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Advice for parents tackling at-home learning during coronavirus school closures

17-Mar-2020 3:25 PM EDT, by West Virginia University

In an attempt to help limit the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in West Virginia, schools across the state will remain closed for at least the next two weeks, forcing youths to continue learning and completing coursework from home.

As families begin educating their children at home, West Virginia University Extension Service experts Kerri Carte and Sarah Owen have provided a few tips to help make this experience a little easier on the whole family.


AUDIO FILE: At-home learning with young children

“If you have a younger child that’s struggling with a worksheet, don’t push it. Simply put the worksheet aside and maybe look at it later. You can reach out to a teacher for assistance, but if your child gets frustrated and upset, your learning environment is not going to be good. And, that’s not going to help your child. Stay calm, try to do what you can do and support your child.”

AUDIO FILE: At-home learning with older children

“For older children, have them reach out to their friends. They can connect via telephone call or an online chat system. This is especially helpful if child is struggling in that topic. Encourage them to reach out to a friend who has a better understanding of the topic and they will get through the information together.”

AUDIO FILE: Supplemental resources for children without structured schoolwork

“If your child’s school hasn’t sent home schoolwork, or you’d like to supplement their learning, don’t worry. There are many opportunities to be taken advantage of online. For example, the Smithsonian operates over 20 museums. They’ve got many of their exhibits online with pictures and information. And, some places, like the Cincinnati Zoo, are even offering livestreams. Every day, they’re doing a home safari series, where they’ll introduce you to an animal, give you some information about that animal as well as some follow up activities you can do. These are great resources that we need to take advantage of during this time.” – Kerri Carte, associate professor and Kanawha County agent, WVU Extension Service

AUDIO FILE: Getting started with at-home learning

“Make a workspace for each of your children. Set up a place that has all that they will need for completing their daily assignments. Also, set a schedule for how you want your daily home life to go while you are schooling from home. Include regular waking and bed times, meal times, school times, outdoor and exercise times, chore time, free time and reading time.”

AUDIO FILE: Take learning breaks and encourage movement

“Take breaks often. Kids have very short attention spans. First graders can stay on task for only about 12 minutes, and even your freshman may only be able to focus for about 30 minutes at a time. So, allow your kids to take regular but short breaks from their schoolwork. Also, don’t be afraid to embrace that your home is not a school. Let your kids move around the house to tackle different subjects.”

AUDIO FILE: Holding kids accountable and learning to adapt

“Set expectations and hold you kid accountable. Make sure your child knows that their job during this crisis is to do their schoolwork, so that you can do the important work of keeping your family safe and healthy. Then, be sure to reward their progress. Acknowledge the successes they have throughout the day, even if there are many times that they fall short.” – Sarah Owen, 4-H youth agriculture program coordinator, WVU Extension Service

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.




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