Staying in a Routine and Using Your Resources During COVID-19

AROUND THE NEK- Across the nation, parents are being faced with a challenge most were unprepared for, having to homeschool their children during a pandemic. Some schools are attempting to hold remote classes for students, while others have opted to send materials home with their students.


With schools in the state of Vermont shutting its doors for the rest of the school year due to COVID-19, parents are searching for unique ways to educate their children in the best way possible. 


Janel Hanrahan, an Atmospheric Science professor at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, has a son in kindergarten. On top of transitioning all of her classes to remote instruction, Hanrahan has had to come up with ways to educate her son at home. When it was first announced that schools would be closing temporarily, Hanrahan said that her son’s teacher had students bring home worksheets for them to complete while they were away. Now that students won’t be returning to class this school year, teachers are scrambling to figure out the next best thing to in-person instruction. 


“The school is planning to provide us with more resources, but it is not quite clear what those resources will look like. A Facebook Live or video of that nature for students is not out of the question.” Hanrahan explained. 


Having a routine and sticking to it has been the key to successful homeschooling in the Hanrahan house. With the types of jobs she and her husband have, the routine has made it so they can get their job done, and their son, Caden, can still learn.


“We have created a schedule to follow Monday through Friday. During this, he has creative time, outdoor time and reading time. His schedule is the same for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while the schedules for Tuesday and Thursday are the same. We do this to help him differentiate between the weekdays and the weekends. He thrives on routine, so if he gets bored he can get up and check the schedule to see what’s coming up next.”


Outdoor time is typically spent with Janel Hanrahan’s husband, Ryan. “My husband has been bringing him outside for an hour every morning. We have a map of our property and he will find his way around the property by using a compass. This helps him learn how to tell direction, as well as figure out how to get home using the compass. They’ve also been finding animal tracks and droppings and using them to figure out where the animals are coming from.”


Hanrahan, on the other hand, does a lot of activities in the house that she tries to get her son involved with. “I do a lot of the cooking, so I try to get him to help me out with that. We work on math together, and I help him learn about measuring.”


Hanrahan’s son also participates in virtual “academic time” with his grandmother. This, in itself, has many benefits for the entire family, according to Hanrahan. “For an hour and a half, they work on math and other exercises. With this, he gets additional academic time while we are given time to work. It’s also good for his grandma because she is also in isolation.”


Overall, Hanrahan reports that homeschooling has gone much smoother than she expected, but Caden misses going to school and seeing his teacher and classmates.