Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, parents have needed to find new ways to continue their children’s remote learning success while, in many cases, working themselves and managing the responsibilities of their families. As anyone can imagine, this has been no small task.
Yet, despite the challenges, the parents and families of Classical Charter Schools continue to prevail, working in and around the South Bronx community as essential workers keeping our hospitals running, our transit in operation, and our groceries open, all while making sure their scholars are dialed into Zoom lessons on time and with the supplies they need.
So, we asked them, “What are your keys to success?” “How do you manage all of these responsibilities while still taking care of yourself?”
Below are a few of the tips they shared: tips that can be helpful to any parent, in any community, faced with the same daunting responsibilities.
Movement provides a variety of benefits. It can help kids release energy, making it easier for them to concentrate throughout the day. For children who struggle to maintain focus, it can also act as an energy boost to get them through those afternoon slumps. Develop a fitness routine with your children that encourages movement in the morning before class and mid-day when energy levels naturally dip. Dedicate an area of your home to exercise and fitness. It can be a small corner with a mat or carpet for stretching & dancing, or even a long hallway that encourages linear movement. Anything will work. Getting creative with how to fit exercise into a small space can be a fun activity in itself!
Stay in touch with teachers
Own communication with your child’s teacher. If you have a question or concern, do not wait for the teacher to reach out to you. They, like you, are managing a lot. Make sure to get teachers’ contact information and confirm with them the best way to get in touch. Then, maintain consistent communication. Build a rapport by checking in even when nothing is wrong. Provide updates about how your child is doing outside of class emotionally and with their schoolwork. This additional context can make it easier for teachers to support your child in the way that works best for them. Use these unusual times to build strong relationships with your child’s teachers that will provide benefits long after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
Give your child the tools to take ownership
Work with your child to create a class schedule that is visually appealing and clear. Then, post the schedule somewhere prominent in your home. Use the evening before each day to review the schedule with your child and help them prepare their materials in advance. Include regular breakfast, lunch and snacks in the schedule so that you and your child develop a comforting routine. Communicate to your child that it is their responsibility to check the schedule and dial into their class at the right time. And, provide your child with positive feedback when they do manage their own responsibilities or make growth in this area. Many children are figuring out this level of independence for the very first time. Talk to your child about what this experience can teach them. This is an example of how, with a little organization and responsibility, they can overcome incredible challenges.
If your child is old enough, teach them how to login to Zoom on their own and have them write down the steps so they have a resource they can refer to in the future. If you have multiple devices, let your child decide which one they want to use consistently and work with them to design a workspace of their own creation. Creating these resources and guiding your child through making their own decisions helps them take ownership and motivates them to develop responsibility. It also takes the stress off you for making sure all your children are in the right class at the right time.
Use your mobile device to keep track of the class schedule
Set alarms on your phone that go off 5 minutes before each class throughout the day. That way, you don’t have to constantly check the time. Your phone will remind you when it’s time for your scholar to dial in to their next session.
Create a workspace away from the TV
If the TV is on, it’s a distraction. Even if your child is working with their back to the TV, the tendency to watch can tax their self-control unnecessarily. TV commercials are designed to capture our attention. Don’t put your child in a position to have to fight through that temptation all day. If finding a quiet room without a TV isn’t an option, then try other creative solutions like having family members who are watching TV throughout the day lower the volume, mute the commercials, or watch TV on a mobile device with their headphones. Or, as a family, decide on a consistent time slot of 2-3 hours throughout the day that is 100% TV free. This is a great time for other members of the household to engage in activities while your child uses that time to focus on their homework, distraction free.
These are just a few of the many ways families are navigating the stress of these uncertain times. There are many other options! For more tips and strategies on how to support your scholar at home, follow us on social media where we post helpful articles and resources on a weekly basis. And, on behalf of all the families at Classical Charter Schools, stay safe, stay well, and stay in touch!
This post was contributed by families of Classical Charter Schools. As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.