Home schooling groups provide tips for distance learning

Local News

Olivia Bucks, left, helps her son Keith Bucks, center, with an online class assignment while Ashton Morris, right, works on a handwriting lesson from their first grade class at Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School in Beaverton, Ore. Bucks works from home selling books online and now spends her time between working on her business and helping her sons with their school work. They are using her work laptop to access their classroom assignments. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

LUBBOCK, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott announced Texas schools would remain closed until May 4, and Lubbock school districts have already started distant learning, utilizing online resources. For many parents and students, this is a new experience.

Tim Lambert, The Texas Home School Coalition President and CEO, said many parents have already expressed their concerns about the transition.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from parents in these situations…we call them sudden home schoolers, that weren’t planning to do this, but now they are,” Lambert said.

Lambert has plenty of experience with homeschooling. His kids, and now grandkids are home-schooled.

“A lot of kids are asking questions about what is going on, ‘why are we doing this?’ And it’s an opportunity for you as a parent, to sit down with your kids and spend some time together,” Lambert said.

Lambert suggests parents relax.

“You can spend time reading with them, doing some different work together–it really will seem like play to them,” Lambert said.

For parents with children in different grade levels, Lambert suggests doing activities they can all participate in, and branch off with different assignments. It also helps to have a routine, and although students are in class for close to eight hours, parents don’t have to teach their kids for that long.

“When you’re done with that work, you’re done. You can do something else,” Lambert said.

The coalition is also providing help. They have created a Facebook group with home school veterans and ideas to help children stay engaged. Additionally, they have created a website, complete with free resources.

“There are daily lesson plans and help for people,” Lambert said. The home curriculum can be accessed at coronavirushomeschooling.com

Jenifer Davidson, director of GraceLubbock Homeschool Group, a co-op with approximately 400 students, is a mother of six and has been homeschooling for 16 years. She also provided some tips:

  • Change your mentality. Two weeks ago you weren’t a teacher, but now you’ve been thrown into the role for some unbeknownst time. See it as a goal to reach or become, instead of a burden and something “I just can’t do.”
  • Don’t beat yourself up, you don’t know or understand the concept. Try to learn it. If you can’t learn it, ask for help from someone you know who is good in that area.  Technology can be your friend in this regard. You will be surprised how much education you are getting yourself when you school your kids.
  • Think out of the box.  No one ever said learning can’t be outside of the 4 walls of the schoolhouse. If it’s time for a spelling test, get some sidewalk chalk, go outside and give the test in the sunlight. Take a pic of it and turn it in to teacher. If you are working on fractions, bake a cake together to get the concept. Be creative in your teaching. It doesn’t have to be at a desk for 7 hours.
  • Now is your chance to teach to mastery. All kids in the classroom learn at different levels and paces, but this is the chance you have to take a little extra time on concepts your student isn’t getting, or likewise, speed up and move on if he/she has a concept nailed down.
  • Give some grace. Not only to your student, but yourself. Everyone is missing their routine, friends and normal surroundings.
  • Enjoy the journey. This isn’t what you are used to. Look for the little things that you don’t get yo be a part of everyday.
  • Finally, if you’re frustrated, take a break. Walk away for a bit and get a new perspective on how you can teach the concept, especially if you or the child aren’t getting it. If your student doesn’t ‘get it’ in a day, it’s not the end all. It will happen eventually!

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