It has been advised by several Governments across the world that 'lockdown' should not be the equivalent of early summer vacation for schoolchildren. For a majority of parents, the lockdown is not synonymous with vacation or partial unemployment, but rather, with working from home.
It is therefore important to structure the weekday between working and taking care of the kids. When both parents are working from home, it is advised to split the time between working and taking care of the kids. For example, one parent can work in the morning while the other takes care of the kids, and vice versa in the afternoon. In the evening, both parents get in a couple more hours of work once the kids are in bed.
Although it can be a difficult and uncertain time, with a little planning and organisation, you can ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for you and your family. Check out our tips for planning school from home for your kids during the confinement.
Maintain the same schedule
If your kids are in elementary school, be sure to respect the same school hours in order to maintain the same rhythm while working from home. If school normally starts at 8 am, everyone should wake up at 7 am, have breakfast, brush their teeth, get dressed and be ready to start class.
Plan for one or two breaks in the morning for about 15 minutes to make time for some recreational activities. Try to avoid letting your child watch tv during their break, even though we realise that it's not always easy.
Between 11:30 AM and 12PM, it's time for small snack break. Then you'll be able to finish the school day by 2:30PM.
For high school students, the best way to stay organised is to follow the same timetable in school while working from home by themselves and with minimal supervision. Even though this might mean that each day will be different. Older students will be more autonomous and better able to manage their own time, even though you should check in once in a while to make sure they haven't given up their school books for video games or Netflix.
By organising the day as you would any regular school day, students can be prevented from having to work in the evenings and before meals, particularly when everyone may be tired and on edge.
One of the issues that high school and middle school students may face, is that the servers set up by their schools may be overloaded and not functioning properly. It may be a good idea to connect earlier in the morning and later in the evening in order to download material. You may also wish to get in touch with your child's teachers directly to find out if there are any other solutions adopted depending on the school. Some teachers may use email and other applications such as Zoom to continue classes online.
Split up your working time
Younger children will not be able to concentrate the whole morning on one single subject. Their attention will be limited, especially for students that are still in primary school. It's a good idea to divide the school day up in order to cover a number of subjects following their regular timetable. For example:
- Half an hour of mathematics
- Half an hour of history
- Half an hour of reading and writing
- Half an hour of science
- Half an hour of geography
- Half an hour of painting
- Half an hour of languages
- Half an hour of music...
Also remember to divide the time between classes, exercises, and correction of homework.
The same goes for older students in middle school and high school. Try to divide the time between classes, exercises, and revision even if classes generally last an hour or two. One of the advantages for older students, is that while they will still be partially supported by their teachers online, they are more capable of studying independently. You'll just have to remember to check in to make sure that they are following up with their work.
Use other tools to continue classes from home during the confinement
During this period, several online platforms have proposed solutions to give students and their parents access to free educational materials and through organising online classes.
For schoolchildren, middle and high school students, there are a reasonable number of TV channels listed below which provide educational content, that can be watched during free time:
- 1. National Geographic Channel
- 2. Discovery Channel
- 3. History Channel
- 4. Animal Planet
- 5. Nat Geo Wild
- 6. Discovery Travel & Living
These channels broadcast a range of documentaries which can be interesting to watch with your kids in order to discover other elements of culture, history, sciences, geography, nature, wildlife, etc and learn in a way that does not feel boring. It can offer a means of interactive learning for your kids while ensuring that they learn the most fundamental concepts.
Using online platforms such as those offering visits to museums and other cultural events can be a great way to change your child's habits and offer more innovative ways of learning. Nothing prevents you from cultivating your child with virtual visits from the Louvre Museum in France, Buckingham Palace in England, or even the Mars Surface on Space!
Check out the websites jumpstart.com, funnlearn.co.in, and thegreatkids.com in order to find exercises for primary school students. Check out these websites for more resources:
There are dozens of free ebooks, audiobooks available online. You can download over 800 free eBooks to your Kindle, iPad/iPhone, computer, smart phone or ereader through the website - openculuture. Their collections includes great works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, history, physics, textbooks (you can also materials based on your class, subject and level) in different languages.
No need to ban Netflix and YouTube. There are a number of interesting channels and educational tools.
Channels on Youtube :
- Arvind Gupta
- The Curious Engineer
- Arun Kumar
- Pretty Uzlain
- 7 Active Studio
Documentaries on Netflix :
- Our Planet for ecology
- The Great Dates of the Second World War on history,
- The Mysteries of the Universe on science,
- Planet Earth, night over animals and ecology,
- Roman Empire on Ancient Rome,
- Mysterious black holes in science,
- The brain in brief, scientific audiovisual documentary series,
- Hitler and the circle of evil, historical documentary ...
To keep our eyes away from a screen, there are also many interesting podcasts -
- Tumble for students 6-12 years of age, covering stories behind sciences discoveries
- Book Club for Kids for 9-14 year olds, to discover the joy of reading
- Short & Curly for younger children to teach them the value of good ethics
- Brains On a podcast is interesting to curious minds!
It is an unprecedented situation we are now living, with millions of people around the world living in quarantine. No one knows how long it will last, so it's a good idea to remain organised and to stay flexible to deal with the situation in the best way possible.
Living in lockdown is no easy feat. We have all experienced feelings of isolation and frustration from not being able to carry out our lives normally. No matter what age, we may feel isolated and find it difficult to not be able to see our friends and family. Try to remain flexible.
It's important to continue with the school program, but confinement is also an opportunity to slow down, to strengthen our ties with those we live with, to learn differently and to live in the present moment. Teachers and educators are here to support you and help your child to continue learning from home. There's no need to put too much pressure on yourself. Do the best that you can with the means and the time that you have. Enjoy the time you have as a family.
In the afternoons, you could also spend time doing other activities, such as cooking, painting, coloring or playing music. You can give your children time to call and keep in touch with their friends and family members.
Finally don't forget to make time for some physical activities or exercise every day. Half an hour to an hour of dancing, aerobics, cardio exercises, and stretching can be a lot of fun for the whole family.
Our thoughts are with you during this period of lockdown!