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Seattle teacher offers tips for teaching kids at home during school closures

Due to the coronavirus, all K-12 schools will be closed for the next several weeks and some parents may be wondering how or what to teach their kids at home.

SEATTLE — As students across Washington state prepare for six weeks without school, teachers are sharing ideas to keep your child productive and learning in the times of coronavirus closures and social distancing.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced statewide school closures this week – impacting about 1.1 million students. Districts are scrambling to make sure students in need still receive meals.

Shelly Landschulz, a fifth-grade teacher at Catharine Blaine K-8 school in Seattle, said she’s also seeing parents stressing out on how to keep their children from falling behind.

She said homeschooling can be like a full-time job, so she understands the concerning prospect of still working, but making sure your child’s time is occupied in a healthy way.

“I think a lot of parents are focusing on how can I keep my kid from falling behind in math, or reading, or I don’t even know what to teach them in science,” she said. “And really, it’s just about kind of keeping them on a schedule, and making sure they’re feeling good, and they’re not anxious or upset.”

She said she expects kids to experience a summer-like ‘brain drain’ effect from the long time away from the classroom, but wants parents not to worry.

“I think there definitely will, but everyone is in the same boat though, so parents especially should remember that everybody is losing out, it’s not just their kid,” she said.

She does have some recommendations though:

  • Keep your family on a schedule similar to school, so the transition back is easier
  • Ask your kids to identify what they want to work on
  • Talk to other families about what they’re doing
  • Don’t believe everything you read online about homeschooling. Many folks don’t share the frustrations that come with home learning
  • Don’t feel like your kids have to be tied to the kitchen table all day working – find learning opportunities naturally throughout the day

“They’re pretty aware of when they’re learning, it’s pretty much all the time,” she said.

Finally, she said to take it easy on yourself. Things will get back to normal eventually.

“Every family is different, and everyone is just doing the best they can,” she said.

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