Teacher Seth’s Advice for Homeschooling

BGL’s Teacher Seth recently contributed to a video series curated by Learning Success on the topic of how to teach from home. Tips include creating a schedule and connecting students socially.

Check out the full video here:

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Need a break in the afternoon? Book our free interactive Virtual Field Trips

So… as we start our third month of lockdown, how’s this whole homeschooling experiment going for you?

We feel you.

Remember when love of learning was a thing? One thing the pandemic is teaching us is how much that love depends on our ability to use what we learn to connect with others. We are social animals and the purpose of so much learning is to enhance our sense of belonging.

Did you know that Sabine loves Mae Jemison, too? Esther and I are both learning cursive now – watch! Elliot has a great trick for doing 3-digit addition, let me show you!

It is in this light that BGL is offering a round of free, interactive virtual field trips called Field Trips LIVE. We want to provide collective, live learning experiences that connect students with people and places they don’t currently have access to (which, right now, is almost everyone and everything). Although we love our locations and topics, the goal here is to create the kind of synchronous learning opportunity that promotes connection and, therefore, love of learning.

Join us! They’re free (for now).

Click to book these FREE Field Trips LIVE:

1. Outdoor School: Coastal Habitats
    Thu May 21 @2pm PT / 5pm ET

2. Outdoor School: Freshwater Pond Habitats
    Thu May 28 @1pm PT / 4pm ET

3. Taiwan Night Market
    Thu June 4 @7am PT / 10am ET <– b/c time zones

4. Pacific Puppetry: The Bird that Wants to Fly
    Thu June 11 @3pm PT / 6pm ET

Interactive participation is conducted via text-based chat within Zoom. Messages are seen by presenters only and read aloud to the group when appropriate.

For a sample of what our FTLs looked like before the world shut down (with live, school-based video participants), check out this teaser for Mexico City vs. Los Angeles:

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How to Create Your Child’s Flexible Learn-From-Home Schedule

Kids crave routine. They get it at school and (for most kids) it works. Adults, on the other hand, suddenly find themselves working from home with their kids as their sometimes-bubbly, sometimes-bored office mates. These parents need flexibility.

How to merge these needs into a daily schedule that works for everyone?

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Below is a strategy that worked for Seth, BGL’s founder, as he joined millions of people this week by unexpectedly doubling up on his day job to become a barely-there homeschool teacher. He followed this strategy with his first-grade daughter and it’s worked really well so far.

All of these steps should be completed with (or by) your child.

Step 1: Brainstorm all the things your child might want to do during the “school day.” We suggest listing things within categories: social calls, family contact, meals, projects, physical activity, written work, art and music, reading, math, virtual field trips, unstructured playtime, direct instruction from an adult, and, inevitably, screen time. It’s ok if some things are listed in more than one category.

Step 2: Create a bank of all your brainstormed activities. It should live in the same place you will write the schedule. Keep it organized by category. Tag activities for which they can be independent versus ones for which they might need help.

Step 3: Choose your medium. Will this be virtual schedule? Piece of paper? We suggest a white board for easy erasing with the activities bank printed out on paper and attached to the board.

Step 4: Choose your time increments. For younger kids try shorter time increments; for older kids try longer ones. Limit it to “school time” (really, your work time) – the rest of the day can be open. Let’s not get too crazy here!

Step 5: Begin to make the schedule: cross-reference your work schedule and identify times when you will be less available to support them. Drop items tagged as “independent” into those time slots.

Step 6:  Next, drop in fixed appointments such as lunch, their daily call with grandma and their (now virtual) piano lesson.

Step 6a: If you have more than one kid, drop in activities that will be done in tandem leaving the rest of the remaining time slots open.

Step 7: Finally, give them full control over the rest of the schedule. Teach them how to consult the bank of activities and drop them into the schedule at logical times. Encourage choosing at least one item from each category and adding items to the bank. Consider double blocks for activities that might require more sustained attention. Revisit the parameters often, feel free to switch things around day-of and solicit their feedback. To reduce stress, do this on the weekend for the whole week or the night before each day. Be flexible!

We hope you find this helpful! Check out our other recent blog posts aimed at supporting this brand new crop of teachers formerly known as parents.

And, sign up for our email list! We’ll send you emails with free stuff, helpful tips and learning success stories

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