Here in Colorado, schools go onto Spring Break, starting today, March 13th. Leading up to this day, many folks were wondering what it would be like when they come back to school? We are hearing, every day, about another university switching to online. Harvard gave students 5 days to move out. Makes sense, right? Universities have many international students, and this virus originated internationally.
The K-12 community has been watching all this, very closely. Staying in contact with the local Health Departments. Together they were trying to determine the best course of action. The scary thing about COVID-19 is that we don't know a lot about it. There are many rumors and lots of fear. Many things are being canceled or rescheduled due to the unknown factor.
Then, yesterday, it started. The K-12 schools, in Colorado, began announcing they were going to extend Spring Break. Some by a week, some for a month. This is happening, as a precautionary measure. Decreasing the number of people in close quarters. Most schools are pretty close quarters, don't you think?
This all adds up to increase the stress to students and their parents. And this is not going to be a gradual transition for students, from in-class to online. For most schools, it's going to be abrupt. The students will leave, for Spring Break, on March 13th. But, when break is over, will they return to a brick and mortar building? They need to be ready for whatever happens. So, how can you help your child prepare and reduce, everyone's stress?
Be patient with your school. There is no doubt they are scrambling to get things into place and make sure learning continues. They need to make sure all the students have computers. That the students have a good connection. The teachers need to alter their classroom teaching plans. Some of their existing plans may work, but others will need to be adjusted. This is going to result in, many folks, in the school district, being pulled in many directions. They may be short with you. You may want to be short with them. Take a moment and breathe. They are doing everything they can to make sure your child will continue learning.
More than likely, your child has a planner. Most schools give them to students when they start the school year. If they are not using it, get them to use it. The school districts will announce how classes will be set up. More than likely, you’ll receive an email. Sit down with your child and have them put their schedule down. Most students have a Gmail account, so connect it to Google calendar. Add it to their phone. Make sure notifications are on. Remember, now they are home, and the structure isn't as rigid. Plus, getting them using a planner now will help them later in life.
Ask the school how they are going to handle if your student needs some extra help? Will the online classes be interactive? How will the student “raise their hand” to ask a question? Will the teacher have “office hours” or time after class to meet with students who have questions?
While I tutor online, 95% of the time, I also teach online, at a community college. It's an environment that takes a little getting used. Not the technology. That part most people are comfortable with, especially the younger generation. No, it’s the need to focus and concentrate when you’re at home. Home! Where you go to relax and have some downtime.
Now, for these students, it’s also going to be where they are “in school”. And, I can guarantee, they will be distracted. I've taught algebra to a student in Hong Kong, and tutored an ACT student who lived in the UK. Currently, half of my students live outside Colorado. It's not the distance that is an issue; it's adapting your child's learning environment for the present situation.
Help them understand, it's still school. They still need to pay attention and do what they would do if they were in the school building. When they “go to class”, remind them they need to have everything there. Calculator, pencil, notebook or an app open to take notes. And they should have their phones off, like if they were in a regular classroom. The key, with most students, is to stick to the school schedule as best they can. Did they have a free period every day? Are they used to doing homework during that time? Have them so homework during that time. You want to make their home schedule as close to their school schedule, as possible.
While this is a major disruption, you can get through it. The bottom line is everyone involved wants the students to continue learning. There will be some bumps in the road. Do you feel your student might need some extra help, during this time? If so, reach out to me. I would be happy to chat about how we can work together to help your child stay on track. Contact form.