A grandmother’s ‘Adventures in Homeschooling’

Wyatt Lauricella and his grandmother Cheryl Lauricella worked together to master learning from home. CONTRIBUTED
Wyatt Lauricella and his grandmother Cheryl Lauricella worked together to master learning from home. CONTRIBUTED

Both of my 9-year-old grandson’s parents have been “essential” workers throughout the COVID-19 closure, so in March I became a homeschool teacher overnight.

It was challenging to find routines, resources and, at times, patience, but Wyatt and I finally found our groove. Here are a few of the things that helped us get to a comfortable homeschooling routine.

The first step to learning at home successfully is getting organized with an organized work space with supplies easily accessible. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY CHERYL LAURICELLA
The first step to learning at home successfully is getting organized with an organized work space with supplies easily accessible. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY CHERYL LAURICELLA

1. Be organized

Number 1, as I’m sure any distance learning instructor would say, is Be Organized.

When the school closure first occurred back in March, I wasn’t prepared. I learned that I needed to have a plan for each day’s work, and all the resources we would need to use, prepared the night before.

Our school workspace was the table in our dining nook. I kept a basket with supplies (tape, glue, scissors, ruler, etc.) and another bin for pencils and markers within easy reach. I taped a sheet of paper on the wall with the “schedule” for that day. This included lessons in Reading/Social Studies, Math, interspersed with chores, snack and lunch times, “stretch breaks (PE)” and “fun breaks (recess).”

My grandson is energetic and needs structure in order to do well, as most kids his age probably do. He needed to have me closeby most of the time in order to maintain focus. I might have washed a dish occasionally, but for most of our school time, I was nearby, providing guidance and encouragement.

There were days when he was tired or restless, and I learned that I needed to adjust my expectations. Lessons unfinished could be completed the next day, thus avoiding a lot of frustration on both our parts.

ExploreNEWS IN EDUCATION: How to get free access to ePaper for learning plus educational lessons

2. Be patient

So, I guess that brings us to lesson Number2, which is Be Patient with yourself and your learner.

Most of the resources we used were available directly from my grandson’s school website. We continued scaled-down lessons throughout the summer and, fortunately, there are a ton of great resources available online, from children’s museums, Newport Aquarium, educational TV programming, and lots of great resources from Dayton Metro Library and Greene County library.

ExploreLooking for support for your student? Where you can get ’HelpNow’

Wyatt liked BookFlix, CoolMathGames, and educational videos from Crash Course Kids. I found excellent free or low-cost worksheets and activities from Education.com and TeachersPayTeachers.

Wyatt Lauricella and his grandmother Cheryl Lauricella became learning from home partners last spring and discovered a wealth of resources, including a little creativity, along the way. CONTRIBUTED
Wyatt Lauricella and his grandmother Cheryl Lauricella became learning from home partners last spring and discovered a wealth of resources, including a little creativity, along the way. CONTRIBUTED

3. Be Creative

The next lesson is to Be Creative. Learning can take place anywhere. Cooking can teach math, and creeks at the park can be science lessons. Dancing and a backyard obstacle course were our favorite PE classes. Teaching moments are everywhere if you look for them.

ExploreA mom and teacher's guide to surviving school at home

4. Be Open

Now that Wyatt is returning to school physically, I am taking a breather, but I feel pretty sure there will be times more homeschooling is needed at Grandma’s in the coming months, and I will be ready. If you find yourself being a homeschool teacher, Be Open.

You will learn a lot as you help your child, and you will love that feeling you get when you see their face light up when the math lesson clicks and they get it! You will find what works for you and your learner. And remember you’re not alone. Talk to other parents and professional educators for help and suggestions.

Contributing writer Cheryl Lauricella is retired from the Wright State University library and is a writer, quilter, gardener and grandma.

ExploreTurn to your newspaper every day for resources and tips to help your family master learning from home

Share your best learning from home tips and resources

With the arrival of the new school year, many districts throughout the region are beginning the year remotely or splitting time between the classroom and home.

To help connect students, parents and teachers with additional resources, every day in Life we will provide an educational lesson from our partners at News In Education.

We also invite teachers, caregivers or educational community groups throughout the region to share ideas for lessons or fun educational activities from home for K-12 students, as well as tips and tricks for successful learning from home including getting organized, creating routines, setting up effective learning workspaces, plus fun ideas for exercise breaks, art and craft projects, nature play, science experiments you can safely do at home, nutritious lunch and snack ideas and more.

To submit a guest article for publication, please send in an article no more than 500 words, along with a related photo to life@coxinc.com with the subject line Learning at Home.

If you have questions or want to learn more about this project and how you can help, please contact Life section editor Michelle Fong at Michelle.Fong@coxinc.com.