Life has changed in so many different ways for everyone as a result of the global pandemic, particularly in the area of schooling, which has become a big issue for most parents. So I invited Beth Brown and Keri Knutson to join me today to talk about some solutions.
Beth and Keri both have children in school, and they have been doing a lot of work to solve the current problems around schooling. They are with me today to share what they are learning and experiencing and to talk about the innovative ideas that they have come up with for educating children in the best way possible under the present circumstances.
Beth is a creative person, and she has a background in interior design. She is currently involved in social media management, and she works from home as a virtual assistant.
This year, she has decided to home-school one of her children.
Keri is a teacher by trade, and she has been working in different capacities in the field of education for the last seventeen years. For most of that time, she has been teaching children from kindergarten to second grade in public school. She has also taught preschool, and, for the past eight years, she has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO).
Keri has three kids at home, and right now, she is taking a break from public school teaching to work on her doctorate.
Conversations about schooling
Beth and Keri live in the same neighborhood. There have been several neighborhood meetings held there recently, to talk about the changes that are happening in the school district and the different ways that everyone is choosing to deal with the current situation.
Two main options for parents
Three months ago, most of the parents in the Deer Creek School District got two main options for schooling. The first is that the children can return to school in August. And if any incidences of COVID occur in the schools, they can return to doing distance learning for as long as necessary. The second option is for parents to keep their children at home, and go ahead with virtual schooling for the whole semester.
A third option
A third option was offered to the parents of children from the seventh grade upwards. That is for an academy, where children from the seventh to the twelfth grades can do a blended school option. That means that they can do certain things, like band and special science classes, on the school campus, and everything else can get done at home.
Things vary in different places around the country
Things are different, however, in different districts, and different areas around the country.
A split schedule
Schools in Beth and Keri’s area have now decided to opt for a split schedule based on state recommendations, to ensure that proper social distancing can take place if necessary. That means that if they reach an orange level, as determined by the Department of Health, they will create a split schedule so that only half of all the students are present in the school building at any given time.
The underlying issue
The underlying issue is that parents are trying to do what is best for their children, while also juggling their work and their lives at home. There is a lot to consider, and even more to be done, and it can all feel very frightening and overwhelming.
Beth has two children at home. Her daughter is thirteen, and, like most of the other kids of her age, she wants to go back to school full-time, so Beth is allowing her to do that.
Beth has decided, however, to keep her second-grader at home, and go a hundred percent virtual with his schooling. Although she does not relish the idea, she has chosen to embrace her role as a parent, to have a great attitude, and to make the best of a difficult situation.
Lots of options
There are lots of options, and ultimately it is up to the parents to weigh them all up and make the best decision for their children and themselves.
Bear in mind that things always go better with a positive attitude!
Links and resources:
When Coronavirus Pivots Education Plans: How to Set Up a Homeschooling Space Anywhere
Working and Learning from Home During the COVID-19 Outbreak
At-Home Learning Resources for the COVID-19 Outbreak
How to Turn Your Living Space into a Home Office, Home School, and More During Coronavirus
101 Free Resources for Home-Schooling During COVID Crisis
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