At-Home Learning Resources for the COVID-19 Outbreak

Looking for helpful and practical strategies to ensure children maintain a focus on learning during COVID-19 school closures? TeacherVision and FamilyEducation have you covered. Julie Mason - mom of 3, former classroom teacher, and Head of Content and Curriculum at TeacherVision outlines a daily plan to keep you and your kids focused, productive, and positive in this unprecedented scenario.
Updated on: March 16, 2020

Every working parent has time management challenges. Most of us have systems that we rely on to manage our family and work responsibilities (thank you Google Calendar and Wunderlist!). One of those systems is our schools.

Thousands of those schools have closed their doors due to COVID-19. Many parents are working remotely, and many of us are wondering how to structure our days. Teachers have been tasked with developing remote learning plans and using them to keep students on track. The organizational challenges we are facing at home and in our schools are unprecedented.

MoreHow to Help Your Child With Online Learning

As a former teacher and mom of three who is now the Head of Content and Curriculum for TeacherVision, I am right there with you in wondering how it is possible to work, care for my family, and teach during such a confusing and fearful time. Below you will find: 

  • A sample daily schedule for at-home learning during
  • Daily checklists
  • Free learning resources and materials
  • Emotional support and stress management resources
  • Daily movement and activity exercises
  • Reflection resources

Creating a Schedule For Kids Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, you are undoubtedly thinking about how to help kids learn and thrive despite these challenging circumstances.

TeacherVision and FamilyEducation have partnered to bring you resources we hope will make scheduling children’s days less daunting. We designed this schedule and share these resources with the hope that you can develop temporary systems that create a positive routine for you and best support kids in the weeks to come.

schedule for learning at home during covid-19 outbreak

A suggested schedule parents can follow to maintain learning while kids are home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

9 AM: Set an Intention and Expectations

Set Clear Expectations and Review Them Each Morning

Anytime you introduce children to a new structure or routine, it is helpful to set clear expectations and discuss what success will look like. Use the Daily Tasks Checklist to chart out a  schedule that everyone can buy into and understand.

For busy parents who are juggling work and supervising their children while school is closed, there is a box for students to check off the task when it is completed. Most importantly, there is a self-assessment. When you first start creating a daily schedule, you need feedback on how it is going. If a child circles the frown face that is an indication that they either didn’t have enough support to complete the task or it wasn’t engaging enough. Use the self-assessment as a conversation starter as you troubleshoot your schedule and tools, and be prepared to make adjustments.

Support Kids In Making Good Choices

If you are working from home and caring for your children, you will need to schedule some self-guided activities. It can be challenging for children to manage their own time, maintain focus, and complete tasks without adult support and supervision. Use the Behavior Checklist to set clear expectations. Write out behavior goals using empowering “I can…” statements. Some examples include “I can follow my schedule” and “I can ask for help when I need it.”  There is a place for kids to check if they met the expectation or not, and there is a place to reflect on how it went.

Resources to Use:

10 AM: Academic Time

With so much going on in your own life, sitting your kids down with the iPad or TV might seem like an easy way to occupy them while you get other things done.  However, it’s important to maintain learning while at home.

Balance Academics and Play

Some schools are putting distance learning into place, while others are not providing materials for parents. Depending on how much support you receive from your child’s school, you will need to plan a learning/play schedule.  As you plan, think of activities that combine learning and fun. One of our favorites is to ask kids to read a book, and then watch the movie.

Build In Opportunities For Choice

While it is helpful to provide structure for children, it is also important to give them choices. Choice Boards provide nine different activities for the same topic, support academic skill-building practice, and build in opportunities for choice.

Resources to Use:

11 AM: Feelings Check-In

Help Kids Express Their Feelings and De-Stress

Many kids are feeling anxious and confused right now. Schools closed with little notice, and the daily routine looks very different right now (or is missing altogether). It is important to find time in the day to check in with children and use strategies and activities to help them express their feelings and de-stress. You can use breathing exercises, mantra activities, “feelings thermometers," meditation, and more to help kids relax and be present in the moment.

Alyssa Bellardino, a third-grade teacher in Roxbury, NJ believes it is important to incorporate social-emotional learning (SEL) into distance learning models. She created a Daily SEL Challenge. This free resource is full of activities that motivate kids to complete acts of kindness and connect with family members and friends.

Daily SEL Challenge social emotional learning activities for kids

Children can choose one of these social-emotional learning tasks to do each day.

Resources to Use:

12 PM: Get Kids Up and Moving

Kids need movement in order to learn and thrive. Professor Peter Gray writes about the power of play and unscheduled downtime for kids. He recommends that children play before they eat lunch, and that they have opportunities for unstructured play. Christy Frank, an instructional technology integrator, designed The ABCs of Screen-Free Time At Home so parents and teachers could support students to take screen breaks and get moving despite school closures  due to COVID-19.

ABCs of Screen-Free Time at Home Resources

Children can choose one of these at-home learning activities to complete during academic time.

Resources to Use:

1 PM: Rest

2 PM: Free Choice Reading and Snack

Resources to use:

3 PM: Get Moving

Resources to Use:

4 PM: Reflect

Check In With Your Kids

Take the time to circle back to the Daily Tasks and Behavior Checklists, and talk to your kids about how things went. Use this as a learning experience for parents to understand what worked, what didn’t, what needs more time, less time, etc.

Resources to Use:

Learn From Homeschooling Parents

Even if you didn’t intend to homeschool your kids, there are parents who willingly make this choice, and have developed structures and systems that work. From finding the teaching materials you need and developing a home classroom to what is needed for a positive homeschool experience, we can learn a lot from parents who are already doing this with great success.

Resources to Use:

It wouldn’t be possible to get through the next few weeks without technology and screens (Thanks, Disney+ for giving us Frozen II three months early). There are so many different apps and resources out there, and many companies are making them free for teachers and parents. Every single resource including worksheets and lesson plans on TeacherVision is free. Here’s how to get started.

For a homeschool schedule for the 2020/2021 school year, check out free printable sample schedule.

Check back for continuous updates...

Julie Mason is the Head of Content and Curriculum for TeacherVision. She brings expertise in blended and personalized learning, instructional coaching, and curriculum design to the role. She was a middle and high school English teacher for eight years and then a blended and personalized learning instructional coach for K-12 teachers at BetterLesson. She has presented at The National Principals Conference, ISTE, and ASCD where she shared her expertise on how instructional coaching builds teacher capacity in K-12 schools. She has extensive experience designing and facilitating professional development for teachers, and she oversees the TeacherVision advisory board.

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