We are living in some unique and challenging times. The novel COVID-19 has hit land across the world. We are feeling its undeniable effects in the U.S. Most states have adopted the “stay at home” approach to try to flatten the curve of the contagion. This has driven students across the country home.
Enter the brave new world of e-learning.
The E-Learning Option
Many have stated that “now everyone is a homeschooler.” But homeschooling and e-learning at home are a bit different. E-Learning has been adapted as a mode of survival, and not a conscious choice. Perhaps, as some go through e-learning at home, they could discover that homeschooling may indeed be a future path that they would like to take.
But let’s be honest, many are embarking on e-learning because they have no other options. Many schools have shut down for the next upcoming month or for the rest of the school year.
As one begins this journey, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Here’s a top ten list of items that may prove helpful in navigating the upcoming days in this brave new world of e-learning.
School, but Not School
10. Create an environment in the home where children feel safe and secure. It is important to consider where your child is developmentally and emotionally as you navigate e-learning. In this brave new world, be aware of the news and other media outlets that are broadcasting in the home. Some children can find this distressing.
9. Do not try to recreate the school environment at home. As you know, this time is causing an enormous transition for many. You will create your own rhythms that are in line with the personality of your family. The adjustments you make will fit your family better.
8. Build breaks into the day. E-learning can require long hours in front of the monitor. Some children will find staring at a screen for long hours difficult. Some may even experience headaches from the glare of the monitor. Make sure you plan breaks. There are even helpful glasses or screen covers that will help reduce eye strain.
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Manage Time Wisely
7. Create a daily schedule. Have a centralized calendar in which you can place everyone’s daily schedule showing e-learning times and your work/meeting times. This will help everyone know the times when each member is available, when meetings are taking place, or when you will be inaccessible except in extreme emergency. Also, delineate household chores and responsibilities. There is a tendency to graze and peer into the refrigerator quite frequently. Plan mealtimes.
6. Establish a daily routine. Routine is important. Routines provide a framework, a comfort and predictability in a chaotic world. Keeping bedtimes, morning routine and meal-times consistent will help in normalizing life as you navigate this brave new world.
Be Sure to Play
5. Get outside. Play and exercise. Cabin fever may already be developing. We all need Vitamin D. As the weather begins to warm up, step outside. Go for walks and bike rides. We need to take care of our minds, body and spirit. But please make sure you are following social distancing guidelines.
4. Schedule entertainment screen time. Computer gaming can be fun. However, it’s important to establish clear guidelines about when it is permitted in the home. Most importantly, electronic devices should be kept out of the bedroom during bedtime. These devices can disrupt or interfere with healthy sleep patterns.
3. Learning can be fun. Tap into the curiosities of your students during this time. For example, ask them if they could learn about anything… what would it be? Think outside the box as you navigate e-learning. Then, utilize resources like the Internet, educational programming or order a science kit that may engage your student in new ways. Connect with your child’s teacher if additional resources are desired.
Treat Family and Yourself Well
2. Engage in quality time. Although we are all home, during this time of e-learning, we will begin to fall into a certain rhythm in these days. Plan intentional time in the day to actually be together. Talk together, play games or find a hobby you can enjoy together. And lastly…
1. Be kind to yourself. You’ve got this. Most of all, there is no “best” way to do this. There will be days that are harder than others. Give yourself grace. If you or your student needs a break, then take one.
Learning Styles Change, God Stays the Same
As I wake up each morning, I hear the birds chirping and see the buds begin to bloom on the trees. It gives me great comfort to reflect that our God is the same today as He was in the past. As my family “stays at home” in this brave new world of e-learning, true life is not the same right now as it was 3 weeks ago.
I am enjoying the special time of having everyone home. I lean on Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
If you are considering homeschool for your child, take a look at some options available for homeschool conventions and curricula on Focus on the Family’s website.