Our friends from Mangahigh wrote this post to help those affected by the recent school closures. We wanted to share with our readers so that you can be equipped to in turn encourage others who may not be comfortable with educating their children at home.
(You can read the original post published 3/12/2020 by Suruchi Bhargava HERE or the edited content below.)
Hundreds of thousands of schools are temporarily closing around the world to contain and delay the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus). As a parent, this can be worrying as you may be wondering how to keep your child happy and supported during this time of uncertainty. Apart from not being able to attend school regularly, this disruption also results in the children being away from their friends for potentially weeks on end and it can be daunting for children to suddenly be pulled out of school.
In this blog we go through a few tips on what we can do to keep your child happy and educated during school closures.
My Child’s School is Closed - Now What?
Let’s talk about it
Hopefully, your child’s school has already been able to prepare their students for this closure, but we know that not every school has been blessed with that chance. In any case, being pulled out of school can be quite alarming for any child. Their daily life is disrupted, and they might get worried about COVID-19, especially with the amount of press coverage it’s receiving. It can be reassuring for children to ask questions and have more clarification on the subject, no matter how random or dramatic. There are some great resources to be found that can help to explain: This comic by KQED, for example, explains the situation in a reassuring and informative way. KidsHealth has written an article with great tips on how to talk to your child about the Coronavirus as well.
“Who can I play with now?”
Another big change that children may experience, is that they won’t be able to see their classmates for a while. This can potentially cause children to get lonely and/or bored. Depending on what your child’s school has prepared they might talk to their class only once a day or even once a week.
Now, we don’t have to tell children about the online world. They probably know more about it than we do. But how can you, as a parent, make sure your child is using appropriate means of communication? Internet Matters has gathered social media platforms that are made for children and are safe. If your child is already using mainstream social media (Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, Snapchat etc.), it might be worth reminding them of online etiquette and talking to them about cyberbullying too. It will always be hard to monitor children’s online activities, but we can educate them on the pros and cons of being online.
Help! I Don’t Feel Prepared to Keep My Child Motivated for Schoolwork!
Don’t worry! There are tons of tricks and resources that can help you through this time.
Tips on how to keep your child focused on school
Your kid is at home, but we completely understand if you’re not able to sit with them to do their schoolwork all day. Keeping your child motivated by themself can be quite a challenge. We have listed some ideas to implement that can make this a bit easier for you and your child:
Set up a learning center
This sounds complicated, but we really just mean finding a place without distractions where you can establish ‘learning time’. Your children might normally do homework in their rooms, but that doesn't mean it's automatically the best place for them to learn full time. Establishing a learning center makes it very clear when it’s time to learn, and when it’s time to relax.
Depending on what the school has organised, you might end up having to plan your child’s learning yourself. Giving children a choice can be a great motivator for them which is why we recommend you plan their learning days together. Being able to choose in which order they do their work can give children a sense of control, which can be reassuring in such an unpredictable time. Here are some great planning tools listed.
Take frequent breaks
A 5-minute break every 25 minutes (the Pomodoro Technique) can significantly improve performance. You can set a timer, so your child knows when it’s break time and when they have to start working again.
Balance on and off-screen time
It’s important to alternate between on and off-screen time. If the school requires children to be online, breaks can be a great time to take some time off-screen. It's an opportunity to spend some time together with your child and do something fun!
Support for a full (and fun!) learning experience
If your school’s already using certain books, worksheets and/or online resources, we recommend you use these as a basis as to keep your child’s education as close to normal as possible. Additionally, we have gathered some great tools you can use for a complete distance learning experience for your child:
Literacy Planet - This English learning tool includes every literacy aspect: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Mangahigh For Home - Our maths learning tool for home is fully curriculum aligned and uses gamification to keep maths fun and engaging for students. It can be a much-needed change of pace for students and keeps them motivated to learn maths. The platform has a reports feature so you can also track your child’s progress in real time.
Muzzy - The BBC created this video-based tool for learning several different languages. They offer animated, story-based videos that teach children English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese and Korean.
Twinkl - This website offers tons of free offline resources for different subjects and fun activities to do in breaks.
Physics Central - This organisation has created a historically accurate physics comic book about Nicholas Tesla. It’s a fun way to get your child interested in physics.
Physics Classroom - On this website you can find tons of online and offline resources surrounding physics. From handouts to video’s and interactive concept builders, there is sure to be something that your child will like.
We hope our tips and tricks will be helpful to you and other parents. Here at Mangahigh, we’re focused on making this time easier on children, teachers and parents. Please let us know if you have any questions or think of anything else, we can help you with.