Parental Guidance / Dark Sarcasm in The Classroom: Home and Distance Learning

Hello, welcome to a special joint edition of the occasional parent and teacher thread!

With so many  schools closed,  districts and teachers are challenged to  throw together online curriculum, parents will have to do homeschooling. It will be like building an airplane while it’s flying.

Here’s a place to ask/ answer questions/ share and get resources.

My teaching experience is in elementary and special ed  where there is less on line and more hands  on work.  I’m going to share some tips that I think will be useful for parents, and invite any high school / college teachers to share what they know in the comments.

  • DON’T panic. There is a lot to contend with in the coming weeks, and work on having your kids use the learning they already have, or catch up on things they still need a bit more practice with to master.  If they fall behind some on –  line thing  – rest assured most kids will!
  • Set a schedule and expectations and be strict about it. Routines are good.
  • School is in session for 6 – 7 hours a day – but there’s lunch and gym, art, and music – actual instruction and “work” is typically less than that. You’ll end up doing more work than  your kids, I promise.
  • READ, READ READ to and with your child, on your own to set a good example and have older students read independently daily.  Not just what the school  says to read , but anything of interest to them.  ( this is #1 for most teachers always and forever)
  • Literacy is more than reading – if you have a chance to discuss a movie or game with your kids, do so. Ask what they think and why.
  • Now is the perfect time to get a book on how to learn cursive ( even if the school doesn’t teach it) do all those mazes and fun little puzzles and worksheets we had when we were younger and they never seem to get in school anymore.
  • Involve kids in aspects of household life – teach them to do their own laundry, have them plan and cook meals, work on a budget with you, fill out the census for together.
  • Find a place in your home where there will always be a mess, and let it be a mess most of the time ( But wash hands and clean things off)
  • Pair preferred things with non preferred things to use as incentive, and factor in breaks. For example -” I need to you work on this for 20 minutes, then you can play your game for 20. ” This goes back to establishing a routine.
  • Go outside if you can, and / or let kids exercise or burn off energy.
  • If they resist and are so- and so’s about it all, use consequences firmly in the beginning. Practice ignoring most of the whining – they may try and test you to see how far you’ll let them go. In my experience, ignoring – not even making eye contact is the hardest ( esp if you have more than one kid) but most effective thing.
  • When you decide on your routine and schedule, factor in times you may be busy if you are working from home and  breaks for yourself for them to be INDEPENDENT.
  • Legos, games, all the cool shit is great, and helps. Experience is a great teacher, especially if you talk to the kids about the why and how of it all.
  • I would avoid too much test prep, even if that’s what your school district  has them do. A little is fine. A lot is bad.


Here is a list of free online school resources:

Free Online Learning Resources for Teaching Your Students Virtually

Here is a good resource for when the kids are being so- and so’s. Also VERY helpful for special needs kids:



We’re in uncharted territory here – again, it’s best to keep kids accessing their learning and applying it.  I would personally lobby your state to cancel any standardized testing this year, if you have the energy for that.

Again, try not to panic and READ READ READ.