We’ve all seen the BBC video of the father interrupted during his important video call and the wife rushing in to grab the kids. Though hilarious, many of us are working from home and have children to care for. We are ultimately parenting, working, and teaching.

I’ve been asked quite a bit over the past few weeks, “How do I keep my child learning while I’m working?” or “My child has this packet, how do I support them?” Everyone’s situation is extremely different, there’s no precedent to follow, and we are all doing the best we can during these challenging circumstances.

School at home, home learning, homeschooling, not homeschooling — whatever we want to call this, it is important to note that children do not need sit at the computer all day or consume worksheets for seven hours a day. I’d like to share some best practices and resources for each subject area.

Best Practices

1. Start the day with a deep breath and a moment of gratitude. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with news updates. Take two minutes and consider: In what ways have you received help, kindness, compassion, in the last few days?

Ask children to recall how people in their communities are helping one another. Ask children to think about how they might say “thank you” to someone. Begin the day with… “list everything that you are thankful for.” Talk to children about how they can help in small ways. Provide space for gratitude.

2. Create a visual block schedule that includes the big four academic learning areas: Reading with/to kids; encourage daily writing; practice numeracy, problem solving situations. For children 3 and up, co-create a schedule together of learning, fun, and choice. We tend to believe that kids are naturally unstructured and prefer to be that way, but research shows quite the opposite to be true.

3. As you create the schedule, consider your designated workplace and times where you can commit to getting work done. For example, naptime is one chunk of the day when you plug away without interruption or quite time when children are playing with puzzles, building blocks, art, etc.

I like to pair lunch time with a kid-friendly podcast so I can send emails and such. A few of my favorite podcasts for kindergarten to second grade are NPR’s Wow in the World!; StoriesPodcast.com for science; Circle Round to hear a story; or Noodle Loaf to learn about music. For third to fifth, try BrainsOn.org. If you like science, listen to Forever Ago. If you like history, listen to Story Pirates.com to hear funny stories written by kids.

For sixth to ninth, try RadioLabif you like science; Forever Ago if you like history; or Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls if you like biographies. For 9-12: Try This American Life. Plan for interruptions and create cues when you’re working like a nonverbal "Do not disturb" when you need quiet time.




Social Studies

Problem Solving

In closing

Don’t forget to add physical education, creative expression, and fun. There are dozens of virtual tours, Lego challenges and interactive academic videos. For dozens of art ideas, visit @MrsVelazquezArt on Instagram. Mrs. Velazquez has provided an awesome one-pager with variety for art time.

As Liz Kleinrock, @Teachntransform, said best, no kid is ever going to remember something they did on a worksheet while in forced isolation during a national pandemic. Please take care of yourself; as adults, we are juggling a lot.

Create time for things you love and that calm you (meditation, spa, prayer, rest, sleep, exercise, etc.). My current favorite resources are: Calm.com, Relax Melodies, and Mindful.org. Many gyms are offering free online subscriptions and trials, like Peloton. Throw perfectionism out the window.

Thank you for being kind, sharing, and resharing resources to help us all through unchartered territory. We will get through this together.

For even more resources and strategies, you can catch this pre-recorded webinar.