With the recent current events surrounding COVID-19, schools across the United States have closed and transitioned to online learning. The closures are an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, but they have created challenges for local educators, most of whom are working exclusively online for the first time. This has all happened on very short notice and there have been a lot of complications, from laptop and internet access, to mental health, and financial needs. During this stressful time, minor complications can feel a lot more overwhelming. With this abrupt transition come many concerns about how your child will adapt to an online learning environment. This concern is especially concerning to families with children who have learning disabilities or special needs. One main question a lot of parents are asking is: will my child still be able to learn and keep up with school using online classes? The answer is yes and these concerns are why some experts are telling teachers to be as simplified and as encouraging as possible.
Use of Zoom and Other Applications
Many teachers are moving to an online teaching platform including using the Zoom application to live stream classes, using YouTube to pre-record classes and activities for the students to watch and participate in at home, or using an at home daily schedule sent out via email. Some teachers have even thrown out the possibility of teaching via television. One teacher chronicled her first session with her kindergarten class saying “the short class was not seamless. [I] was on mute at the beginning without realizing it, kids inevitably talked over each other, and at one point the entire white board got erased. But parents, who’ve been ordered to stay at home with their kids to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, were clearly grateful for the activity.” Teachers have been recommending that parents create a structured schedule for kids to stay on track with their learning. Wake them up at the same time each day, set a time block each day for the online schooling your teachers are providing, fit in break times, creative time, outdoor time, and TV time. Write it out and post it on your fridge so that your children can clearly read and look at it for guidance. These simple steps will help make the transition easy for your child and get them into a routine similar to one they would have at school. Online school will be an abrupt transition for your kids, and there may be some hiccups along the way, but rest assured, children are very adaptable and will still be able to learn along the way and finish the school year.
5 Great Activities for Children
You may also want to do activities outside of online school to keep your child’s brain stimulated. Here is a list of 5 suggested activities from blogger Jillian Harris:
- Go for a daily walk. Not only is this a great way to kick off your day but it feels nice to get some fresh air and feel the sunshine on your face!
- Make playdough. Jillian recommends the following recipe in which your kids can help:
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 cups of water
- 2/3 cups of salt
- 4 teaspoons of cream of tarter
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- Food coloring
- 1 teaspoon glycerin (optional) (this makes it a little bit softer and more bendy)
- Mix all of the ingredients into a small pot except for the glycerin and food coloring. Turn your stove onto medium heat. The playdough will start to cook quickly. The process can take anywhere from 1-3 minutes. Keep stirring the mixture with a big wooden spoon and prevent it from cooking. Frequently scrape the bottom of the pot so the dough doesn’t stick. The dough will start to solidify quickly. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes a solid ball of dough. Dump the ball of dough onto the counter and let it sit for 2 mins. Once it has cooled, knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Make a small hole in the middle of the dough, add in thee glycerin, and knead it in. Roll the dough into a log and cut it in equal sections. Add the food coloring to each section of the dough. Store the dough in a Tupperware container at room temperature and it will last up to 3 months! (Recipe taken from Jillianharris.com)
- Have fun!
- Make greeting cards for loved ones. This is a fun activity to connect with the important people in your life that will also require your kids to be creative and practice writing!
- Set up an obstacle course. With your kids being at home all day, they will inevitably have a lot of energy to burn. Build them an obstacle course inside that will challenge their agility (and hopefully tire them out)!
- Plan a scavenger hunt. This is a great way to occupy your kids for a long period of time and you make it as difficult or as easy as needed!
Transitioning to Online Learning
Activities like these can be very motivating and enjoyable for children. It is a good way to keep your child’s brain stimulated and away from TV/computer screens while they are having to do school online from home. Children staying home from school and transitioning to online learning is uncharted territory for everyone, so patience will be a necessary virtue. But for the safety of everyone young and old, this is what has become necessary, and we will get through the uncertainty together.
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