Back to School 2020: 6 Virtual Schooling Tips for Business Owners
COVID-19 has caused stress in every part of life, and that stress is only increasing for many parents since the start of the new school year. Business owners especially are scrambling to take care of themselves, their kids, and their businesses—and there doesn’t seem to be enough time or resources to go around or an end to this madness anywhere in sight.
These entrepreneurs, whose lives were already challenging before this pandemic, have experienced even more hurdles as their kids went from being in school most of the week to those same kids learning and being at home all the time. Parents all over the US are juggling work and life already, but now they’re adding full-time teaching and IT support to their virtual-learning school-aged kids.
And, guess what? It’s not going super well.
Why Efficient Homeschooling Is Important for Business Owners Right Now
While I’m not a parent to any tiny humans at the moment (although I am a dog mom to two rambunctious bulldogs), I’ve heard stories from my solopreneur colleagues and co-workers about the ups and downs of parenting during this pandemic. And I empathize—I know how important it is for children everywhere to receive a good, comprehensive education.
Early childhood education is especially important because this is when children first learn how to interact with the people around them. It’s when they learn the basic skills they need for life, like reading and math, but it’s also when they start to develop their own interests.
Before the pandemic, putting kids in school yielded many more advantages than giving entrepreneurial parents breathing room to get work done. It was great to send children to a place that taught consistently and effectively, with a standardized curriculum. And perhaps most importantly, those teachers went to school to train to be great teachers and work with students. Before COVID-19, parents had peace of mind knowing that their school-going children were being given a quality education.
In a world of uncertainty and chaos, a steady education can provide some semblance of normalcy. While we can’t control much in this pandemic, we can try to control the caliber of education that children get during this time.
Back to School in a Pandemic: 6 Homeschooling Tips for Business-Owning Parents
If 2020 was your first exposure to homeschooling, it probably seemed overwhelming. Even virtual learning presents additional work and stress to working parents, despite having a teacher on the other side of the screen. Luckily, there are tons of helpful resources available online to help you get started. You can also tap into the resources you already have to make the best of a murky situation.
I wanted to help make the teaching journeys of business-owning parents a little easier, so I did the research and compiled some homeschooling tips below.
1. Pool Your Resources
When you realize everyone else is in the same boat, you find new and innovative ways to collaborate. Although avoiding large groups and practicing social distancing is important in this pandemic, there are still ways to safely gather and learn together.
For instance, look at Spicer Matthews, the founder here at Skyclerk. He pooled his resources with a few families in his neighborhood to open a small school in their home and hired a teacher to oversee the pool of nine kids. In this way, the kid learn together in a small, safe environment while receiving excellent education from a professional. Additionally, this teacher can work in their chosen field with a small group of children whose parents value her expertise.
He was inspired by Jason Calacanis, a Silicon Valley investor who wants to set up a micro-school in his backyard.
Jason and Spicer’s schools are just some of the pandemic pods sweeping the nation. More efficient than one-family homeschooling, but safer than sending kids back to large schools, pandemic pods allow families to pool resources so that one parent, teacher,, or tutor can educate a small group of kids safely.
2. Keep It Consistent
For kids (and let’s face it, adults, too), consistency is key. Creating a set schedule with clear blocks of time for learning certain subjects, taking breaks, and completing homework is important to maintaining consistency and stability.
Flexibility within the schedule you create is vital, too. Make sure to reevaluate how this schedule is working for each child in your household, and refine it as needed.
3. Make It Memorable
We indeed live in a digital-first world, but sometimes, writing things down on paper is the best way to memorize facts. Luckily, Evan-Moor creates a great line of workbooks that students can use to build their knowledge.
Encouraging your child to select a blank notebook with a cover they enjoy can also help to spark their interest in continued learning. Whether that notebook features one of their favorite superheroes or is covered in glitter, allow them to choose one that will make writing down and reviewing notes from class more exciting.
4. Learn Outside the Box
Learning through unconventional methods can also help your children stay engaged with their curriculum. Podcasts, for instance, can be a great tool for teaching and engaging your kids. Older children may enjoy the Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest fairy tale podcast by Adam Gidwitz, but you should also explore the wide world of podcasts at your fingertips to find one specific to your child’s interests.
Museums are also a great educational tool to explore with your children. If you can’t go in person, consider virtual tours.
5. Cultivate Creativity
When you’re teaching kids their required curriculum, don’t forget about creative courses, too. Explore Udemy to find courses on art, music, and more that unleash your child’s creative skills.
6. Contextualize Current Events
While history courses are important, it’s also critical to contextualize current events for your kids—after all, the current events of today are the history classes of tomorrow.
Scholastic offers affordable resources on current events that are engaging for students of many grade levels.
Parenting While Self-Employed: Final Thoughts
Although parenting and working for yourself simultaneously can be a struggle, I hope these tips help you find some balance.
Together, we can all push through to make virtual schooling as valuable as in-person schooling was so that kids receive a comprehensive education while being prepared for returning to regular schooling in the future.
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