I’m not satisfied with my child’s distance (aka remote) learning curriculum, but I’m not sure what to do. Where do I begin?
As a parent, you have two main options: homeschooling and distance learning supplementation.
What is the difference between homeschooling and distance learning?
First, let’s get clear on the definitions: homeschooling and distance learning are different. In distance learning, you follow a curriculum designed by your child’s teacher, school, and state education department. The school will determine the criteria to evaluate your child’s performance and whether they can advance to the next grade level.
In homeschool, YOU create the curriculum. You could buy one curriculum from a homeschool company but most families pick and choose from different materials and books based on the child’s needs. You are responsible for keeping track of the records and reporting it to the school board at the end of the year so your child can advance to the next grade.
With distance learning, your child’s teacher should send an outline for your child’s grade. You can also probably find this information on the school’s district website. Another search option would be to check your school’s website by grade level. The goal is to figure out what topics will be covered in the coming school year. I personally would take this one step further by looking at the previous grade level as well. With this approach, you will have a better understanding of what your child knows and the subjects where they may need more attention. This is where you want to start when supplementing lessons for your kids. Once they master the concepts from the previous year, you can move onto the current year.
The objective for supplementation is not to augment each and every subject in the distance learning curriculum. I would instead focus on one or two topics that they are behind in and go from there. This is because distance learning can be challenging if the child lacks the requisite foundation in a core subject or your child’s learning style does not lend itself to distance learning (visual, auditory, or a kinesthetic learner). For example, if they need help in math, just focus on math. Use computer games, workbooks, and hands on accessories to help them grasp the concept. Distance learning will cover all the core subjects for your child’s grade level. You do not have to teach them every subject; the distance learning curriculum will do that for you.
How to supplement your child’s emotional growth
Socialization is a key part of a child’s life, and especially so with either homeschooling or distance learning. Kids need it to grow emotionally mature. There are many ways to go about this but here are a few options to go about this safely:
Create a Zoom pod.
If you have health concerns, this is a great way to get some socialization on a consistent basis. You could do this on a weekly basis, say, every Friday morning. It could be led by one parent or multiple parents taking turn teaching different subjects each week.
Create your own micro pod.
If you have less concerns about health and you are not high-risk, this could be a great option for your kid(s). You can meet at a green space, tell the kids to wear masks and clean everyone’s hands before you let them run around.
You can also have outdoor lessons led by the parents (or a hired tutor that the group chips in for). This works best if all the kids are in the same grade and possibly even the same school so that you will be on target to hit the grade’s milestones. Try to hold the lesson outside and remain socially distanced with masks.
Create your own playdate workshops.
This is something that I just started doing. I’ll create an activity for one or two other kids and I’ll take my child to someone’s driveway. I act as the instructor and give the directions for the lesson. Then, the kids will go through the activity. I really like creating my own topics but I also like using pre-made art kits as well. (Check out Art Camp LA boxes) We wear masks and the kids enjoy doing the activity or writing their answers in chalk on the driveway.
Be creative and be flexible. Allow yourself the grace to change at any point if something isn’t working for you or your family.
Where to get started supplementing
I’ve got your back! I created an amazing resource list on Google Sheets. (It’s on a Google Doc interactive PDF download). It’s broken down by age and then subject so it’s easy to search, especially if you have multiple kids. Please join the mailing list because I will continue to add to this list every month as I discover new online resources and send it out to my mailing list periodically.