Struggling to homeschool during school closures? UNICEF has some advice

Coronavirus

If you're having a hard time continuing your child's education, these 5 tips can help

Schools in North Texas have canceled campus classes, and it’s created both challenges and benefits for parents. One silver lining is the extra time you get with your family because your kids are home all day. One drawback is that your kids are home all day.

All day.

Then comes the logistical and time challenges of balancing homeschooling your kids with everything else. With 80% of the world’s school population affected, you’re not alone.

Robert Jenkins, who is Global Chief of Education for UNICEF has some advice on continuing your kid’s education as during the coronavirus crises:

5 tips for continuing your child’s education

Plan a routine together.

Try to establish a routine that factors in age-appropriate education programs that can be followed online, on the television or through the radio. Also, factor in playtime and time for reading. Use everyday activities as learning opportunities for your children. And don’t forget to come up with these plans together where possible.

Have open conversations. 

Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you. Remember that your child may have different reactions to stress, be patient and understanding. Start by inviting your child to talk about the issue. Find out how much they already know and follow their lead. Discuss good hygiene practices. You can use everyday moments to reinforce the importance of things like regular and thorough handwashing. Make sure you are in a safe environment and allow your child to talk freely. Drawing, stories and other activities may help to open a discussion.

Take your time. 

Start with shorter learning sessions and make them progressively longer. If the goal is to have a 30- or 45-minute session, start with 10 minutes and build up from there.  Within a session, combine online or screen time with offline activities or exercises.

Protect children online. 

Digital platforms provide an opportunity for children to keep learning, take part in play and keep in touch with their friends. But increased access online brings heightened risks for children’s safety, protection, and privacy. Discuss the internet with your children so that they know how it works, what they need to be aware of and what appropriate behavior looks like on the platforms they use, such as video calls. Establish rules together about how, when and where the internet can be used.

Stay in touch with your children’s education facility.

Find out how to stay in touch with your children’s teacher or school to stay informed, ask questions and get more guidance.  Parent groups or community groups can also be a good way to support each other with your homeschooling.

UNICEF is sending supplies and support for the global coronavirus emergency. To learn how North Texas can support their efforts, you can donate here.

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