At-Home School is Happening
Wow. Because of a global pandemic, some kids will be home full-time trying to do online school. Or, they could be going to school part-time and home for the rest of the time. If they’re lucky, their school will be totally open and they will be happily back at it with their friends and teachers. The reality is that for now school is most likely looking different and we’re all making the best of a challenging situation. That means teachers, parents, students, and possibly grandparents could be looking considering at-home school as well.
Are you looking at some kind of involvement in at-home school this year? My role is as a part-time lead virtual teacher with my two granddaughters as my students. As a retired elementary teacher, I’m kind of excited to be back in the saddle planning and organizing for a school year. But, I’m also a little apprehensive about this non-traditional role. And, in reality, I won’t be the ‘lead’ teacher. That job falls on the actual teachers at our local elementary and middle school. And, then on to the girls’ mom (daughter Kasey). I’m definitely in a support role, but there are several unknowns that are concerning. Let’s attack those concerns together and change our focus from shaky, concerned helpers, to confidant, excited, and important co-leaders!
A Free Tip-Sheet for At-Home School!
Looking at Your ‘Why’
One item to get out of the way right away is how you landed in this role. Is it out of necessity? Are the parents of your students back at work? Or, are you the parent and here you are! Maybe you just saw the need and offered to help out, I have a friend who has set up a Grandma School at her house, doing full-on homeschooling with her two granddaughters because that will fit their family better than attending public school. Homeschooling is quite a bit different than what we’ll be doing because of the higher level of educational responsibility. Whether you were drafted into service or you enlisted on your own, you have the power to choose to make this experience positive for you and your student.
My goal in this post is to encourage you to make that choice and to be excited and happy about it once you do!
At-Home School Concerns
Here are the things that concern me. Maybe you’ve thought about these as well. You might have others! Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can address those.
- What will the day look like?
- When will attendance be taken and how?
- How do I log in to the web apps the class will be using?
- How will assignments be tracked online?
- Is a work-space essential for my student?
- What supplies do we need?
Many of these questions can be answered if you know where to look. I’ve created a free product called 5 Helpful Tips for Setting-Up At-Home School. You might find some of your answers there plus directions to where you can find more answers. There are suggestions for getting started and forms to save the info you collect. Here’s the link to 5 Helpful Tips.
The Perks of Doing At-Home School
We’ll address some of your concerns here, but first, let’s chat about the possible perks of being involved with an at-home school situation!
The first perk that comes to mind is the time you will get to spend with your student. Being involved with his or her education is extremely valuable to a child. And, it can be extremely rewarding.
The next advantage of being involved with online school is the learning you will be doing together. It always amazed me how much I learned when I was teaching! Also, it is extremely enjoyable to watch a student ‘get it’. Nothing better, especially when you’ve invested that time into facilitating the learning to happen. Another part of this perk is the ‘together’ aspect of learning. You’re essentially supporting the teaching the professional teacher is doing, but being there to see the light bulb turn on is a kick!
The last perk I’ll mention here is that you get to give the gift of love to your student in a very meaningful way. There will be challenging times, possibly hard ‘throw in the towel’ times, but sharing love has such a way of blessing both the giver and the receiver. There’s nothing like it and it makes it all worthwhile. ❤️
Having read these perks, you might be wanting to call the ‘parents’ and offer to help even if they haven’t asked yet! Even being there to ‘substitute’ or be a ‘break-giver’ would probably be highly appreciated.
Time to Pin!
The Big Picture of Virtual School
We’ll also be considering the ‘small picture’ as well! But first, let’s start getting a solid footing with this whole undertaking. The best place to start is to talk with the parent. Sit down with him/her/both and chat about what they’ve discovered about online school already. Emails have been sent out and initial explanations of how things will work have likely been communicated. Make sure you have a journal or notebook to start recording this information. That tool will also come in handy to record questions and observations as you go.
I want to throw in here a very important observation. You are essential to the success of your student’s at-home school experience but don’t forget you are likely 3rd in line in the chain of command. Keeping your relationship with the parent is crucial to your student’s (and your) success this year. Plus, focusing on your support role is actually a good idea whenever you’re involved with the grandkids! I’m reading a great book right now called Nanaville by Anna Quindlen which explores this topic with humor and grace. I highly recommend it if you’re a Nana (Grandma). ?Maybe your ‘parent’ doesn’t want to be that hands-on in the process, leaving most of the decision making to you. Each situation is different. It’s a good idea to nclude them in the process even if you’re given a freer reign.
The Details (the Small Picture)
Presumably, you have or have already know the school district’s website. This will be a great resource for the basics (attendance, bell schedule, curriculum apps, web conferencing tools, etc.). Start there. Get familiar with things. Go on search parties for all the scoop and remember to take notes.
Besides all the technical, big picture considerations, think about the learning space in the home, the supplies that will be needed, and the systems that need to be set-up. In my mind, this is the fun part! I have really fond memories of setting up my classroom mid-August, getting the calendar corner just right, and bulletin boards all cute and informative. The student’s learning space will of course be on a much smaller scale, but the two (or three) of you can plan that out together. I’m excitedly looking forward to that part!
On this at-home school adventure we’ve looked at concerns and challenges and some of the answers available for those concerns. We’ve also talked about the benefits in being directly involved with the education of a student or two in your family. What family doesn’t need a healthy dose of love and positive role modeling during this whacky time?
Time to Wrap This Up
There were big picture considerations with school structures and web applications, etc. as well as smaller things like work-space set-up. The work and learning curve at the start could be significant, but once you’re beyond that stage, things should run relatively smoothly! Remember, the school is carrying the biggest weight of responsibility for learning. Those of us at home are the support, the human touch, the icing on the cake. It’s a commitment, that’s for sure, but with your skills (some you don’t realize you have yet), devotion to your family, and determination to make this enjoyable for all it should be a truly valuable experience.
A Free Tip-Sheet for At-Home School!
Now you might be feeling left out if you’re a long-distance grandma. Don’t despair! This post will give you ideas for participating from a distance. ? It’s called, “Super Fun Things You can do with Your Grandkids Online.”
I’ve created some helpful tools to assist you in this endeavor. This free guide called 5 Helpful Tips to Create Your Best Year Ever! It includes valuable info to get yourself started and room to record the important things you discover along the way. Enjoy this time and we would love to hear your ideas and plans if you’ve already jumped in!
Finding a new purpose in living and joy in the day-to-day was the goal when author Kathy Rowland and her entire family (adult kids and grandkids) moved from the PNW to Texas several years ago. The focus of Quiet Hollow is to encourage ‘next chapter women’ – those who are retired, empty-nesters, or have found themselves without a spouse to jump back into life. And, she shares multiple tips, ideas, and possibilities toward that end. Kathy completed her almost 30 years as an elementary teacher and hopped into over a decade of volunteer work, side hustle-type businesses, and grandchild care before discovering her unique and fulfilling purpose for the next chapter of life. What you read on Quiet Hollow is a large part of that calling. Another part is the happy life she’s leading in Central Texas in the same neighborhood as the 3 big kids and her 5 grandkids. She and her college sweetheart husband made sure to add a pool to their new Texas home, so there are lots of noisy, splashy days in their little oasis of a backyard. Come join her on Quiet Hollow in a conversation about finding and living the life you were created to live in this later stage. The chats will be full of laughter, support, faith, and inspiration to create.