Kern County In Depth: Oil prices sink, educating your kids at home during the pandemic

Kern County In Depth

17’s Jim Scott discusses the fallout from oil prices sinking into the negative with president of the Western States Petroleum Association Cathy Reheis-Boyd. Plus, Bakersfield High School teacher Jeremy Adams gives advice for parents who are feeling frustrated as they become primary educators for their kids as they stay-at-home.

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The Kern County Superintendent of Schools has offered tips and advice for parents as schools remain closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You can’t just flip a switch and expect teachers and parents to adapt to distance learning overnight,” Superintendent Dr. Mary Barlow said. “Our parents are under a great deal of pressure and we are all up against a pretty steep learning curve, but with every new challenge, comes opportunity. I believe this new partnership with parents and the shift to distance learning can transform the future of teaching and learning.”

Below are some tips to help provide a balance for learning at home.

Understand your role

Parents are not expected to take the place of their students’ school teachers. Instead, parents should play a support role. A good rule of thumb is to keep your children engaged and thinking critically. Even though staying home from school might feel like a holiday, remind your children that they are not on vacation.

Make space for learning

Your children will achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable, and dedicated space devoted to learning. Ideally, this will be a different space than where they normally play games or watch television.

Set clear expectations

Parents should build time into their remote work day to assist with their students’ learning and schedule other activities they know their children will be able to do independently. Consider scheduling “office hours” when you’re available for school-related questions.

Show empathy

Allow yourself, your children, and their teachers some latitude and grace during these unprecedented times. Understand you are not going to have all the answers and this transition is not going to be perfect. Acknowledge this is not an ideal situation for anyone and give yourself permission to be flexible.

Plan your work and work your plan

Good planning can relieve stress for both children and parents. Check-in with your kids about their plans and help them develop a written schedule not only for the day, but for the week. Help them prioritize and learn to create goals, tasks, and deadlines, just like adults do when they go to work. Tasks that may not have been difficult for them while attending school in person can become more challenging when learning from home, so it’s important to create routines and offer incentives for healthy behaviors.

Take regular digital recesses

Make sure your children take plenty of breaks from computers in order to get time away from screens. Set alarms similar to those students would encounter at school and encourage them to get up, get some fresh air, have a snack and participate in physical activities.

Encourage reading

When in doubt, have your children read. When you have time, read with them. For younger readers, consider using audiobooks. If you can’t do anything else, have your children read!

Identify and use supplemental resources

Utilize any and all available resources to enhance independent learning, such as online games, education videos, educational TV (KETN / http://dothemathonline.net/), audio books, or virtual fieldtrips. Visit https://kern.org/at-home-learning/ for additional information and resources.

Ask for help

Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. For parents working with multi-aged children, take a team approach and ask older siblings to help support younger students. Do not hesitate to check-in with your child’s teacher for tips and guidance. Additionally, reach out to other parents to see what they’ve found effective. It is important that we all work together as a community for the good of our children and families.

Don’t forget to have fun

It is rare for parents and children to have this much time together, so turn it into an opportunity for bonding. Organize family card tournaments, play board games as a family or simply get outside for a hike or walk at the end of the day. Remember, your relationship with your child is what’s most important at this time.

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