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Advice for home learning

Amy is the Principal for the Indiana Digital Learning School. She tells us how she felt at the start of the school closures and gives teachers advice on helping themselves and their students.

Hello all Sumdog teachers out there!

I am Amy, a principal for an online public elementary school.  I wanted to write this blog entry to share with you what my teachers are going through with everything going on in the world right now. 

Yes, we were already working online and at home, but with all that is going on, our lives have changed so much in the last month. Most of us have families and children that are now at home with us 24/7 and it has been quite an adjustment. We have to figure out how to balance our own home and work lives and it has taken a little time to figure it all out.

I have two children who are now completing e-learning while I am working full time to support my school and my teachers. I was freaking out that first week because I wanted to be there for my children, but I knew I also needed to be there for my school.

I decided there had to be a way to make it all work at home and there was… scheduling and flexibility was the only way to balance everything. I created a schedule that could work for myself and my children. We decided that the boys would work on the things they could alone first, and then we would work on things they couldn’t at lunch time and after I was done with work each day. There were days where we rocked it and there were days where they watched YouTube while I was working and didn’t get things completed.

Once they realized that doing that would only make life harder on us all, they quickly realized that they needed to work in order to reap the rewards. I came up with a system of rewards for getting it done. We also added daily chores which are helping them learn more responsibility. They get rewarded with time on their electronics and TV shows they love. We also make sure to have fun family nights where we watch movies and play board games. The best thing that has kept us moving along is letting the boys help me with school. We have a fun online session each week where students can come play Sumdog with each other and talk and share. My sons take turns coming into the session and playing sumdog. 

So enough about my own family. Let me now share what we did for the teachers. We made sure to meet with all the teachers together to come up with a plan to help us all to get through this together. We let the teachers know we are there for support and someone to talk to. Remember that your teacher friends are a great resource for help and strength. I know I am always there to listen when any teachers need me. Also share share share!! It is great to share your ideas with everyone around you. All of us can use all the ideas we can find, and it is the best form of flattery when someone uses it.

The best advice I can give to any teachers is to just be there for your students. Make sure to send them pictures of you at home, send them emails, talk to them via phone and live sessions. Students really miss their teachers and schoolmates getting to see them makes such a huge difference. My kids love being in live sessions and getting to see everyone.  As for awesome things to keep your students using math, Sumdog rules. You can have your students log in, and you can assign assessments to know what they are learning and what they are missing. You can set challenges for them each week to earn coins and keep them growing. My teachers also create competitions to have the students see their classmates playing. This is a great way for the students to feel like they are still in school and on a team.