I am completely saddened by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Not only has this pandemic impacted our nation, but it has impacted our world. Panic, fear, and frustration have swept through the homes of many families, and believe me I have been praying like never before. In the midst of all of this uncertainty, however, I do believe there are things that parents and guardians can do to help their school-aged children get back to a "somewhat" normal life.
1. Routine- I can't stress enough how important it is to make and keep a routine for school-aged children. Children thrive in a structured environment and it helps keep their minds focused on the tasks at hand and not hyper-focus on the pandemic. One of the reasons my students make such great gains each year is because I create a structured environment conducive to learning. Routines create habits, and when habits are formed retention increases. Routines and structures help children feel safe. Yes, they might fuss and fight initially but without structure and expectations, disaster is sure to be closely creeping in around the corner. Setting routines will also help children long-term. As adults, we have our own set of routines that we must follow, so now is a good time to start teaching your children how to follow a routine. Create a set time for them to complete chores, do school work, play, and sleep.
2. School-related activities- Just because most schools aren't physically meeting anymore, doesn't mean students should stop learning and completing some type of academic-related activity daily. I'm not saying students should be required to do the same school work as they did at school, and they shouldn't, but students should still be held responsible for taking ownership of their learning. There has been an influx of educational programs that are FREE of charge for the remainder of this school year and some even beyond that. Now is the perfect opportunity for parents and guardians to try out some of these free resources. You would be surprised by how fun some of those educational games are and chances are, your child has already been introduced to. those educational games while at school! But with everything, have a balance. Focus on what your child is interested in during this time and find fun and creative activities that could help peak their interests. Try to aim for thirty minutes to an hour daily for children to work on school-related activities.
On the flip side of this, I know a lot of people who are overwhelmed by all of the free resources out there (and there are a ton). I have narrowed down a select few that I love and are wonderful for students with specific learning disabilities and other high-incidence disabilities. I even found some for toddlers and preschoolers! I have them saved on my Google Drive instead of creating a blog about each one of them. Please send me an email with what subject area you are looking for and the grade or age of your child if you would like a copy. I would be glad to send those over to you, and as a reminder, they are all FREE of charge.
3. Support- In regards to educational-related topics, feel free to reach out to me. I may not know all of the answers, but I bet you I can find someone who does. We are all in this together. I have co-workers and connections in several different states in the US and I know someone will know the answers to your questions. Also, consider hiring a tutor. Here at Holmes Tutoring, I ensure students receive the best support that is tailored to their individual needs. Tutoring hours have been extended to help reach as many families as possible during this time. Purchasing bundle sessions is a great way to save on tutoring costs. There are three bundle packets that you can choose from located on the "Bundle Sessions" page on the website. Also, in the state of Alabama, Homework Alabama offers free tutoring services and the tutors are amazing! They have tons of free resources and access to a live tutor between the hours of 8:00 am- 11:00 pm. You now have the option to hear and speak with your tutor if you have a headset. Time slots are not guaranteed though, so log in early if you don't want to wait for an extended time to get a tutor.
4. Grace- As a nation, we are walking into so many unknowns. Teachers and superintendents don't have all the answers right now. Educators are hurting because they can't see their students. Speaking as an educator, it has been heartbreaking for me to not be able to communicate with my students regularly. Government officials are left to make tough decisions that will impact the lives of so many. This is a time to extend grace. Please give grace to your child's teachers, principals, and superintendents. Give grace to your children as they are adjusting as well. And give grace to yourself. This is something new for us all, but eventually, "this too shall pass." Be safe and God bless.
Love, Mrs. Holmes