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A month of being locked in and doing school at home can really give even the most seasoned teachers and parents moments of frustration. This isn’t school, and it isn’t quite homeschooling. It is a hybrid chaos school that we are all stressed about. As a teacher, I have some specific suggestions to help you and your children have a strong finish.

·      Keep a normal routine. Get up and dressed for the day. Being in pajamas all day is fun for the first week, but a morning routine of getting up, dressed and ready really helps set the day up for success.

·      Dedicate a specific time and space to start every day. When children know what is expected of them, they can self-regulate their schedule. If they know that they have to be at the kitchen table by 9 a.m., they will. 

·      Schedule in a break every 12-30 minutes depending on the age. Go for a family bike ride in the neighborhood, basketball in the driveway, tend the garden, throw the ball for the dog or follow along with a yoga class. You should do at least three of these every day. 

·      Take an art, music or creativity break. Making a color wheel, following an art activity online, creating music or planting a garden are valuable learning experiences that students now have more time to explore every day.

·      Set up a board game. There are literally hundreds of games that you can use to teach these days. If it is a longer game, find a place you can leave it and go back every day. Puzzles are a great way to have some quiet down time while students work on spatial awareness and patience.

·      Make sure you have a specific end time every day. Teachers are not expecting students work until the late hours of the evening and knowing when school will be finished is a reward itself.

·      Instead of doing every subject every day, do one subject a day.

·      Learning doesn’t just happen between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. If your family likes to stay up later and sleep in, that works, too. Just be sure to have a consistent “get it done” time for everybody.

·      Tackle the most frustrating subjects first. It is OK not to do it the way they learn in school. Every child learns differently and if you have a way that works better for your child, use it.

·      Stay connected with your child’s teacher. We miss them and many have times to check in during the day using a variety of platforms. If it gets to a point that anyone in the family is in tears, call the teacher.

Danielle Howell Roland is a middle school English and Social Studies teacher in the Upstate. She is a mom to a 7-year-old boy who still thinks mud is a clothing accessory. Her family has two dogs, a few hairless “skinny” pigs and some backyard chickens that make her laugh. She reads whenever and wherever she can.

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