Education at Home: 8 Tips for Success as a "Reluctant Homeschool Administrator" During Covid-19
Are you a "Reluctant Homeschool Administrator"?
The new "shelter in place" paradigm is hard on everyone – especially children. Routines have been completely disrupted; discipline and social structure turned upside down; uncertainty looms and so many questions remain unanswered.
Distance learning sounds like a great solution, but it's not easy and fraught with a lack of accountability. Everyone's hoping it will work, but thoughts keep returning of a school year ending with zero or negative outcomes for a large number of children and families...
Even with successful distance learning – who knew you'd essentially be reduced to homeschooling your kids and on the front line as the primary responsible adult for accountability of outcomes. You are now... a "Reluctant Homeschool Administrator."
Have faith: The greatest opportunities are born out of adversity. You and your kids can wind up far, far ahead on the other side of this. You just need a bit of hope and the start of a plan. Once you get things moving, there will be progress and a feeling of purpose. Once things get moving, you can adjust and optimize. Things will get better quickly instead of those current feelings that collapse is imminent.
These 8 Tips will help you get started towards a better outcome as a "Reluctant Homeschool Administrator" ...
- You're Now the New "First Year" Teacher
Being a first time teacher is hard – you have no experience on which to fall back. But millions of educators have walked that path and so can you as the "Reluctant Homeschool Administrator." Get started with taking a quick look at our Annual Teacher Resource page, our Help for New Teachers page, and a blog we did about How Not to Burn Out as a First Year Teacher.
- Pacing Charts – Know Where Your Kids need to be
Local school systems provide differing levels of transparency in terms of "pacing;" i.e., what learning objectives are the focus of classes at any point during the year. Perhaps try googling "pacing chart" and your school system's name. Shelby County schools (where I4C is headquartered) is very transparent, providing course by course outlines and weekly learning objectives. If your school system doesn't provide this level of transparency, just follow Shelby County's (or the school system of your choice). That's far better than having nothing.
- Kids Love Apps – Put that Positive Energy to Work
Kids love to explore all the features and "bells and whistles" of apps that they love. At I4C we've been cronicalling one every month since 2012 - here's a list. That's a treasure trove of free apps to explore for days if not weeks! Pick some apps to explore, or have your children pick some apps. Then send them off to get as much as possible from an app until it has no more left to give! They can report progress in casual conversation during the day, or at breaks or mealtime.
- Plan Virtual Field Trips – Lots of Them!
Over the past 20 years, we've developed quite a list of virtual field trips, field trip ideas and field trip apps. Here is a list of collections of Virtual Field Trips and some introduction material on Virtual Field Trips. In July 2019 we profiled Expeditions by Google which is a phenominal virtual field trip app. In August 2019 we profiled Google Street View, another fine app for virtual field trips. In January of this year we profile DailyArt which is like visiting an art museum daily to see the highlighted artwork of the day.
- Everyday Life is Full of Teachable Moments
Cooking dinner, growing a garden, chores around the house. Teach whatever you're doing. Use the Socratic method (teaching by asking questions) to develop a much deeper understanding and encourage critical thinking. We have a page on Family and Consumer Science, as well as a page All About Money, plus pages on Resources for Technical Career Classes and even Automotive Technology.
- You can Learn Anything with YouTube, so make a Grand Plan
We are being asked to stay at home and sit on the couch, but does that mean rewatching the same movies over and over, or binging on more and more episodes of this or that? I think not! Ask everyone at home what new skill, hobby or new knowledge they'd like to learn and then make a list. Search for those topics on YouTube, try out some channels and build subscription lists. Keep the lists and interests evolving as you move from topic to topic. In no time you'll be learning new things - like how to raise potatoes in a container, and not just raising a family of couch potatoes!
- Everything can be a Competition – Even Practicing Math and Vocab
There is something to be said for keeping skills up with repetitive practice as well as working to expand your vocabulary. So many sites offer that for free or a low fee over the web. I4C has several options: Grade level online math quizzes and tens of thousands of Printable math worksheets are available free of charge. You can expand your vocabulary with our Free SAT/ACT vocab quizzes which track daily process over a year working on 13-14 words per day to cover over 5000 words for the year. The math problems are geared toward college placement exams, but the vocabulary building is worthwhile for upper elementary, middle as well as high school. Sign up for a Free Account.
- You can get anything at Walmart. Same with Educational Tips at I4C
One of my favorite reviews of the I4C website was when we were called a virtual "Walmart for Teachers" in terms of all the free information provided to cover any need. Nothing fancy, just information on about everything for education whenever the need for it arises. Start with our Home Page and use the top nav and left nav options. Also: Dont forget about the Site Search box in the upper right and bottom of each page - that can find a ton of detail. Try the Site Map for a quick topical index. And you can email our founders by clicking the email link near the bottom of each page.
Bill Franklin, the CEO of Internet4Classrooms, is our guest blogger this month. He has been on the faculty at The George Washington University, has years of platform instructional experience, was a career Army Special Operations officer and also has over a decade of experience as a youth sports coach.