Homeschooling In Times Of Quarantine: Day Shaping Without Social Contacts
This situation is new for everyone: schools are closed, but we do not have holidays, we should prevent the coronavirus from spreading further.
School now takes place at home. However, most of the time parents also work in the home office. After the initial joy among the students about all the constraints and rules that have been eliminated, frustration and boredom can quickly develop.
At such moments we begin to understand what school offers every day. Not only goal-oriented learning with professional feedback on success and failure from the teachers, but diverse social contacts with children and young people of the same age, younger and older; not only a tight timetable, but a reliable structure of everyday life with learning and break times; not only subject-oriented work according to the curriculum, but individual challenge and support in comparison with others; not only a workplace in the classroom, but many rooms (specialist rooms, library or media library, sports hall and sports field, playground, assembly hall, canteen and much more), in which not only different subjects are taught, but social behavior and cultural practice are learned.
Even after these few points, it is clear to everyone that homeschooling cannot replace the school. Especially for everyone, teachers, learners, parents, caregivers, organizations and others to consider how time without regular classroom instruction can be sensibly organized. Educational institutions and teachers are still responsible for professional learning, for example through e-learning at home. Everything else must be replaced or simulated at home in one way or another. The following remarks are intended to give you suggestions and ideas for the structure of a new school at home. Further tips on learning opportunities in everyday life can be found in the article “Learning at home”.
Shaping the day
- Everyone gets up, perhaps a little later, as usual, and gets ready for “school”. This means that children and parents do not start their working day in pajamas or leisurewear but in school or office dress. This encourages switching to learning and working mode.
- Even when school and company are closed, it is still possible to go to school or work: Walk with school backpack and office bag once around the quarter or at least to the end of your street and thus create the necessary distance between home and “school at home”. When you return to your home, a bell or gong may ring to announce the start of school. In the same way, the school day can be ended with a “return journey”.
- Learning at school takes place in structured phases. Subjects alternate according to the timetable, lessons are structured by a change of social forms (teacher lecture, individual work, partner and group work, free work), there are longer and shorter breaks from learning, in which the children recharge their batteries and exchange ideas with friends.
- Pauses from learning, during which the children recharge their batteries and exchange ideas with friends. For school at home, you have to create such structures yourself. Create daily and weekly plans together with your child. Pay attention to the attention span of your children, which varies according to age. After 20 minutes at the latest, concentrated learning needs a break or a change to new activities. Breaks are necessary: It is best to continue to give your child a packed lunch and allow him or her to have break time conversations with friends at set times by phone or smartphone. The movement must also be part of the break: a round of badminton with a family member, a short dance to lively music, a short sprint up and down the street, five minutes of rope skipping in front of the house and so on. Your child probably has lots of ideas himself!
- Many schools have now switched to all-day operation. The kitchen and dining room can be transformed into the canteen with a little imagination and a few simple steps: Think about what’s for dinner Monday through Friday. Have your children write a menu with the offers of the week, if possible even with a selection. Make food vouchers and determine the “currency” with which your child should pay. Small services are suitable here, such as putting in and taking out the dishwasher, disposing of organic waste or fetching drinks from the cellar. The simulation of the cafeteria is perfect when trays, plates, napkins, cutlery, and glasses are ready for your children to carry to the dining table. Your children will not miss the noise in the real canteen.