My mom taught 5th grade and was a reading specialist in NYC public schools for over 30 years. When I was young, we knew that whatever weekend family activity we planned would need to end by Sunday afternoon so Mommy could focus on her lesson plans for the week.
When I started teaching my Parenting courses at Hunter last year (never having taught a class before), my mom was in my head as I spent time outlining the discussions and questions for the upcoming classes. These lesson plans gave me confidence in my teaching: I knew what we had to cover, and when discussion went in an interesting but different direction (as it often did) I could easily get back to where we needed to be.
So, now that parents are all teachers now, I’m channeling my mom and suggesting that a bit of lesson planning before the week gets too busy will help us all. Here’s what I suggest:
1) Review the remote learning requirements each child has for each class in the coming week. Are there scheduled times during the week when he or she needs to be online? Put this on a master calendar so you can keep track. If you have multiple children who are sharing laptops, it is important to know whether there will be any conflicts with respect to computer time. Better to deal with this when you can figure it out rather than in panicked moments right before class.
2) Make sure everyone has a daily schedule of activity, starting with the children. If the kids are too young and/or their school has not provided a schedule, there are many on the internet to serve as guides. Check out the Khan Academy schedule templates for preschool-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade, 6th-9th grade, and 10-12th grades. These schedules include links to a variety of grade appropriate curriculum links on Khan Academy and elsewhere. You can find the Khan Academy schedules here. There are tons of schedule suggestions on the internet; GCP posted one on Instagram a few days ago which you can find here.
3) Planning For Toddlers and PreSchoolers: Structure and routines are key. Working parents who have to care for toddlers at home have quite a challenge trying to keep them occupied all day. The CDC offers suggestions for building consistency and structure for toddlers and preschoolers, and gives examples of routines and daily schedules here.
4) Post the adult’s schedules as well. Make a master calendar which includes your conference calls and times when you cannot be disturbed so that your (age appropriate) children know that they should not try to find you during those times. Be sure to build in some rest time for everyone!!
5) Gather all curriculum resources for the coming week. The homeschooling resources are coming fast and furiously these days, so there is a lot out there, but you need to find what will work for your children. We are finding some great sources and will continue to pass them on to you.
6) Have realistic expectations. We may be our children’s first teachers, but we are NOT trained professionals. Know that during these crazy, unprecedented times, our children will spend more time on screens then usual (and not doing schoolwork), and no one will be able to work at full capacity. We are all swimming in uncharted waters. We will do the best that we can do, but that is all that we can do.
7) If the remote learning is driving you crazy you’ll get a kick out of this Israeli mom who is so through with all of this already: