day at home look like?
I’ve spent a lot of time lately on the phone with various parents trying to figure out what a reasonable plan for my daughter’s education for the next month(s) might look like. I’ve also spent several days scanning the web to see what my online options are.
Basically, there are as many plans for managing this time as there are parents and educators willing to post about them on the Internet.
As far as I can tell, parents are planning to do everything from maintaining a full load of regularly scheduled course work to simply doing whatever it takes to get their family through the next few weeks without regard to any particular educational goal.
The All-Important Disclaimer: I have not personally vetted all of these resources. There just isn’t enough time right now to do that. So if something looks interesting to you, be sure to check it out first to make sure it will work for you and your child.
Schedules are as varied as families themselves are. If you test any of these, I’d love to hear how it goes. If you develop your own, I’d love to hear about that too.
A Minimalist Approach
As Elizabeth Davis pointed out on 17 March (Twitter: @E_Davis_Romance), “Don’t worry about your kid being behind for the next grade. Everyone is going to be behind. Teachers know this. They’ll adapt. Deep breaths, everybody.”
A More Structured Approach
One of the authors I follow on Twitter, Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey, author of The Gift of Failure), posted this COVID-19 Daily Schedule from Jessica McHale on her Twitter feed in March 2020. In it, Jessica McHale sets aside time for walks, academic blocks, creative blocks, chores, quiet time, and outside play time. I love that McHale offers two bedtimes — an 8 o’clock default bedtime, and a later one at 9 for “all kids who follow the daily schedule and don’t fight.”
In the intervening days, social media has done what social media does best — mock it with memes. However, when my daughter was in preschool, she and I both needed a set routine like this to help us get through the day. If this goes on for much longer, we may need one again.
A plan for homeschooling indefinitely
Eric Holthaus shared a friend’s relatively straightforward and flexible approach to homeschooling indefinitely. In case you can’t read the image, the left side reads, “Something for our brains: daily work, read, inquiry.” On the right: “Something for our bodies: wash hands, eat healthy, practice karate, walks, bikes, run, yoga.”
Hanna Alkaf’s collection of schedules for kids ages 4-6
Hanna Alkaf’s thread, which you can find here, includes a summary of her own schedule and a wide variety of comments, resources, and tips from parents who are also in the midst of figuring out how to cope with their kids being home 24/7 over the next few weeks and/or months.
Current Caterpickles Plan
What are we actually doing?
We’re definitely keeping things minimal for a bit while we adjust to all of the other changes and wait to see if anyone in the house was exposed to the novel coronavirus before the shelter-in-place order came through Monday.
Our plan (as of March 17): We’re lucky in that my daughter’s seventh grade teachers continue to post new assignments online, and we are set up to access both the assignments and the necessary reading to complete them (the school sent a complete collection of her books home with her at the beginning of the year).
So… My daughter completes the assignments her teachers post on Schoology in the morning, takes a break for lunch and recess, finishes her homework if necessary in the afternoon, does something to help out the family, and then has free time to be outside, read, play games, or check in with friends until dinner.
My contribution to this? Track her assignments, make sure she is completing them more or less on time, provide tech/resource support, answer questions, if I can, and provide a steady supply of brownies.
Parents have been home-schooling for years now, and there is a wealth of knowledge out there. Here are a few resources that I’ve found so far. Homeschooling parents, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment telling us about your favorite curriculum and/or tips.
Advice from a teacher on what to consider when setting up an at-home education plan for your kids
Slate’s Care and Feeding column from 19 March 2020 was devoted to the question of whether (and how) parents forced to home-school for the first time should approach the problem. “Am I supposed to home-school my kid right now?“
In it, Carrie Bauer, a middle and high school teacher from New York State, does her best to answer parents’ most pressing questions, including what school closures mean for our children’s education, what we should be doing to help their kids, whether Disney+ counts as an educational resource, what to do about our child’s IEP, and how to cope with all of this uncertainty.
Montessori at Home (Kids Ages 0-6)
If you decide to buy one or more of the Montessori At Home books, I encourage you to contact your local independent bookstore and ask them to order it for you. Let’s face it. Amazon is probably going to be ok. Your local bookseller may not. The link in this entry will take you to Indiebound, a website designed to make it easy to order from your local bookstore online.
Sim Kern (@sim_kern) posted an excellent Twitter thread recently on how parents could use Montessori principles to integrate education into everyday activities.
Their thread includes suggestions for subjects including math, music, social studies, English, art, and PE. Their ideas are approachable and readily adaptable. Baking brownies? Have your child calculate the ingredients for a double recipe or a half, or maybe 2/3rds. Taking a walk? Use it as an opportunity to talk about the ecosystem or water cycle. Or an opportunity to collect bugs. You know, whatever your child’s into.
Montessori at Home books on IndieBound.
Thanks for the tip, Betty!
The link in the above header opens a Google doc containing a list of virtual field trip, reading & writing, math, STEAM, and other educational resources available through Google Classroom. If any of these appeal to you, this presentation contains instructions for signing up for Google Classroom.
Progressively Classical’s Tips for Weekly Course Planning
For those of you who are considering grabbing your child’s textbooks, figuring out how many chapters on average they would work through in whatever period of time their school is closed, and working those chapters with them, you might find this post from Progressively Classical on how to create a week’s worth of online classes helpful
Progressively Classical’s Sample Fifth Grade Class Schedule
Progressively Classical, an online K-12 teacher, posted a schedule of fifth grade classes based on the Well-Trained Mind homeschooling curriculum on their Twitter feed this week (@StuckIn48403550).
Find a resource I’ve missed?
I’ll add more resources as I find them, but this list will be much better with your input too. You’re inevitably going to come across things I’d miss. If you do, please let me know about them, either by dropping a comment below or finding me on Twitter (@shalahowell).
Also, although I hope this won’t happen, I could easily add something to this list that either doesn’t exist anymore or really shouldn’t be on here. If you see something like that, please let me know.
Thank you and good luck!