COVID-19 has changed the structure of life as we once knew it. One group of people who have experienced a great transition during this pandemic is parents. The transition to home schooling due to COVID-19 has been a challenge for many parents. In this blog, Bahamian moms share their experiences and provide tips for parents who likewise are playing the role of parent and teacher during quarantine.
“My 8-year-old son Ahmarri is a super energetic, very inquisitive, easily distracted, and greedy kid. So, I can only imagine what it was like in the classroom with his teacher. However, teaching my son has never been a task for me. We work very well together. We set our own time, our daily goals, and accomplish them. Teaching my son at home during the pandemic has shown me the importance of having patience with children. So, how am I dealing with teaching Ahmarri at home? The answer would be like a charm. I absolutely love it!
“Before I began receiving assignments from his 3rd-grade teacher, I used online platforms such as Cells Alive, ABCya, Cool Math, Make Me Genius, National Geographic Kids, Kids Read, Khan Academy, BBC History for Kids, and YouTube.”
“My advice from one mom to the next during this time is to have patience. A little patience can go a long way with children. Children want to know that it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s okay not to get it right all the time and they want to know that mommy or daddy understands that. This patience creates a stronger bond between you and your child. Reward your child(ren) for their hard work and efforts. Spend QUALITY TIME with your child. Just because you are home together every day does not mean that you’re spending QUALITY TIME with them.
Last but not least, TALK to your child. Learn about who they are from them. Learn more about their interest. Learn more about that little person that is looking up to you and would one day love to be like mommy or daddy. Use this time wisely to make up for all the time lost.”
“My kids have had consistent Zoom classes. They have homework and projects. It’s like school never closed.
My advice would be to designate 1 hour per day for 5 days per week. If they don’t have the ability to be apart of classes or Zoom school, use the grade syllabus and teach your child.”
“Learn with your child, don’t make it strict, long and drawn out, but ensure that your child actually learns something.”
“I have two boys (a 3 year old and a 10 year old) who are on different levels when it comes to learning and entertainment. For the kids to be able to continue the learning process from where they left off at school required so much more effort than just homework. Fortunately for my fourth grader, the school has provided a virtual learning process so he can zoom in one hour each day with his teacher. During the Zoom call, he is able to complete at least two subjects. In addition, they are given homework along with projects.
Having to work a 9-5, prepare meals, clean, wash dishes and allow play time for the kids can be taxing. Luckily, their dad assists with babysitting to ensure I have less disturbance.
My suggestion for parents is to try to stick to a daily schedule. Once the school work is done I allow free time. I try to be innovative with indoor games, riding their bikes, outdoor play, a movie, etc. Everyday they must have at least 20 minutes of reading.”
“I try to get up a little earlier than the kids to have my personal devotions, then again with them once they are up.”
“The adjustment to working from home has been a wonderful learning curve for me, I always knew that it was possible so this was my opportunity to put those thoughts into action. It may sound corny but I especially love that I get to get sweet hugs and kisses from our 9 year old son throughout the day and also have really impactful conversations with our now sweet 16 year old daughter (who turned 16 over one of the lockdown weekends). I went into overdrive for the first few weeks of working from home with lots of long hours and screen time and now I’m in a good groove, I’ve found a more positive harmony and I’m happy about that.
We have to be intentional about ensuring that our daughter takes breaks and doesn’t work too late. On the other hand, the challenge with our son is the exact opposite as he prefers to take more than enough breaks and we would like for him to be a bit more focused on the tasks at hand first and then focus on the breaks.”
“Remember: we’re really all in this together and our little people are having their own unique experience from missing their friends and their regular routine to missing graduation activities, car rides, grandparents, family outings, etc. – so extend grace (hugs, kisses & listening ears) to them liberally and take it one day at a time.”
“Most Moms have probably heard this a thousand times – well here it comes for the 1,001st time – have a meeting where you all share about the new setup and what the experience should look like, whatever your appropriate script or narrative is, age and other factors considered. Share it with them, get their opinion on what works best for them and their “learning where they live” experience and see how you can weave their ideas into the final plan. This gets their buy-in and cooperation. Structure, boundaries and flexibility are very important and must be employed for maximum effectiveness.”
“I’m not doing a lot. The schoolwork keeps my kids busy. After they finish their school work online, they have time to watch a movie or play games. Then they have Pathfinders on Sunday via Zoom now. Our cat had kittens so they like dealing with them. We keep the kids informed about what’s going on in the news about the virus.
I would advise parents to keep their kids busy to a point. Find chores and different activities for them to do throughout the day. There are some very interesting suggestions online. Teach them how to cook or sew.”
“You can also find arts and craft for them to do on sites like Pinterest.”
“Stick to a schedule (especially a morning routine). My son takes four online classes a day and during the first week, we both were extremely stressed and classes went till nearly bedtime. I figured out the problem though. We were doing Language Arts last, which has a heavier content and took more critical thinking. The next week, we switched. Once we got the essays out in the morning, the rest of the day would be a breeze. That being said, switch subjects up for how they work best for you and your child.
My kids share a computer and we both shared the same space in week one. It looks cute, but I learnt quickly that it was another bad idea. Keeping the kids separate for their lessons, lessens the distraction they can be to one another. To keep kids occupied, screen time (whether device or tv) is a reward for completion of work. This is also the time you as a parent can take a break.
My advice to moms is to do what you can and, when you can’t, just take a break.”
“Your emotional and physical well-being are important. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. This time is new and unusual for everyone and people just want you to adjust. It doesn’t work that way, so simply take it all one day at a time.”
Transitioning to homeschooling kids is no small feat but you’re not alone in this new journey. Moms and dads, if no one has told you yet, you’re doing an amazing job with your children!
What has been working for you and your child/children during quarantine?
What suggestions do you have for parents transitioning to homeschooling their children?
Let us know in the comments!