Learning During the COVID Crisis
Learning During the COVID Crisis
Widespread COVID-related school closures this spring, coupled with uncertainty about what school will look like in the fall, have many parents considering homeschooling options. The structure of homeschooling varies across the country, with different states holding different regulations. Whether you are homeschooling because your school is closed, or because you believe it is a better fit for your child than your local school, your goal is to provide a quality education for your child that includes a broad knowledge base and the hands-on experiences that make learning memorable.
If you or someone you know was homeschooled as a child, you may have noticed that homeschooling looks quite different today than it did in the past. Digital resources abound, and online platforms provide you ample opportunities to prepare, plan, network and access resources.
The downside to an online focus can be too many hours spent in front of screens and too little time spent engaging in hands-on, interactive activities. Social interaction can be more difficult as well. The good news is that with intentional planning, it is possible to overcome these challenges.
As you consider the effects of home-based learning on your child, especially during the present time, consider these tips for creating a solid educational experience.
- Utilize local resources. Research local businesses, museums, tourist attractions and historical sites. Consider how these places and their activities relate to your curricular goals, then connect with people at each location. A virtual tour of a facility or a well-planned video interview with a practitioner can enhance your child’s understanding of otherwise abstract concepts.
- Make your child an active part of planning. Use your child’s interests to create meaningful units of study. Assign your child required elements (such as an essay, a lab experiment and report, a poster or a presentation), then let your child shape their own project. This allows for both creativity and increased personal responsibility. Project-based learning is an excellent way to actively engage your child in the learning process.
- Expose your child to a variety of voices. Your child’s education is enriched by learning from people of differing viewpoints and experiences. Look for articles, interviews, memoirs and essays from people of different cultures, careers, ages and backgrounds. Be sure to tackle topics from more than one angle. Teach your child to evaluate what they see, hear and read and then to draw their own conclusions.
- Create opportunities for social interaction. While COVID-based restrictions and shut-downs remain in place, in-person social opportunities may be limited. Get creative with your use of technology to facilitate discussion groups, debates and collaborative projects. When homeschooling without COVID restrictions, look for other homeschooling families and groups to do activities such as physical education, music, art and field trips.
- Maximize the opportunity for hands-on experiences. A perfect subject for hands-on learning is science – projects and experiments make academic information memorable. Don’t forget to look for ways to bring math, social studies and English language arts alive using manipulatives and projects.
It’s true that the transition to homeschooling can pose numerous challenges, but the results can be rewarding. As you gather resources, create a plan that works for you, and connect with other homeschooling parents, you will find that you are able to create an environment where your child can grow in confidence, creativity and knowledge.