No one can predict how long US school children will remain shut out of their classrooms by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic quarantines. Schools have been quick in making online instruction available to their students, but not all homebound children are able to make use of it.
What are parents to do when—for any number of reasons–the daily completion of online lessons looms as an impossible undertaking?
First, they can stop fretting that their children will be miles behind when schools reopen. Most of their peers will be behind as well.
The United States is home to 50 million public school students and about 5 million private school students. Across the country, teachers are reporting that only about fifty percent of their students are signing in for online lessons. What are the other fifty percent doing to keep up?
When classrooms finally do reopen (whenever that may be), review—not new material— will be on the school agenda for months.
That’s not to say that quarantine time can’t be academically beneficial.
Even without a daily schedule of online lessons, parents can maintain their children’s educational health by providing reinforcement of the basic skills essential to academic achievement.
This is an ideal opportunity for parents to assess their children’s education to date.
How well do they read?
Can they write legibly?
Can they spell the words they use?
Can they find their state and city on a map of the United States?
How well do they follow directions?
Parents don’t need high-tech resources to reinforce skills their children have already been exposed to in school. A few brief practice sessions every day can strengthen these skills.
Fascinating television shows, like Nature and Nova on PBS, can introduce new information about science and the world. Board games and card games can reinforce math and social skills.
Life is stressful enough right now. If you and your child are comfortable with the online instruction being offered by your school, by all means, go for it.
If, on the other hand, the details of online instruction have you and your children stressed to the breaking point, stand down. Go low-tech, with books and writing materials. Time spent on reinforcing basic skills will go a long way to prepare your child for productive classroom reentry when the time comes.
Browse this site for mini-lessons and exercises to reinforce your child’s basic skills and general knowledge.