Coronavirus: 4 tips for parents who are homeschooling

Martin Vernaza, 8, studies at home after school closes during the mandatory isolation decreed by the Colombian government as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez - RC2JWF9JOGGJ
Billions of children around the world are educated at home because of the virus.
Image: REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez
  • With coronavirus lockdowns set to continue, parents around the world are trying their best to teach their children while juggling work and other commitments.
  • British psychotherapist Philippa Perry is among those offering advice on how best to go about it.

With coronavirus lockdowns now part of the new normal, children around the world are getting used to their new classroom: home. Parents, meanwhile, are juggling work, domestic life and a new role as teacher.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of advice out there on homeschooling, both from organizations that want to help, and from those parents who have been doing it for years. Here are some ideas to think about.

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Over 1 billion learners are out of the classroom due to COVID-19.
Image: Statista

1. Get your children to teach you

In a Twitter thread all about how to homeschool effectively during the lockdown, British psychotherapist Philippa Perry recommends letting your children teach you first.

This is seen as a way to establish a new learning environment. If a child sees you, their parent-teacher, sitting quietly and listening to what they have to say, they’re more likely to reciprocate and view the living room or the kitchen counter as the new “school” or place to learn. Perry also notes that “teaching something to someone else helps them to learn it”.

2. Bring the the outside into your home

Businesses that usually rely on people and footfall are finding new ways to cope – while simultaneously helping struggling parents to occupy and educate their offspring. Museums and galleries, zoos and aquariums – even theme parks – are currently offering free virtual tours.

The educator support group, We Are Teachers, recently drew attention to 25 different nature webcams that have been set up at various zoos around the US, allowing anybody to tune in and see what the animals are up to. If you can’t take your kids to the zoo, why not bring the zoo to them?

3. Get inventive with what’s available

The UN recently shared some fun home learning activities to help teach your children about plastic waste. From making instruments out of discarded bottles, to putting on a “rubbish” fashion show, not only are these activities cost-free, they might actually help you to upcycle and reduce your plastic waste.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

4. Make the most of online educators

For those wanting to stick closer to the classroom, however, UK broadcaster the BBC has expanded its education offering, Bitesize, to include daily lessons in english, maths, geography and other core subjects.

In what the organization described as “the biggest education effort the BBC has ever undertaken”, the new format offers six different 20-minute shows per day, with 150 new lessons added to the website and app each week. There will also be free general advice for parents on homeschooling.

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