Preparing for long-term school closures

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Well folks, it is obvious that we are in this for the long haul. All you have to do is look at local, national and world news to realize that we are going to have to adjust in many areas in our lives. With two children living in my home that are currently in school, and really no hope seeing them return during this school year, I’ve worried about how this is going to affect their education. We’ll soon see how our local school districts are advancing on how to continue this last semester, but I’ve also been doing research on online tools to help keep our children active in learning.

There are a lot of great programs, mostly paid classes, but there are also many that offer free courses that could make a full day of school at home. So far in this research, PBS is the one that has the most attractive solutions for filling that gap for grades Pre-k-High School. There are videos and reading platforms that cover Social Studies, English, Science, Arts, Math, Professional Development, Engineering, Health, Physical Education, World Languages and more and they are specified for age levels. These classes vary by subject matter and come in many forms. Videos, games, educational television and PBS is stepping up realizing that there are parents out there who need help while our school systems are physically shut down.

There are several tips they give to this “at home learning” atmosphere, and although I realize that not all parents can be with their children all day long, these lessons are packaged-ready, so you don’t necessarily have to be a teacher to create a school schedule, just willing to make one that you, or whomever is taking care of your children during the day can follow.

And that schedule, is a large part of what is needed to keep our kids “in school” state of mind. It is important to create a schedule as close to your child’s normal school routine as possible. Create blocks of time for certain types of school activities and specific times for reading, math, science and academic work. Don’t forget the breaks, and don’t neglect the need for special subjects such as movement, art and music. Set scheduled meal and snack times, and for the really young, nap time. If you are now working from home, you can try your best to set your children’s schedule to coincide alongside your work schedule, but the point is to create a schedule that you can stick to. It is alright if it goes astray for a day, just get back on track as soon as you can. These are unprecedented times that call for unprecedented measures.

PBS is not the only place to find online education, but it does have a long commitment to educating our children. If you don’t find everything you need at PBS, do a local search for online schooling for parents. And many of them are local museums, tutoring services, and teachers that are going out on their own to make sure that there are classroom quality material out there for you to use. You’ll be amazed at how many tools you find, and you can actually choose the best courses that suit your child’s learning needs. Many of these learning activities can be done together, and many, you can sit your child down to watch, or work on that math worksheet, or learn STEAM equivalent subjects.

Visit pbslearningmedia.org and pbs.org/parents for many ways to engage your children and continue their ability to learn on a daily basis.