The leaves are about to turn. The first noticeable chills are in the air. And the evenings are arriving earlier by the day. It can only mean one thing: it’s officially the back-to-school season.
However, whereas in years past, back-to-school was cause for excitement in both kids and parents, this September carries more mixed emotions. It’s not going to be a typical school year, that’s for sure. The ongoing and unpredictable nature of COVID-19 has left all sorts of things up the air. Will students be in the classroom throughout the year? Will they be safe? Will their education be as effective as in years past?
The only thing a parent can do is to plan for the unknown. Here are four ways to prepare for the strange new school year.
Talk to Your Kids
Allowing your anxieties or theirs to simmer in silence isn’t going to make the problem go away. Especially with older, high-school-aged kids, it’s preferable to have frank, open conversations about what to expect this year. Talk about their feelings, your feelings, and the necessity for safety and diligence throughout the year.
Embrace Online Courses
If you’re concerned about traditional classroom education, consider online schools instead. Like traditional schools, online high schools like Ontario eSecondary School offer university- and college-recognized credits; only their curriculum is online. Students are given a 12-month timeframe to complete a course and can work at their own pace. If they finish sooner, they have time to either pursue their own academic passions or enrol in further courses.
There is no cut-off date for enrolment. If at any time throughout the year, you feel your kid would benefit more from studying online, you can easily make the switch.
Establish Separate Study and Work Spaces
There is a foreseeable chance your kid will be studying at home this year. It’s not a sure thing, but you can still plan for it.
If physical schools close or you enrol your kid in an online school, you will want to accommodate their studies with a separate space. Especially given that you might be working from home for the next little while, it’s doubly essential to establish distinct work and study spaces.
If possible, supply your kid with a room that’s free of distractions in which to study. And provide yourself with a room to focus on your work. If you don’t have access to surplus rooms, ensure that your kid has a dedicated study space set up in their room.
Perform Regular Health Checks and Make Smart Decisions
As per local guidelines, if your kid is attending a physical school, be diligent about self-screening every day. Make sure they understand the necessity for regular hand-washing and mask-wearing. And reinforce how and why to practice physical distance. If your kid is enrolled in online courses this year, make sure they follow proper guidelines when seeing friends or attending public spaces.
It’s not going to be a regular September – in fact, the whole year may be strange. But with a few proactive preparations, you can ensure that your kid has a safe, academically rewarding school year.