Published On: Tue, Mar 31st, 2020

Online Resources for Schools and Parents During Closures

Maria Laing 

A Special Education Teacher Shares her Tips

Boca Raton, FL – It’s hard to believe that just a week ago we were in school and life was happening as normal. In a matter of a few days, all that was familiar and routine to us has changed. We, as educators, are now asked to continue teaching through online services to provide students with continuity in their learning process. I find it difficult to change so suddenly and understand that for working parents, it is undoubtedly a challenge to help their children with schoolwork while keeping their own work and household in check. 

After reading several articles and getting input from colleagues, I want to share the following tips that might be helpful to you during this time. 

+ Make a Schedule and Let Kids Be Part of the Decision-Making Schoolwork sent home and assignments given by teachers are non- negotiable, so students must complete those. After this is established, let children have some input on what they want to learn. 

Make a schedule and display it so that everyone knows the expectations for the day. Make sure this new routine reflects everyone’s needs and rhythms of life. If students know the expectations, they will rise to meet them and you will have fewer arguments about work that needs to be completed. 

+ Build-in Outdoor Activities Outdoor activities are part of the regular school day for a child, and you should try to incorporate some outdoor time as well. A walk around the garden or neighborhood can be beneficial and educational as well. You can look for bugs, or count the trees, or collect different leaves and then study them at home. 

+ Make Every Activity a Teaching Opportunity Not all learning occurs during the school day. Take advantage of this time together to teach your child something that you are very good at or just enjoy, or practice the theories of math and science. Cooking, sorting laundry, or watering plants can all be great sources of learning. 

+ Support Your Special Needs Learner Parents can aid their struggling readers and children with other learning disabilities by taking advantage of special deals offered by companies during this time of social distancing. Many deals and free resources are offered to schools, so letting teachers know about these can help all students. Examples include MindPlay.com, Prodigy Math, PBS Kids, Khan Academy, and Story Line Online. 

Other Online Educational Resources Many schools have sent home links to their educational platforms, which they will use during this time to continue with instruction. Many other free websites can also provide help during this time. You can find 36 educational websites by clicking on this link https://www.popsugar.com/family/free-online-educational-resources-for-kids-47311368. 

Read, Read, Read with Your Child Every Day Reading to or with young children helps to forge a stronger relationship with them. It provides a great opportunity to talk about the books and in turn helps them to develop their reading, vocabulary, and writing skills. 

I hope as the days go by you are able to develop a new routine for either assigning or managing remote work, as well as your other responsibilities at home. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to work for your students’ and/or family’s needs. 

Maria Laing is an Elementary Special Education teacher, the 2018 Florida Atlantic University Lab School District Teacher of the Year and MindPlay manager for the district. 

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