Arizona school closures have extended through the rest of the academic school year, and although many students and parents have been learning to adjust, the extension and other unprecedented measures that have occurred will take some time for parents and students to navigate through. The shifting educational landscape poses a challenge for everyone, yet these challenges can be met with adaptation. With the proper structure, resources, and enthusiasm, parents can help transform this transition into an opportunity for meaningful growth and enrichment for their children.
Since parents and students are both working and schooling from home, parents are presented with the challenge of keeping their children entertained and ensuring a structured at-home education and daily routine, all while working to complete their own personal and/or professional tasks. Younger children may especially need some additional personalized attention, and one way to give a little extra TLC is by starting the day with some focused, quality time.
Setting boundaries by defining dedicated spaces for studying and working can also help limit distractions for everyone. Communicating with your children regarding expectations, your regular availability or lack thereof, as well as the best times to have your undivided attention, will help minimize panic and prevent the urge to interrupt what you’re doing.
Seek external resources.
A number of various resources are available to parents online, including CommonSense.org’s WideOpenSchool, the Department of Education’s Common Core Curriculum. Students’ actual class syllabi can also be accessed through various schools’ web portals. Using these tools, parents can regularly monitor their child’s progress, even familiarizing themselves with the materials in case their child has questions.
For students whose focus is challenged or for those having difficulty engaging with the curriculum, seeking out resources like supportive, professional virtual educators to guide, personalize, and assist can be empowering. These experts can provide alternative perspectives to core-curriculum, implement real-life application activities for students to actively engage with, address unique learning styles and interests, and serve as mentors and accountability partners.
Create a flexible yet structured routine.
With families implementing sustainable at-home routines, it’s important for everyone to recognize the time needed to acclimate to this temporary new normal. Since routines need refining, allowing for some trial-and-error and flexibility is paramount. Families will benefit from sitting down as a unit and discussing how best to co-engineer their schedule. It’s important to factor in non-negotiables, such as “live online classroom time” and other priorities first, and then, around those tasks, schedule in study time, virtual social engagements with friends, meals, exercise, quality time, quiet time for “unplugging,” and other essentials. The key here is balance.
Despite the uncertain changes and unsettling nature of our circumstances, we can make incremental adjustments that will allow us opportunities for growth.
National education expert, Cindy Chanin, is the founder of Rainbow EDU Consulting & Tutoring, created with the intention to transform lives through the power of personalized education, customized homeschooling, as well as impactful mentoring and enrichment.