This library guide outlines resources that can be used to support BC's K-12 curriculum-focused learning in home settings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic schools have been temporarily closed; because of this many colleagues have reached out to request information that can support home learning. There is a lot of information available online and it can be challenging to navigate. This guide is a response to these questions. Throughout the pandemic teachers and school boards will communicate with families and guardians about education plans during the closure; this guide is meant to be one additional support for the important existing school-home connection. The resources listed in this guide are recommended by teachers, professors, librarians, and parents. The resources listed are just a start; I add more all the time. If you have further recommendations, please let me know so I can add them.
Dr. Aliza W. Pressman, Director of Clinical Programming at Mount Sinai Health, shares some ideas for how to be a good parent during the COVID-19 pandemic and I found this very helpful advice.
As a librarian specializing in the study of education, as well as being a parent, the points below have helped me cope to support my childrens' learning at home. The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has some excellent recommendations for parents and carers during COVID-19 school closures on their Learning from Home website, I particularly like their remote learning guidelines for parents and carers. Every family is different and it takes time to figure out what works best for you.
1. Set up a learning space
It can be helpful to set up a dedicated space in your home that will be your family's learning area during the school closure period. This can be a table in the kitchen or dining room, a desk in a bedroom, or even a coffee table. At this space, you can lay out all the school supplies needed such as pencils, erasers, paper, markers, calculators, and more. Having this space ready to go with everything at hand means kids can get down to their tasks quickly. The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has an excellent learning environment checklist which includes ergonomic considerations.
2. Establish a routine
Every teacher I have spoken to about the school closures has emphasized the importance of routines and structure. The Education Department of the Government of New South Wales has proposed a possible model for a one-week cycle of remote learning and this includes a variety of instructional methods. Common Sense Media also has some great tips for keeping kids learning while at home because the COVID closures.
3. Know the BC curriculum
One of the most helpful resources has been to do a customized search on the BC curriculum website based on an individual child's grade level. The Ministry of Education's Curriculum Orientation Guide provides a quick introduction to how the 2015-16 curriculum was revised. A listing of all curriculum is listed by subject and grade level here. On Tuesday, March 31st, the Ministry of Education released their own resource list called Keep Learning on their Open School BC site.
4. Know where your child's learning is currently at
Report cards likely came home the week before Spring Break and from that you should have a sense of not only what they have already covered in the curriculum but also their abilities within each area. You can use this information as a basis for moving forward during the closure. Oxford Learning at Home has a playlist of videos for how to support children's learning at home and Scholastic has made much of their grade specific content freely available during the pandemic.
5. Screen time
This is a stressful time for everyone and kids are no exception. Because screen time can provide kids with social interaction with friends and because there is so much excellent online content for learning, it can be helpful to distinguish between constructive and less-constructive screen time. The Mayo Clinic has some suggestions for how to manage your child's screen time as does Common Sense Media.
6. Perfection is not possible
I have to remind myself that being a perfect educator to my children is not possible Being a parent and being an educator are very different roles and at the end of the day my role as their parent comes first. I'm not a professional teacher and after homeschooling my children I have even more respect for the vital role great teachers play in my childrens' lives. Being realistic is helpful too--there is no way I'm going to be able to get through long stretches of solid instructional hours while also working remotely at a full-time job.
Learn from the many homeschool parents and guardians who have been doing this for years.
In no way is this guide meant to replace the remarkable instruction which normally occurs in community or homeschool settings. Instead, this guide is meant to serve as a starting point of resources available for interested parents needing to homeschool during COVID-19. The authors of this guide are not BC-certified teachers.
This guide currently focuses on resources for Language Arts, Maths, Science, and Social Studies. Our resource lists for other curriculum subject areas, such as French, Career Education, and Arts Education, are currently under development. I hope to post these soon.