Four DIY Distance Learning Ideas While Homeschooling

by Saladin Allah

pictured above: educator Saladin Allah with students at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center

With the national economy coming to a grinding halt and educational institutions shutting down to help flatten the coronavirus curve, many parents and guardians now find ourselves in a unique homeschooling situation that we, and many of our school districts, were not prepared for. I would like to share some of those ideas to make the best out of teaching our children at home. 

   1. Don’t Worry, Be Resourceful. Find out what your child’s grade level learning targets are. If you want to know for sure what your child’s learning targets are reach out to their teacher and find out. I am sure they would be more than happy to give you that information! As parents and guardians our job is to provide added resources to support our child’s learning targets and competency standards. In other words, if your child has a Social Studies assignment about Ancient Egypt, there are many resources online, especially on YouTube, that you can share with them. If it is Math, no problem. You may not know the weird math your child is learning but someone does and there are resources online and offline to support them. 

Educator Saladin Allah keeping students active and focused during learning sessions

  2. Physical Education is Every Day. According to various studies regarding life spans, the present generation is the first generation that is expected to not outlive their parents and guardians. A combination of sedentary lifestyles, obesity, poor diets and other issues are the causative factors. With the social climate around COVID-19, this is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the importance of health and wellness. Encourage some form of physical activity for your child EVERY DAY. Use the TikTok app or YouTube for some fun dance activity. Also, join them! In regards to diet and eating the right foods, include healthy snacks in your daily routine and easy to prepare healthy meals that promote optimum health. Health is Wealth!

   3. Don’t Forget The Life Skills. Use this time to incorporate basic life skills in your daily routine. Teaching a child how to separate, wash and dry clothes, garden, how to use certain computer programs, clean the bathroom and numerous other tasks that they will need later in life is priceless. These tasks are usually not even taught in school and this is a unique opportunity to school them. Plus you can make these tasks fun.

Educator Saladin Allah one on one with student

   4. Your Home is the Classroom. Distance learning does not mean to replicate our child’s classroom at home. You are now the teacher, again. I say “again” because you were the first teacher to begin with. So make your child’s learning environment yours. You determine the structure, time period and resources to support your child’s learning environment. If the first thing in the morning you want your child to do is read for fifteen minutes, cool. If you want them to watch a ten-minute national geographic video while they eat breakfast, do it. If they usually have math after lunch in school and you want them to knock it out in the morning, that is all good. Do what works for them, and you, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Also, if you have children in different grade levels, delegate, delegate, delegate. The older children are your TA [Teacher’s Assistant]. 

In closing, I hope  that these ideas are not only helpful in making distance learning run smoother but also minimize the stress that many of you are feeling from being thrown in this unpredictable position. You have more skills, tools and resources than you may know or even give yourself credit for. So don’t stress, you got this, and when you want support that is what we are here for as teachers.

Saladin Allah is an Author [S. Quanaah], Educator, Human Rights Commissioner in the City of Niagara Falls and Founder of the Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters [Google #AtlantisBuild] who attended Central State University. Email: atlantisbuild@gmail.com and follow him on  @atlantisbuild on IG