I am hoping you are hanging in there still. 2020 has been a wild and stressful ride for students and teachers and parents. Many parents have turned to homeschooling their children. Many are juggling the challenges of online learning with the repeated school closures. It is not easy. I know!
One of our major stressors is watching children falling behind in their academics and worrying that they are losing out and will never be able to catch up. Children are very resilient, resourceful, learning sponges! Don't fret too much. Schools these days have been pushing children almost beyond their capacity. Have you noticed that when you were a child and learning basic division in grade 4 then fractions in grade 5? Remember when algebra was introduced in grade 7 or 8? Remember when calculus was the advanced math you normally got in CEGEP? Now children are doing multiplication and division and even fractions by grades 2 and 3, algebra in grades 5 and 6, calculus is considered normal math in grade 9! Children are pushed into reading and writing. The ones that struggle to keep up are labels troubled, delayed, problematic, slow, stupid.... when really they are just normal kids at a normal pace while the others manage to run the rat race at lightspeed. Can you imagine the emotional and psychological damage?
I have watched it over and over. My message to parents is the same. Do not fret; strengthen your child's basics and foundations. Do not berate them for not keeping up. Instead, celebrate their successes. This is how you build confidence and show support. This will give your child the ability to grow and learn. Challenge them, then step back and review and reinforce.
You are NOT alone!
Teachers are there to be consulted, to help advise, to teach, and to support the learning. There are many online resources you can draw upon. And many people open to doing tutoring.
So, if you are in Montreal, then you are locked down with your child at home till January 11th... worrying that it might be a longer lockdown. Kids are home... but parents still have to work.
Older children and teens will have regular online or at home schoolwork to do. Middling children and some younger children will have check-ins with their teachers. The children who will have this the hardest (as well as their parents) are the ones who are not autonomous, the younger children aged 3-9, who cannot spend hours in online classes or be left to do schoolwork on their own.
What do you do?
Look at your own personal schedule first. When are you most busy working and cannot oversee your child's studies? When are their check-ins with their teachers? Now create a learning/play schedule. Remember that play is where so much learning happens! Really and truly. Set your child to practicing letters, drawing/coloring, reading, building things, or watching educational/learning shows. Do this for during the times you need to be more committed to your work. Check on your child periodically. dedicate your lunchtime or your break time to time WITH your child so they don't feel neglected. Then in the next patch of time that you need to focus on work, set up free play or fun shows or something exploratory/creative (and accept that there will be some mess, let go of the need to be clean and clean up after. Trust me... it will help everyone's sanity to have a happy and occupied child).
Create a routine that is fairly close to what they would have if they were in school. Create a routine that works for YOU and for THEM. And then... STICK TO IT!
Here is what mine looks like for my 5 year old daughter who is in Kindergarten.
8am - morning routine (wash, brush teeth, dress, make beds, brush hair) and breakfast
9am - practice name writing and number writing, watch Number Blocks on Netflix
10:30am - ZOOM check-in with her teacher for one hour
11:30am - clean up, make room for afternoon activities
12pm - lunch
1pm - practice writing letters then FREE PLAY/EXPLORATION
3pm - walk/play outside
4pm - quiet reading or watching shows while cleanup happens and supper is cooked
5pm - supper
6pm - family time with daddy
7pm - parents take turns reading to her and holding discussion topics in bed
Mondays and Wednesdays, we change things up and have a subject activity day: math/money, history, art, geography, music, dance, science, life skills (cleaning, cooking, sorting clothing, fixing things, etc.). Having a routine helps it all run smoothly. We also keep it fun. Kids learn much more if they are having fun doing so.
Why does this routine work for us? My husband works from home and thus my daughter needs to be quiet while he is in online meetings. I teach corporate executives online 5 times a week. I thus have some more time to oversee our daughter, although hubby will oversee lunch for 3 days as that is when I am teaching.
We make a large schedule our daughter can look at and follow easily, so she knows what to expect out of the day and when she is with which parent, when which parent is working, what is expected of her, when she can play and have fun and when she needs to work, too.