I know our teachers and our parents are working tirelessly to meet the needs of our students to the best of their ability. I encourage you to try to honor as best as you can what the teacher is asking your child to do. If the workload feels like too much for your child and your home situation, communicate with us. We can help.
For families concerned that their children are missing out on academic content, remember that at a time like this, less is more. I encourage you to broaden your definition of learning. Think about how to help your children continue to develop skills. Critical skills for kids of all grade levels include reading, problem solving, and communication, as well as social-emotional skills like resilience, collaboration, flexibility, and positive coping. Use this time at home to support these skills along with prioritizing students’ well-being and engagement with learning.
Setting schedules and daily routines can be extremely helpful in providing a quality learning environment.
Below is a sample student schedule that could be used (or modified) to help your children get the most out of each day. Also, a few key reminders for students and parents alike:
- Stay Active! Try to move around throughout the day, and schedule time for daily exercise!
- Stay Rested! Set expectations for bedtime that encourage a full night’s sleep!
- Stay Connected! Check email, Canvas, and the BMS website to keep up with assignments, activities, and opportunities to connect with teachers and other students through online learning.
The following is a sample schedule, and could be modified for your needs. Also note the suggestions for “Personal Projects” – encourage students to spend time each day learning something new and/or using that creative part of their brain!
Click here for a Google Doc version of this schedule: Sample Student Daily Schedule
7:00 – 8:00
Wake up. Breakfast. Morning Chores.
8:00 – 9:00
9:00 – 10:00
Check email, Use the Canvas Calendar to create a list of Classwork/Homework. Organize assignments.
10:00 – 10:15
Break! Stretch. Drink some water. J
10:15 – 12:00
Work on Assignments.
12:00 – 1:00
Lunch and lunch cleanup. Break.
1:00 – 2:00
Exercise! Go Outside!
2:00 – 3:00
Finish Assignments. Email questions to teachers. Read (try to read 30-60 minutes a day)!
3:00 – 5:00
Free Time! Consider working on a Personal Project – See some ideas below.
5:00 – 6:00
Dinner Chores (Cook, Set the Table, etc)
6:00 – 7:00
Eat Dinner (No tech at dinner! Share what you learned today!)
7:00 – 8:00
8:00 – 10:00
Go to Bed! (No tech in the bedroom!)
As a family, discuss and agree to a routine that might include the following:
- Reading for Pleasure– Time spent reading is strongly linked to academic achievement. For kids of all ages, this is one of the best “academic” areas for you to encourage. Re-reading childhood favorites, reading aloud, reading interactively with a family member, and listening to audiobooks are all excellent ways to support literacy skills.
- Personal Interest Projects– Find time for students to dive more deeply into their own interest areas. Give them voice and choice to explore something they are curious about or have always wanted to learn. Whether it’s researching sea otters, understanding the stock market, or analyzing the lyrics to songs from Hamilton, let your student explore online resources or call a friend or family member to share their expertise.
- Social Time– Kids will likely be missing the social aspects of school more than the academics. Encourage them to connect to friends near and far through Facetime, social media, phone calls, and even handwritten letters. Leave chalk messages on driveways or ask kids to brainstorm other creative ways to interact with neighbors and friends.
- Family Time– While you might feel like you have nothing but family time right now, make sure you actually spend time together as a family unit. Prepare and eat meals together, play games, or take a walk. Use this time to check in on how your family is coping; calm fears and let your children know that you are there to keep them safe.
- Chores– We often believe that our children are too young or too busy to help with household chores, but contributing to the family in this way can foster responsibility and independence. Use the time now to practice important skills like cooking, doing laundry, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the bathroom.
- Service– Find big or small ways to be of service to somebody else. Pose this as a problem that your family might solve together: How might we help others? You may want to organize a food drive where neighbors leave canned goods on their porches and one healthy adult delivers them to a food bank, have older kids virtually babysit for a co-worker’s younger kids, or reach out to seniors to see what they might need.
- Exercise and Meditation/Deep Breathing– This is important for kids and adults alike. Go for a run, do family yoga, coordinate with friends to do virtual workouts together, or put on some music and dance. This is a great way to build in family time while also developing positive coping skills.
- Good Sleep– Most kids do not get the 9-11 hours they actually need each night. Use this time to develop good sleep hygiene by keeping devices out of bedrooms, turning off screens at least an hour before bedtime, and getting to bed at an appropriate hour. You can also let your teen wake up later than usual now that they do not have to commute to school.
- Sensible Screen Time– Try to balance work time (yours and your child’s) with ample breaks and time to connect. It might feel like everyone is spending too much time on screens right now, especially if you need to use the television or the computer to keep kids occupied while you get some work done, but it’s ok. Try to strike a balance with non-screen activities as much as possible, especially during evenings and weekends.
Personal Project Ideas:
If you set up a routine that includes the suggestions above, your child will be learning important academic and social and emotional skills that will prepare them for returning to the classroom and help them thrive in school and out.
Be gentle towards yourself. Be patient with your kids and your partner. Have empathy for teachers. Express your gratitude for others. We will find our way through this and we will find structures that work. They may not be the same as your neighbor or your sister’s family, but you will find something that works for you and your family.