top of page

Overnight, parents across the country became HOMESCHOOL PARENTS! Just the thought still makes me shiver.

With more and more testing being done to detect the COVID-19 virus, it is inevitable that there will be an increase in national cases. All of this leads to the likelihood that your little ones, or your students, will be spending an extended amount of time at home and indoors. As an educator and parent, it was incredibly important to me that my own children had a consistent routine to follow each day. Creating and implementing a daily structure actually creates a sense of normalcy for kids. Each day they enter school, there is a set schedule that students follow. There is a level of academic and social predictability that sets students up for both short and long-term success. While our children may not be entering a school building each day, it is imperative that we, as parents and educators, provide them with this same type of structure.

My children are 3 and 10, so I knew I had to create different homebound schedules for each of them. As I crafted the schedule I prioritized academic learning, creative thinking, independent reading and down-time. It's important that we aren't overwhelming our students, but instead creating a space where they can feel challenged, developed, successful and whole. I reviewed a few schedules that were floating online and then crafted one that felt right for my family's needs. Even then, I went through about five versions of the remote schedule before landing on the one that we are using today. If you want to know if you're routine is an effective one, your children will let you know - quickly.

"It's important that we aren't overwhelming our students, but instead creating a space where they can feel challenged, developed, successful and whole."

The schedule below is designed for middle and high school students. Notice that each morning I require for him to dress in a clean, fresh set of clothes. Hanging around in pajamas each day doesn't feel normal or stimulate productivity. It's a cue to the brain that there has been a shift in regular programming. I noticed that when my son started each day with his typical morning routine, he was twice as productive and started the day with his head in the game. In terms of assignments, most secondary schools provided their students with online coursework or hard copy packets to work through remotely. The routine I crafted allows for chunked work-time broken up by other activities that mirror the school day. My middle schooler loves to speed through his work, so I provided guidance on what to do if he finishes early. There is also time built in for reading, journaling, outdoor activities, chores and free-time.

The next schedule is designed for early learners or pre-school students. When I found out our daycare was closing, I was shook. Caring for a middle schooler is one thing - they are mostly self-sufficient, but a toddler is a whole different ball game. I knew keeping my 3-year old's schedule simple and purposeful would be in everyone's best interest. The routine I created for him mirrors key timeframes in my 10-year old's schedule. For example, they both have their morning routine, lunch, outdoor play and evening routine at the same time. This gives them plenty of time to interact without constantly being in each other's way. The early learning schedule also has time built in for creative play, speech development and learning centers. In order to create this schedule, I pulled a copy of his existing daycare schedule and implemented many of the aspects that he experienced each day. This, again, helps to create a sense of normalcy and routine for the little ones.

From our team to your family, we are wishing you all the best during this unsettling time. We hope our resources can provide some direction as you select a schedule to meet the needs of your children and/or students.

Be Well!

403 views0 comments

A quick read on the temptation to lower expectations for students of color.

by Herneshia Dukes

A colleague recently asked for my contribution to a Forbes article addressing the most common misconceptions urban educators have when working with students of color. It took 30 seconds before I landed on the topic of expectations. It's the single most common trap that educators (of color or white, veterans or rookies) fall into.

A common misconception that educators make is assuming that children of color are unable to engage with rigorous, thought-provoking content. Or even worse, that students of color should not be “forced” to think critically and analytically about the world around them.

By lowering the level of conceptual and evaluative thinking, some educators perceive that they are creating greater opportunities for immediate success. There is a sense of pride and achievement that falsely permeates these classrooms. Students squeal in joy as they answer surface-level questions and gain only a factual understanding of a multi-faceted topic. Never quite realizing that there’s an entire web of complexity left hidden from view. These educators believe, in some way, they are shielding our students from the harsh realities of a biased and inequitable education system.

Teachers want their students to feel encouraged and successful, but at what cost? When we make assumptions about the intellectual capabilities of students based on their race, ethnicity, socio-economic status or background, we’re engaging in the same systemic behavior that has widened the opportunity gap for black and brown children. By not exposing students of color to conceptual understanding, complex paradigms and rigorous intellectual stimulation, we stifle their ability to become societal contributors.

I remember my first year as an urban educator. I was fresh out of college and assigned to teach twelfth-grade British Literature. After spending weeks preparing my syllabus and selecting our readings, it was time for me to meet the students I’d spend the next year growing with. As I reviewed our syllabus aloud, I scanned the room and took note of the astonished faces. I was speaking “Greek”. In that moment, I could have easily caved. We could have spent the year watching Romeo and Juliet or I could have supplemented the material with more straightforward texts. On average, my students were reading 3-4 grade levels behind. Why not spiral in 9th grade material? I adamantly refused to fall in that trap. In one academic year, my scholars learned about glory and humility in Beowulf. They gasped and wept as they explored ambition and betrayal in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. They engaged in riveting debates surrounding the disturbing symbolism in Heart of Darkness. After spending a unit studying British poetry and the legends behind the words, they built a poetry cafe and crafted original writings emulating their favorite British poets. There was life between our walls. A spark had been ignited. Yes, there were challenging times and moments of perplexion. Yet, those micro moments only propelled the desire, and illuminated the need, for us to dive deeper.

It is the role of educators to provide an environment that exposes students to every level of learning. Educators should take pride in creating spaces that allow students to grapple with content, explore new ideas, assess theories, evaluate outcomes, manipulate paradigms and create solutions. It’s through exposure to challenging concepts that our students develop the intellect, capabilities and platform needed to become systemic disruptors and world changers.

20 views0 comments
bottom of page