Monday, May 11, 2020

(Home) School Days

Many of you are in the same boat as we are, having kids at home and trying to sort through the school work being provided by the teachers.  I thought I would share the setup E's teachers are doing and our strategies for getting it done.  I want this as more of a record for us to look back on rather than any sort of ground-breaking tips.

E has an email account through the Toronto District School Board and through that he has access to Google Classroom.  He has three different classrooms - one for his regular class, one for music, and one for gym.  The teachers post assignments for the students to complete.  The assignments may be a pre-recorded lesson, text to read, or instructions on how to look something up on the internet, and then a Google Doc to complete the questions being asked.  A few time we have taken a photo of work and uploaded that but mostly everything is done on the computer.  He also has Raz Kids for reading and IXL for math.

We have been told that this online work will not decrease the mark they had before March Break, but it could help to increase his grade. I'm more interested in keeping him engaged in something other than video games and at least being introduced to these various topics so they aren't a complete surprise when he does get back to school.  I am fortunate that I can speak enough French to help him (although the teacher has kindly provided English translations for the parents).  I know the verb tense is rarely correct and we do use Google Translate quite a bit, but whatever.

I usually sit beside him and work through the various assignments with him.  There is a bit of juggling between the different tabs that open and making sure things are saved and uploaded correctly.  It's a lot for an 8 year old to manage on his own. 

Another aspect of this are meetings - once a week E meets with his teacher and a small group of his classmates to discuss social studies and then lately they have been able to do a real time quiz through the app Kahoot.  E has also attended gym class and dance class online. For dance since it is for many classes, the teacher mutes everyone and then leads the class, but for gym, it is a smaller group so they can all chat.

Keeping up with the various assignments was a bit overwhelming at first so I made a post-it note poster (inspired by Andrea).  This way he can see what needs to be done and feel accomplished about what he has done.  It helps to keep me organized at least.

E is not a kid who will take the initiative to do work on his own without being prompted, or to do extra things.  So as soon as he has done the minimum for the day, he is quickly asking to play on the iPad. He has been able to chat with one of his buddies and play video games with him online which is a nice way to keep in touch.  This can also be a motivator to get his schoolwork done. 

It's an interesting time and I would like if I could give him my undivided attention to work through the school work and "assign" different work, but mostly we just struggle to get through the day to make sure we aren't that far behind in the work, log onto the Google Meets, and try to avoid video games and TV until at least after lunch.  I also keep in mind this tweet I saw from @ONTspecialneeds (a great education resource for anyone, not just for special needs), as we certainly do a lot of these things too.

I will do a separate post next week for how Q is getting along with his "schooling".


  1. Interesting, Sarah. It sounds like you and E are doing well! I laughed at the personal assistant note! Who knew, eh? I really like that last list of 16 everyday learning and pretty easy.

  2. I am so sad that our school board hasn't yet done anything about the kids meeting with their teachers virtually. I think that would help during this time soooo much.

    Also, I love that last picture of the sixteen things. My goal is to keep the kids off "free screen time" between 9 and 5. Since I'm not working, we're mostly successful with that.