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Podcast: School-At-Home Tips For Parents

Schooling your kids at home during the COVID-19 outbreak
"Homeschooler" photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

With more and more school districts canceling classes each day, parents are scrambling to adapt to the new routines of having their kids at home, and setting up a “kitchen table classroom” for them to keep up with their studies during the Coronavirus crisis.

In this podcast, we talk to two BMX families who homeschool some or all of their kids. Our guests–Jamie Vesely of Indiana and Matt Dubiel of Illinois—give some great insight into the “day in the life” of a homeschool family. In listening to this episode, you will learn how these families make it work, and even go beyond the normal lessons learned in traditional school to bring the family closer together. Those tips and insights will prove quite valuable in the coming weeks.

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There is a difference between homeschooling, and School-At-Home, which millions of Americans are now forced to spontaneously jump into. The podcast above and the following tips may help you and your family make the most of it…maybe even enjoy this time together.

10 Tips for Running School at Home During COVID-19

1). Have an open discussion that this is not “vacation” time (unless it is actually their spring break period), and you are expecting assignments to be completed and turned in on a daily basis–either to you, or via the method provided by the school.

2). Stay on your normal school schedule. Up at the same hour, shower, dress, breakfast, and move into the assignments of the day. It will be much easier to get back into the daily groove, once the schools open again

3). After school work is completed, assign a few household chores for the kids. With everyone home, there will be more cleaning, dishes, laundry, trash to take out and like-that. If they are not assigned regular chores as it is, this would be a time to do it.

4). Establish guidelines for devices. If you don’t, the wild horses of Internet distraction will run free. We’re not saying take them away; social apps can be a positive way to stay connected to school friends during “social distancing,” but while “school” time is in effect, it should be all phones off, and in the basket.

5). Schedule Lunch and snacks. With school comes the need for focus. That means your school-at-homers should not be focusing on their growling stomach while getting the job done. That said, they should not be getting up from the table every five minutes for snacks or drinks of water. Those are “old favorite” time wasters that will while the whole day away, if you let them.

6). Get outside. Even though they are not going to be hanging out with their normal wolf pack, they can still go out and do some sprints, a leisurely ride around the block with the family, or whatever else you deem appropriate. Even if it is listening to music in the back yard, soak up some Vitamin D and chill.

7). Do a Google Hangout with school friends. Some online learning platforms have a virtual classroom, where you can use your webcam to be “present” in the group. If yours doesn’t, Google has just made the premium edition of their “Hangouts” virtual meeting platform free during the work-from-home period. And, there is always Apple’s FaceTime, if you have iPhones in your circle of friends.

8). Learning can be “always on.” Use events of the day to research and discuss topics you would not normally discuss. It may be how many members sit in the House of Representatives, the population of Italy, or how to make pasta at home.

9). Monitor School bulletins, websites and virtual meetings. This isn’t necessarily a school-at-home tip, but it will help to maintain a connection to your local school district and your town and county websites. Those outlets will be the ones that will have hyper-local information first.

10. Learn from the learning. Once this is all over, and everyone goes back to school and work, take some nuggets of knowledge from this experience, and maybe continue the home learning process in addition to traditional school. Some families may like it so much that they decide to go full homeschool for the rest of the year and beyond.

However your family decides to handle the school-at-home / work-at-home situation, we wish you the best of everything in doing it, and hope you will share your experiences with us–either in the Facebook comments, or by email at news@bmxnews.com

Thanks to Jamie Vesely and Matt Dubiel for their time in recording this podcast.

—Mike Carruth