Home school teacher offers parents tips amid closings due to coronavirus

Schools across the country will be closing beginning Monday as fears of the spread of the coronavirus continue. This will create a unique situation where students will be expected to begin distance learning or online courses during that time despite not actually being at school.

The “home school” environment is nothing new to former North Carolina teacher Ana Buckmaster, who transitioned from teaching in a classroom to teaching her two daughters at home a few years ago. She is now offering advice for parents during their children’s time away from school.


“Hello, homeschool refugees!” she said. “You’re gonna be OK!”

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Buckmaster said parents should consider this a “new adventure” and offers the following advice:

“Make a daily routine and stick to it. If you want to ease off of it later, that’s fine, but if you start off like a vacation, you’ll never get them to shape up in the event that this shutdown lasts longer than initially planned.

“Have your kids get dressed, eat breakfast, and sit in the same places every day for school. They won’t take things seriously if they’re wearing pajamas. It’s a mindset; we get dressed even if we know we’re not going anywhere later.

“Set rules about technology. This is a great time to teach kids how to be resourceful with the internet. My 8th grader loves TikTok and Instagram, and she’s always getting texts, but I taught her how to hide her alerts during the school day so she’s not distracted. She uses her phone for school a lot (we have a few apps that we incorporate) and she has no problem getting her work done. If your child is impulsive, you’ll want more control than that of course. Know your kids.

“Find documentaries that fit their interests. Watch them with your kids. Talk about whatever seems to excite them. If you’re not sure what topics to try, I always say to start with ocean animals like Planet Earth. That fascinates everyone and is less likely to have bloody scenes or awkward mating scenes. Anyway, there’s lots of educational programming on your streaming services.

“Praise their efforts. Don’t just look for mistakes. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Even if it’s all wrong, at least acknowledge their handwriting or that they showed their work.

“GIVE THEM CHORES. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.

“For most of you, this is only temporary, so try to stay positive and they’ll be back in school before you know it.”