-by Trina Pruitt, parent and Go Public contributor

Remember when our kids went to school and we went to work and we took toilet paper for granted and no one knew what Zoom was? Good times. Now we are all learning how to live in this strange new world of remote working and at-home learning or distance learning .  School administrators and staff members have been unbelievably quick to set up distance learning tools for students and parents. School districts have provided a great deal of guidance and resources online in an attempt to help us navigate these unchartered educational waters.

When I began researching at-home learning strategies it seemed overwhelming, but the more I read into it, the more approachable the idea became.  First, I found tips for setting up a home learning space for my daughter so that she can keep her schoolwork in one organized place. I set up a small desk with a comfortable chair right next to the window so she can enjoy the natural light. We discussed a set schedule that keeps her on track with projects and assignments.  East Central ISD posted this sample schedule that I used as a template to make our own schedule, and my daughter enjoyed being able to help organize the day’s activities.  We designated certain “quiet times” of the day where everyone in the house is working or reading silently so that we can each focus on our tasks uninterrupted.  The most important aspect of the schedule is that it provides structure and stability for children that they would normally get from school. It is important for children to wake up and get dressed and ready for the day as if they are going to school because it mentally prepares them for learning.  This Washington Post article contains a ton of helpful information about why staying on schedule is important for children.

In our household, we have adopted a simple and flexible schedule:

8am   Morning Routine (get dressed, breakfast, etc)

9am   Creative Play (legos, playdough, blocks)

10am Academics/Quiet time (online math/science lessons from school, math/science games)

11am Outdoor physical activities and exercise  (walk dog, ride bike, swing, trampoline)

12pm Lunch and Rest

1pm   Activity Time (puzzles, games, sidewalk chalk, cooking, crafts)

2pm   Academics/Quiet time (reading/writing, online lessons from school, online reading games)

3pm   Chores (daily chores, organize/clean learning space, get area set up for tomorrow)

4pm   Screen Time/ Virtual Field Trip

5pm   Family Time

Of course this schedule isn’t always followed exactly, but it gives my child an idea of what to expect for the day and it holds me somewhat accountable as well.  Each household is different and each schedule should be made for individual family needs.  

I found a great screentime and chore manager app that is easy to use and keeps us all in check.  And for some really creative activity suggestions, reminders that we are all in this together, or if you just want a really good laugh, check out this Facebook moms group. Remember that we are all learning how to master distance learning as we go, parents and children alike. There is an endless amount of online resources and tools to make this process as painless as possible. So give yourself a break and try not to stress over this new adventure. It won’t all go according to plan. We won’t be perfect. And we won’t know all the answers.  But Google will.

Take care, practice social distancing, and together, we’ll get through this. A big thank you to all of our school districts for what they’re doing to ensure our kids are learning and supported.

Here are some of our favorite fun and educational links:

Reading/ Storytime

https://bookflix.digital.scholastic.com/

http://www.magickeys.com/books/

Virtual Field Trips

https://www.weareteachers.com/best-virtual-field-trips/

Science/ Nature

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

All Academics by Grade Level

https://www.khanacademy.org/

Physical Fitness

https://family.gonoodle.com/