SCHOOL FROM HOME

By Nurseli Tamer.


In the future, when we look back at these years, we will see that our lives are divided as before and after Corona. The novel coronavirus pandemic is a turning point. Perhaps the most important lesson we are learning is that we are a part of a bigger picture: the impacts of the pandemic are being felt throughout the world, despite the differences among nations and geographies. Regardless of our age, our lives are limited to our homes. We are actively working on setting up home offices, home schools, and spending more time with our households. We may be physically isolated, yet we are so deeply connected.


This is a time for us to take a step back, look deeper into ourselves and start again based on new, but enforced conditions. We should see the self-inside and discover the forgotten features which were left aside during our active busy lives.


The everyday challenges of not being able to spend time with kids, wasting time in traffic, or having no time to take care of those home projects we’ve been talking about forever, are no longer excuses. We have the time and can manage it however we want based on job, family, and self needs. Time management is now our job. No rush. Step back, see, and feel.


Some countries started offering school from home – not to be mistaken with homeschooling. The curriculum is followed on cable TV, or on various online platforms and video call providers. That means the hassle of the morning routine, like packing the bag, catching the bus, and beating the traffic, are no longer our concern, because the school is at home.


However, we need to recognize that this is an all new learning process for everyone involved: students, teachers, and parents. In this new era, the usual sayings of, “Let go of the tablet, go study” or “Enough time spent on your phone” are gone with the wind. Kids will not be using technology only for socializing anymore. Regardless of age, kids will continue to need technology to study and attend school.


This new normal is challenging for teachers as well. The traditional classroom has the teacher present, they answer a question immediately and see the sparkle in students’ eyes. They have the full management of the class whereas now they are behind the screen. Teachers across the world are working to find new ways to connect with students, albeit behind screens, and are transferring their enthusiasm and goodwill to their students.


Students, on the other hand, have several differentiations which may be easy to handle in traditional classes, but may need to be approached differently behind the screen. One of the important points may be that tech skills may differ, which may result in unexpected outcomes on online lessons/tests. As an example, when a question is asked it depends on their tech skill to answer and/or write back to the teacher in a timely manner.


So, how can you help your child to succeed in online school?


1. Set up a new daily routine

If you haven't done so already, have a meeting with all of the members of your household. Think through the work that needs to be done around the home, for school, and for remote work. If you have received information/suggestions from the school, review the program at home.


Adjust old routines. Set up wake-up times, just like in the past, have breakfast, and pay extra attention to the personal care and hygiene of your kids. After the first few days, take some time to gather together and reflect on how the new schedules have been working for everyone. Use this time to get feedback and give generous affirmations.


2. Make your expectations clear

Plan on being at home for an extended period of time. Continuously discuss educational needs and keep an eye on the division of responsibilities. That is, who brings the pens, who gets the print outs/textbooks, who sets the dinner table, and such. If you have a kid applying for college, try not to give up on any plans. Keep in mind that this is only temporary and focus on adjusting your plans and goals instead of wiping them out altogether.


If you have multiple children, make sure each kid has responsibilities appropriate for their age and EQ. Education is still by the school, but it will only succeed with your support.


3. Be a mentor

Young students especially need support and clear guidelines under this new school system. Much of the information should be provided by the schools, yet you will play a key role as a mentor during this process. Although you don’t have to sit down and do homework, there is much to be done to ease the transition process. Provide opportunities for children to work together, share by organizing online peer and friend groups - whatever your children used to do with their friends in person, have them do it online. Make a point to use age-appropriate tools and monitor their actions as appropriate.


The school might be coming home, but that shouldn’t make you feel like it’s up to you to be the teacher. Your responsibility is having the tech and other tools of schooling up and ready and working.


4. Watch your child closely

Communication is more important than ever, so be careful. Start chatting from an early age about the time spent on the Internet. Start a conversation by talking about a movie you watched, the program, the book you read online and/or listen to. Share examples without imposing. Manage the time you spend on your social media too. Be a role model.


With the increasing use of social media, there is a clear abundance of information out there – identify what matters and try to prevent yourself from getting caught in misinformation. Since our kids are spending more time on their screens, we may expect an influx of cyberbullying. Understand that bullying of all forms are unacceptable – have a conversation with your children around how to navigate these scenarios, how they can protect themselves, and collect evidence if need be. Should there be extracurricular online activities, have the communication on and keep an eye on your children.


5. Stay positive


6. Be constructive.

Remind yourself that we are all learning, and may be anxious, uneasy, and irritated. Keep in mind that the same feelings are experienced not only in our school community, but by our neighbors, our country, and a considerable part of the world. Find support.


Make time to connect with other parents over cup of coffee or tea on a video call. Just like you used to in-person, feel free to plan meetings with teachers to discuss the development of your child. You can visit teachers without worrying about traffic!


7. Exercise at home

We know that physical activity promotes positive thinking and cognitive growth.


Find programs or routines that you like for exercise, meditation, yoga or any other activity you can do with your child.


Although we might remember the times of the pandemic as one of social distancing and isolation, make it a point to think about how connected we actually are and to focus on harnessing empathy and positivity in the face of uncertainty.


A few silver linings:

Boccaccio lived in the era of plague in the fourteenth century and wrote his masterpiece The Decameron while in quarantine.

When theaters closed because of the plague in the sixteenth century, Shakespeare wrote King Lear, Macbeth and Anthony & Cleopatra while in quarantine that year.

Young Isaac Newton isolated himself from a disease in England and continued his work which is now regarded as the foundations of pre-calculus and gravitational theories.

Edward Munch, the artist behind the famous painting The Scream, continued his work in quarantine during the Spanish flu epidemic.


And who knows, we might find ourselves looking at the new, even better, successors of Shakespeare, Boccaccio, Newton and Munch, and so many others within the next few years.


You can read more from the following sources:

Common Sense Media

Cyberbullying.org


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