This episode dives into Distance Education with Mandy Bert. She is a mother, an 8th grade teacher in Illinois, and co-creator of the Accidental Homeschooler.
A few weeks ago we had Vincent Pugliese on to discuss homeschooling from a parent's perspective. Today we welcome Mandy Bert to look at the education system from a teacher's perspective.
What Has Changed?
Mandy explains that two things have changed. First and foremost new systems were needed to support the higher needs kids. From kids on the free lunch program to those who were being cared for by the school nurse and counselor.
As far as lunches are concerned, some districts are setting up a drive-thru type system so kids can come by and get their free lunch. Other districts are having meals delivered to the kids.
The next changes were to the curriculum itself. While the same skills are being taught, it's being done in different ways. For example, verbal debates are being recorded rather than done live. PE classes are focusing on how to work out at home.
She encourages everyone to reach out to their schools via email or phone to see how you can help.
While the school day is typically seven hours, don't expect your child to study for seven hours at home. Mandy's district expects five hours per day of schooling and homework.
This is a very challenging time but it's not all bad. Mandy feels we are going to create better partnerships between teachers and parents going forward. Plus we will all see how flexible, innovative, and collaborative teachers are. This is showing the whole country how well teachers can pivot.
What Parents Can Do
A good partnership is based on trust and knowing that everyone just wants what is best for the child. Also, keep the lines of communication open. If your child is struggling or doing very well, let the teacher know.
If you don't have a good structure within your state and you need to take the lead there are resources available.
Grab the Accidental Homeschooler resource on our homepage. Among many other things, this resource gives a few weeks worth of activities–sorted by grade level. Perfect for struggling parents who need a few minutes of free time.
Also, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Exactly how much hands-on time your kids need will depend on their ages. Mandy stresses the importance of independent reading for fun. Kids who read on their own are leaps and bounds of their peers.