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Due to COVID-19 shutdowns, many of you are now finding yourselves learning about the intricacies of homeschooling−both the good and the bad (though we hope not too much of the ugly). And while I don’t presume to count myself as an expert on the subject matter, I do know of a few individuals that are: teachers.

Mom

We recently published a short series in which teachers across different disciplines and different school boards shared stories of using TextNow to stay connected with students and parents while distance learning. It’s been humbling to hear stories of how something as simple as a free phone number has led to more assignments being turned in, better engagement, and a sense of relief from parents who were struggling to understand all the moving parts without some form of real-time communication. We went back to those teachers to ask them for their recommendations on remote learning for parents, so that we can pass on the help to you:

Joanna Stewart, high school English teacher from Van, Texas:

1. Try to keep a schedule / to-do list for each day. Students may want to sleep all day, but they will also say that they feel better when they have been productive and can look back at the end of the day at all the things they got done.

2. Don’t feel obligated to the optional. Teachers may send a lot of links & apps to extend learning, but it can quickly become overwhelming. Do the schoolwork, and if there is time and interest, move ahead.

3. Give grace. To students, teachers, and yourselves. Other parents’ social media may show color-coded schedules, fun crafts & activities, etc. YOU are the expert for what works for you & your kids. My kids do best when I just send them outside to make their own fun, which is better than any entertainment that I could contrive.

Mrs. Malsbury, middle school teacher from Virginia:

As a secondary teacher, my suggestions would be primarily for the older kids that can/should be working more independently but still need help with accountability.

1. Sit down with your child and create a schoolwork to-do list for the day. Make a list of assignments that need to get accomplished that day. At the end of the “school” day, check your child’s work by reviewing the to-do list and cross things off together. If anything remains on the list, those should the next day’s top priority.

2. Get the whole family reading and writing. Read a book as a family for 30 minutes each evening. Have everyone spend 15–20 minutes writing in a journal. Talk about what your family is reading and writing over dinner. The more we keep our children reading and writing will improve our chances of preventing them from falling behind during this difficult time.

Ms. McIntyre, homeschool teacher from Ontario:

1. All kids learn differently and on different timelines. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. Be as prepared as possible. You will lose them if you are searching around for what to do.

2. You also need to be flexible. Sometimes things won’t go as planned and sometimes the best learning opportunities happen when you are off plan.

So there you have it. Some homeschooling tips straight from the people who know school the best - teachers! Do you have tips you’ve learned from your new found role of teacher at home? Feel free to share in the comments.

We also want to show extra support for Moms pulling double duty these days. Head over to our Instagram page to enter our Mother’s Day giveaway for a $250 Instacart™️ gift card, a free phone, and a year’s worth of data service to help her stay connected. Contest closes at 3pm on May 8th, 2020.

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