Schools are closed. Kids are home.
Structure and routine matter.
Meagan Johnson | 03.20
With schools closed, many parents are left looking for answers.
What will I do with my kids all day?
How is the school supporting my child’s continued learning?
How will I keep up with my own work?
Monarque has crowd sourced some answers to these questions from our talented tutor collective, expert community collaborators and veteran home-schooling parents. Suggestions included:
- Communicate and build awareness about what’s happening
- Manage expectations about this new at-home reality
- Create weekly plans and daily schedules
- Designate different work spaces per activity or subject
- Build incentives and rewards
- Don’t forget about physical well being – Move! Breathe!
Create a sense of continuity by mimicking the school structure
The overarching message was that school is a structured environment, with routines, rules and designated work/play spaces, so in order to create a sense of continuity and ease stress amidst uncertainty, mimicking the school structure may be a good place to start.
Planning & Scheduling
You can support your child’s continued learning while at home by creating structure, through a bit of planning and by building and maintaining consistent routines. These are skills that Monarque believes to be critical and transferable to all areas of life, be it in the classroom, at home or as a future professional or parent.
Planning the week ahead provides visibility to the whole family, sets and manages expectations and proactively identifies any potential requirements or challenges. Creating a consistent daily schedule helps to formally designate time for school work, meals, chores, rest and other daily activities and breaks down the day into smaller, more achievable blocks of time.
“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Planning requires collaboration and input from multiple sources, to ensure you have all the information needed to make the best decisions for you and your family.
Schools: Communicate with schools to understand what resources, in terms of curriculum, online learning platforms, supplies, etc are available to you. Understand from teachers what the objectives and expectations are for the defined period.
Parents: Divide and conquer. Understand respective work obligations and deliverables. Determine how best to divide the child care at home, in collaboration with any other help available.
Public & Private Officials: Inform yourself. Using reputable and up to date sources, understand what constraints are placed on your family and what resources are available to support these unusual circumstances.
Once you have all considerations and constraints from relevant parties, you can build a rough plan and associated objectives for the week. Are there any gaps in your family’s capabilities to meet this plan and objectives? Perhaps you need more academic resources or someone to supervise your child’s remote learning due to increased work commitments or limited e-learning platforms through school. Whatever it may be, it is identified up front so that there is a plan of action to fill the gaps and enable the most effective execution of the plan.
“We are what we repeatedly do.”
The consistency and predictability that a schedule and routine provide motivates learning, makes kids feel safe and more effectively gets sh**t done to meet objectives.
- Ensure a well-balanced meal to kick-start your metabolism and brain.
- Checklist or visuals for all the items that need to get done in a given day so that kids can check them off and feel a sense of progress as they move through the day.
- Identify incentives to be associated with the completion of each major time block, particularly those related to studying.
- Break up school work into 45 min blocks (or less if young children) as attention drastically decreases after this point.
- Intersperse grounding strategies, mindfulness, breathing and/or physical movement throughout the schedule. A small break can do wonders for your patience and your child’s ability to get through the day.
- Assign and allocate work spaces within the home for each type of activity to create mental associations and, therefore, a sense of predictability and ability to self-start.
- Empower older children to design the schedule that works best for them, while still meeting objectives.
Look ahead and break it down
With a bit more time up front spent collectively understanding the family’s needs, constraints and available support and resources, a realistic plan can be established and the week ahead broken down into more digestible, productive chunks. By ensuring consistency with this daily schedule, the entire family can feel a sense of continuity and safety during these more uncertain times.
Monarque Tutoring can help support the creation of weekly plans and daily schedules for your children and ensure the continuity of your child’s education while schools are closed, through online tutoring sessions. Each lesson comes with a tailored lesson plan, supplemental curriculum-based resources and post-lesson notes.
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