Virtual Classrooms - are you our new best friend?
Having homeschooled my daughter in the past and now being part of the "self-iso movement" for COVID-19, I feel really comfortable writing this piece.
My understanding is that school's will be closed later this week. So, I give it a few days and then we are all at home googling, "How do I homeschool my kids?"
My first advice is don't be scared! About homeschooling that is. It can be a really unique and wonderful time and we really enjoyed our adventure a few years ago. And yes... you will have days where you throw your arms up in the air and give them the ipad and unlimited wifi - it's ok we can all be real here :)
But, for the most part, and upon reflection it was one of the best times in our lives because we saw it as a great opportunity to bond and prioritise what is important. And... right now, that is our health and our education.
These days, we are currently part of a new education model - a democratic school, modern and independent in it's thinking, and one that is well equipped to handle whatever the next few weeks and months may bring.
Our new school feels a lot like homeschooling but an extension of what we were doing and they are fantastic at what they do and achieve. So our homeschooling experience was a good lily-pad for us to try out a different style of learning than the traditional schooling model.
In these times of self isolation and uncertainty, alternative education is more important than ever.
Our school is currently using Google Classroom as part of its framework and it works really well. At times like this it will become our new best friend.
For those of you not familiar with Google Classroom, heres a little link to watch:
There are also many other resources out there. I just came across this site and it has lots of information and free resources for up to 20 days in there.
"Scholastic Learn at Home provides 20 days’ worth of active learning journeys designed to reinforce and sustain educational opportunities for those students who are unable to attend school. These are free resources for your students and your students' parents to keep the learning going."
Do some research and you will find what works for you.
My tip is to involve your child in what they want to learn also - for instance my daughter is journalling about her experience right now and creating a mini timetable to suit her. Here's 12 of our ideas thus far:
Journal the experience
Virtual tours of world class museums: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/75809/12-world-class-museums-you-can-visit-online
Read (books and online, kindle, audible, knock yourselves out with Harry Potter)
Play cards, scrabble, games
Art and Craft
Stretching and Exercise
(and of course some Netflix!).
Whilst there is an abundance of activities that can be done without tech - it is an amazing and complimentary tool right now and one we should be embracing.
Activities online are a plenty and I believe it will be the new way of learning in the future.
(It's just we are all getting a really quick introduction to it right now given the landscape and changing nature of COVID-19).
As a community this is a great chance for us to all come together virtually and online (even if we will be in our own bubble for a while).
So take a deep breath, make a coffee and sit down with your child and work out what works for you. You may just surprise yourself.
We still have power, we still have phone and internet. We still have each other. Let's see how far we can "stretch" under these challenging times and understand about ourselves and how amazingly adaptable we can all be - let's face it....we have been adapting and evolving now for eons - this is just the next part in that process so we may as well have some fun whilst we are doing it, right?
Good Luck :)