As advised by the Ministry of Education, 'confinement' should not be the equivalent of an early summer vacation for schoolchildren. However, for a majority of parents, confinement is not synonymous with vacation or partial unemployment, but with working from home.
It is therefore important to structure the weekday between working and taking care of the kids. When both parents are working from home, it is advised to split the time between working and taking care of the kids. For example, one parent can work in the morning while the other takes care of the kids, and vice versa in the afternoon. In the evening, both parents get in a couple more hours of work once the kids are in bed.
Although it can be a difficult and uncertain time, with a little planning and organisation, you can ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for you and your family. Check out our tips for working from home during the confinement.
Maintain the same schedule
It's very easy to sleep in until midday when we don't have any obligations to get up. However, during the confinement, organisation is even more important than usual to prevent us from giving in to the temptation of lazing around in front of the TV all day.
If your kids are in elementary school, be sure to respect the same school hours in order to maintain the same rhythm while working from home. If school normally starts at 9 am, everyone should wake up at 8 am, have breakfast, brush their teeth, get dressed and be ready to start class.
Plan for one or two breaks in the morning for about 15 minutes to make time for some recreational activities. Try to avoid letting your child watch tv during their break, even though we realise that it's not always easy.
Between 12:00 to 14:00, it's time for lunch break and a nap for younger children. Then you'll be able to finish by 16:30 with a short break at 15:15 before finishing off the school day.
For highschool students, the best way to stay organised is to follow the same timetable in school while working from home. This means that each day will be different. Older students will be more autonomous and better able to manage their own time, even though you should check in once in a while to make sure they haven't given up their school books for video games or Netflix.
By organising the day as you would any regular school day, this prevents students from having to work in the evenings and before meals, particularly when everyone may be tired and on edge.
One of the issues that highschool and middle school students may face, is that the servers set up by the Ministry of Education may be overloaded and not functioning properly. It may be a good idea to connect earlier in the morning and later in the evening in order to download material. You may also wish to get in touch with your child's teachers directly to find out if there are any other solutions adopted depending on the school. Some teachers may use email and other applications such as Zoom to continue lessons online.
Split up your working time
Younger children will not be able to concentrate the whole morning on one single subject. Their attention will be limited, especially for students that are still in primary school. It's a good idea to divide the school day up in order to cover a number of subjects following their regular timetable. For example:
- A half an hour of mathematics
- A half an hour of history
- A half an hour of reading and writing
- A half an hour of science
- A half an hour of geography
- A half an hour of painting
- A half an hour of languages
- A half an our of music...
Also remember to divide the time between lessons, exercises and corrections.
The same goes for older students in middle school and high school. Try to divide the time between lessons, exercises and correction even if lessons generally last one or two hours. One of the advantages for older students, is that they will still be partially supported by their teachers online. You'll just have to remember to check in to make sure that they are following up with their work.
Use other tools to continue classes from home during the confinement
During this period, several online platforms have proposed solutions to give students and their parents access to free educational materials.
Check out national and provincial news channels for students to continue learning during the confinement.
The government of Ontario has recently launched an online learning program for students to continue learning during the covid-19 pandemic. This e-learning website provides a number of literary and math resources which have been developed by Ontario-certified educators.
For High School students from Grade 9 to Grade 12, there are a number of excellent resources for students including Foundation of Math, Physics and Science developed by the Ontario College of Teachers. The e-learning platform provides interactive support for students to continue learning from home.
TVO has also organised programs from younger students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 to watch online educational programs. These programs feature a range of topics in subjects including math, languages and the sciences.
Online platforms and E-books
Using online platforms can be a great way to change your child's habits and offer more innovative ways of learning. Explore museums and cultural sites around the world virtually, such as the Louvre museum in Paris, the Virtual Museum of Canada, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Check out the websites Scholar's Choice for a huge variety of digital eduction resources. Here a list of other great resources you'll be able to find online:
- Canadian Electronic Library
- Open Access Free Ebook Collections at Concordia University
- ECampus Ontario Open Library Portal
- Open eBooks
There are dozens of free ebooks available online. Publishing companies such as Jeulin, Belin and Hachette are offering a number of free textbooks. Others such as Bordas, Nathan, Retz and Le Robert are offering free access to all of their books from elementary school to high school, from the website Adistance. You can access materials based on your class, subject and level.
No need to ban Netflix and YouTube. There are a number of interesting programs and educational tools.
On Youtube :
- Crash Course for world history, ecology, biology and literature
- The Great Gastby: for an overview of World War 2
- The Brain Scoop for Natural history
- Looking Glass Universe for calculus and quantum mechanics
- Minute Physics: for physics lessons
Documentaries on Netflix
- Our Planet for Ecology
- The Great Dates of the Second World War on history,
- The Mysteries of the Universe on science,
- Planet Earth, night over animals and ecology,
- Roman Empire on Ancient Rome,
- Mysterious black holes in science,
- The brain in brief, scientific audiovisual documentary series,
- Hitler and the circle of evil, historical documentary ...
To keep our eyes away from a screen, there are also many interesting podcasts
- UNpopular Farmer for education and business
- CBC Podcasts in Class- Free education resource for Canadian students
- The Secret Life of Canada on history, geography, social studies, indigenous studies and anthropology
- Tai Asks Why for languages, science, environment and social studies
It is an unprecedented situation we are now living, with thousands of people around the world living in quarantine. No one knows how long it will last, so it's a good idea to remain organised and to stay flexible to deal with the situation in the best way possible.
Living in confinement is no easy feat. We have all experienced feelings of isolation and frustration from not being able to carry out our lives normally. No matter what age, we may feel isolated and find it difficult to not be able to see our friends and family. Try to remain flexible.
It's important to continue with the school program, but confinement is also an opportunity to slow down, to strengthen our family ties, to learn differently and to live in the present moment. Teachers and educators are here to support you and help your child to continue learning from home. There's no need to put too much pressure on yourself. Do the best that you can with the means and the time that you have. Enjoy the time you have as a family.
In the afternoons, you could also spend time doing other activities, such as cooking, painting, coloring or playing music. You can give your children time to call and keep in touch with their friends and family members.
Finally don't forget to make time for some physical activities or exercise every day. Half an hour to an hour of dancing, aerobics, cardio exercises, and stretching can be a lot of fun for the whole family.
Our thoughts are with you during this period of confinement!
Check out our article for more tips on how to take online lessons during the confinement.