New Normal: Tips for At-Home Learning

by Brandon Harms, Professional Learning Consultant
April 06th, 2020

left arrow All Blog Posts

I’d like to talk to you about this paradigm that’s shifted in education. In the United States, we have found ourselves in a situation where the majority of students are being homeschooled. Caregivers, parents, grandparents, family members are taking care of and homeschooling kids, and for the most part, this was probably never anything you expected to do.

I want to start by saying, “you’re doing great!” There is no one right way to do this. We’re all in the same boat trying to figure this out as we go. I have a few tips that might help you.

Talking About Mathematics is the New Worksheet

Avoid worksheets if you can. The idea of worksheets is fairly antiquated. It is important for students to practice the algorithms, the procedures in mathematics, but there is far more gained from having a conversation. I would like to propose that talking about mathematics is the new worksheet. Anytime you’re thinking, “what should I have my child do to practice math?” you’re better off talking about math. Have them tell you what they did. Ask them questions. Ask them, “Why did you do that? How did you come to that solution? Can you explain that to me?” 

In many cases, some of you may be thinking that this is “new math” that the kids are doing. While it’s not really new math, we have shifted the paradigm from when we were in school as students learning mathematics. That math instruction was more rote, with more emphasis on memorizing, doing worksheets, and completing pages in the book. Now we’ve realized that students need more opportunities to discuss mathematics with another human, to talk about their reasoning, to work through things together, and to engage in productive struggle.

Prioritize Substance and Quality Over Time

This new paradigm, students being at home and trying to take learning to the household can be tricky. There is no way you’re going to spend just as much time with your child at home as they would in school. Think about that substance and quality over time.

Remote Learning Doesn’t Have to Be Digital

In many instances, we have a lot of digital resources out there. That’s the only way, nor is it always the best way to learn. Consider both digital and non-digital learning. Sometimes it’s great to get in the kitchen, pull out those measuring cups, engage in that productive struggle in the real world and figure it out. Other times it might be more beneficial based on your schedule and what you have going on in your household to have them working on the computer. Remote learning doesn’t have to always be digital.

Give Students Choices

This is something teachers have been doing for a long time, especially when we have a situation where a student might struggle. We like to give students choices so they feel like they’re in charge. Choices can be a wonderful way to help with buy-in, and getting students on board for spending the time they need to work on problems and content.

Do you have tips for navigating this new normal we’re all living in? Share with us in the comments or on social media using #NewNormal.


Subscribe to Our Blog