Scheduling blues got you down? While it's not quite fall yet, it is September, and that means back to school! For most families, the hardest part is buying supplies and then dropping off their kids for the first day. However, for families who incorporate online classes into their daily schedules, whether as after-school supplements, the whole curriculum, or somewhere in between, things can get just a little more complicated. Advanced Algebra runs at dinnertime every night, Biology started back in July, and Introduction to Chinese doesn't even begin until October! Never fear: Here are our top three tips to lean into the chaos and have fun doing so.
1. Get Organized
Simple as it sounds, when you have a crazy schedule sometimes you have to... schedule. After all, you wouldn't want your kid to miss the first day of Social Studies when everyone's only been paying attention to that Mythology elective that started all the way back in the beginning of August, right?
If a student is planning to mix and match public or private school with online classes, it's even more important to have dates and times written out in advance on a calendar you look at frequently, whether it's in your kitchen or your smartphone. If a brick-and-mortar school student has a special pass to skip Geometry for that awesome AP Calculus live online class, make sure faculty are aware - not just the regular math teacher, but also anyone who might bump into your kid seemingly 'playing hooky' on their computer before the bell rings!
2. All in the Family
For families used to homeschooling, online or not, family time probably already has a prominent place in daily life, and staggered start dates for classes can only add to that closeness. The time in between summer vacation and when school starts 'for real' can be valuable, fun, and, most of all, educational. In the cyberschooling days of my youth, my mom (Donna DiCristofalo, co-founder of My Ivy Education) would take my twin and me to the park, where we'd call Spanish conjugations back and forth on the swings and answer critical thinking riddles while hanging from the monkey bars. We would analyze the themes of movies we watched and study jellyfish and minnows in nearby rivers.
I look back on these times as some of the most precious of my life, and driving back home and logging into that 8:15 PM Honors Chemistry class was all the sweeter for it. Best of all, they're easily adaptable for families who just use online classes as supplements. Why don't Mom and Dad listen in to that after-school Psychology workshop? What could be a better dinner conversation than today's lecture on the lives of the Ancient Romans? This is a great opportunity to experiment and find out what works for you!
3. What's Better Than PBJ? PBL!
At My Ivy Education, we work together with online course content creators whose classes we have thoroughly vetted through our firsthand experiences and relationships. As a result, some of our students may find themselves with a few days after their first two or three classes have begun, but before the rest are up and running. We embrace these times as perfect opportunities to implement one of the most recently studied and lauded advents in education: Project-Based Learning, or PBL. PBL allows us to take group work up a notch, or two, or ten.
PBL is defined as a dynamic approach to education in which students explore the world around them and learn through active, hands-on experiences. A student might create a 3-D model to gain a deeper understanding of a mathematical concept, or present a persuasive essay in the form of a speech from the point of view of a particular historical figure (period costumes optional). At My Ivy Education, our students have the special opportunity to collaborate while they learn, but why not try PBL at home with your own kid in the meantime? There's a 1:1 chance you'll be glad you did.