Here are the questions posed during the webinars, along with our answers! Where I received multiple questions on the same topic, I just combined them.
For specific questions on using the computer and resources provided by your school, you'll need to contact the school.
If you have questions on overseeing Home-Based Learning, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Is it home-based learning or homeschooling?
Q: Will we have access to this presentation after it ends? Can I review the presentation later in my planning?
Q: l am so lost and have no clue where to even start. My boys are very excited to get started . . . where do we start?
First and most importantly, review what your school is providing. The school may have some specific guidelines for your children's engagement with their teachers. If you're having a technical problem, contact the teacher or school, depending on the contact information they've given you. Then, guided by the 8 Elements of Home-Based Learning, I would sit down with your children and discuss the day ahead. Have each of them fill out a schedule of how they will (1) accomplish their schoolwork, and (2) build in other important elements for the day. If I were you, I'd have them schedule the entire day and night, and weekends! . . . Why not? Then, check in throughout the day to make sure they're following their teachers' guidelines and getting their schoolwork completed.
Q: How do you prepare teens emotionally if the junior or senior prom is canceled?
I am grateful to my friend Dr. Hanna for answering this question.
Mohab Hanna, MD, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is the founder of MedPsych Associates (https://www.medpsychhealth.com) in Ramsey and Old Tappan, New Jersey. He also directs the MedPsych Health YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbOW70OH2vIFDP_uDvmQwog
You have to know your teen well. Not all kids need the same kind of preparation. Some kids need to be told up front right now that there is a strong possibility it will get canceled to allow them time to get used to the idea. I have already told my own children to expect that they will be on remote learning for the rest of the school year. Managing expectations is the key. Anxious kids like to know ahead what is going to happen. I would also add that this is an opportunity for your teens to think outside of themselves and to see that missing out on the prom is a disappointment, but not the end of the world. Teens are much more resilient than we think. Help them understand the big picture of what is important in life and that disappointments are part of life and that they are capable of handling these disappointments.
Q: Is there any special order to read the books?
I think parents will benefit immediately from the book Building Executive Function: The Missing Link to Student Achievement. While it is written for teachers, a lot of the tools and ideas will be useful in home-based learning.
Administrators responsible for energizing everyone and keeping the ship afloat will benefit from Students Taking Charge Implementation Guide for Leaders (there's a lot to gain even if your teachers are not running #LATIC).
But they're all great books, if I do say so myself. ;-)
Q: Are there schedule printout resources you can provide?
Q: My son has ADHD and it is extremely difficult to keep him focused during home-based learning. Any tips would be appreciated.
Definitely create a workspace without distractions: no TV in the background, only the resources needed on the desk. Focus is an executive function skill. We do have Focus Cards on MyQPortal — a resource to which schools subscribe. The link here goes to the free content side of the product, so just click on the blue bar that says "Access Free Content Now." Then look to the right and download the PDF file. Print it out, cut it in half, and use one of those each day or in the AM and then PM. Use the same signal each time. You might say, "Let's see how you're doing on focusing on your work. Write down the time and how you feel you're doing." You might ring a bell or make some other noise to trigger the student to stop and self-assess. I would also create a schedule with shorter periods of time to start. For example, work 10 minutes on a math assignment, then have a 2-minute break to walk around, then back for another 10 minutes. As the student succeeds, elongate the time.
Q: What is DDAL again?
DDAL stands for Differentiated Digital Activity List. In the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom (LATIC), students schedule their own time from an activity list that includes required activities, choice activities (i.e., you must learn this but you can choose how: video, text, learning center, etc.), and optional activities (based on interest and level.) Given that in LATIC, students are working to solve an overarching real-world problem, they want to learn more to make their solution better. Without that anchoring problem, you might find that students may not be so excited to choose optional, additional work. ;-) For our client teachers who are designing learning environments where each student has a computer, we recommend making the activity list digital. So many teachers were just thrust into this situation, that we created the free website for them: https://ddal.idecorp.com.
Q: I have 3 children who all need hands-on help. Any recommendation?
Put them each in charge of their own learning! Start the morning by having each of them create a schedule for the day. Let them know you'll be looking to see how good they are at staying on task and sticking to the schedule. Start with activities that are going to be easy for them to do independently, even if it's just writing about their favorite place to visit or playing a game. Let them experience some success with staying on task! If possible, have the older student become an "expert" to help the younger ones. The key is not to do everything for them, but to build structures to support them in taking responsibility for their own learning, such as the following:
Checklists to see that they did what they were supposed to for a particular activity or period of time
"Sulla Dollars" (well, you would use your last name): I'm not a big fan of extrinsic rewards except as a way to move students toward just being excited about their own accomplishments, thus enjoying the intrinsic reward of success. I would not use these with most children, but if you have very young children or those who struggle to focus and stay on task, it could help. At first, you can print out some "dollars" and lay out your expectations: "If you stay working and don't get distracted, you receive a _____ dollar." "If you work all morning without fighting with your siblings . . ." "If you finish this assignment completely, neatly, and to your teacher's expectations . . ." The dollars have to convert to something, so you might create a chart of "rewards" for different amounts.
Q: How do you get a phone away from a high schooler?
I am grateful to my friend Dr. Hanna for answering this question.
Mohab Hanna, MD, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is the founder of MedPsych Associates (https://www.medpsychhealth.com) in Ramsey and Old Tappan, New Jersey. He also directs the MedPsych Health Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbOW70OH2vIFDP_uDvmQwog
Like all parenting decisions, taking a phone away happens in the context of your relationship with your children as well as how you have set limits in the past. Setting limits comes more naturally to some. The idea is that, as a parent, you need to be okay with children being disappointed and upset. That's really hard for some parents. Kids will try to manipulate and negotiate, which, of course, is normal and shouldn't upset you as a parent. You can't take the phone away without preparation. I want you to think of it differently. You must realize that the phone is a privilege that you choose to give to them (as long as you are paying for it). You get to decide the parameters of use, and you get to decide if you will allow them to use it beyond the parameters at your discretion. This needs to be explained to the kids. This is for their benefit. Be prepared to set limits on your own use of the phone so you can model a healthy pattern for them.