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Ensure School is in Session While Working from Home

With classrooms being cleared out to support social distancing, parents everywhere are left to handle their kids’ education. Some families are having an easier time than others, but overall, this is a challenge that few could anticipate. Some of us have been designated to help small children during this new process. We are teaching them strategies that they can use in their learning, as well as doing a little research ourselves to find resources that will make it easier for us. Remember that your teenagers can show you how to use some helpful tools and programs, as they’ve been introduced to more of these in school!

 Do not forget that most parents are not teachers. Like you, many parents are trying their best to keep their kids educated and sane (while trying to stay sane themselves).

As parents are scrambling to maintain careers while becoming teachers, tons of resources are being created and shared. If your household is starting to unravel, here are a few of the tools that can being used to hold things together:

  • Scholastic has a resource that includes options for all elementary and middle school grade levels, and Khan Academy has a schedule featuring all of the free courses they offer for all grade levels in most subject areas. Another alternative is the free online classes that have been offered due to this new norm of living. In addition to what was existing, many individuals and institutions are opening up their resources and sharing them for free or at a low cost.
  • The Learning Network uses content from the New York Times to help students practice reading and writing through various prompts. Help your child set up an account on the New York Times site to get started.
  • Engage kids in their least-favorite subjects. Do you recall what your least favorite subject in school was? Chances are you could not be paid to revisit it now. Try your best to keep your children engaged in subjects like science with simple and free lessons online.
  • Daily streaming videos/webinars. Many artists, educators, and celebrities have taken to providing their services virtually during this time (and often for free). Take advantage of artists like Mo Willems who spends an hour every day hosting a drawing tutorial class for children.
  • Parenting communities on Instagram and Facebook. Many social platforms are becoming havens for the population as we seek connection and resources to get through this strange time. Accounts like busytoddler are sharing ideas that parents can try using, including frameworks and educational activities.
  • Let the real world educate. Kids do not necessarily need protractors and tests to learn. They can learn about biology and science in the garden. Cookbooks can teach them about math and conversions. This crowdsourced list provides many ideas like this. Show your kids that the world around them can teach them more than they think.  UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardeners program are a great resource to look for in this new world of education. mastergardener
  • One of the museums that is offering a virtual tour as an alternative for learning and relaxation for parents and children is the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. This famous American art museum features two online exhibits through Google. The first is an exhibit of American fashion from 1740 to 1895, including many renderings of clothes from the colonial and Revolutionary eras. The second is a collection of works from Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer.