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How to Home School During Coronavirus


When teaching, wait for eye contact before giving verbal instructions to kids. After you’re done, ask them to restate the main points of what you’ve said. Get to the child’s eye level to help communication, and limit verbal directions to two steps for preschoolers and three steps for older kids. The remote-learning situation will test everyone’s patience, so remember to take time for yourself.

Structure academic activities around kids’ attention spans. Most elementary-school kids can work on assignments for around 25 minutes before they need a break. Use a timer or time-management software to arrange breaks, which can also become transitions to new tasks. Or have kids do some jumping jacks, get a drink of water, take a short walk, climb stairs or play a game to help them refocus. Avoid online videos or graphic novels until the end of the day. These make good rewards, but can be distracting midday. For preschoolers, try a clean-up song or talking through the next activity to make transitions smoother.

A typical school day rewards students with opportunities to show independence, help friends and overcome challenges. The shift to learning from home still gives children the chance to develop autonomy, practice empathy and use their skills — particularly when parents set up structures, then stand back to let kids shine.

Finding high-quality educational materials can be overwhelming. Here are a few resources that I’ve used with success.

Writing by hand creates stronger memories and understanding, so try to include written assignments along with online options. Keep in mind that workbooks can cost more than online lessons, and delivery time could be slow during this current crisis. Evan-Moor‘s comprehensive line of student workbooks allows kids as young as preschool to follow instructions, formulate responses and build concept knowledge. The Math Learning Center offers free, printable materials that build a comfort with numbers in preschoolers through fifth graders.

Storyline is a fun website where professional actors read popular picture books aloud. Children can build phonological awareness with the games and materials at Education.com. Elementary readers can follow along with the text of stories at Storynory and practice skills from alphabetic awareness to reading fluency at Raz-Kids, which provides evidence-based structured literacy resources.

Storybird is a short story creation website with a beautiful interface and engaging prompts. Older kids can accept writing challenges created by experienced teachers or write their own tales, while preschoolers and kindergarteners can dictate stories to adults to type.

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