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Emma and Chloe Benson, pictured from left, have benefited from their mom Sharlene’s own experience with online school as they work through their semester remotely.

Past home schooling and online classes give some parents a unique perspective amidst ‘crisis schooling’

Holyoke is rapidly coming up on the two-month mark since kids were last at school. For more than five weeks, teachers have been teaching remotely and students have been completing their assignments from home. Though the semester will be over within the month, there are certainly at least a few who are in the thick of it and can’t quite see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

Some people out there have taken to calling the current system of unplanned remote learning “crisis schooling.” It’s unlike anything else. The kids are at home, but it’s not home schooling. The teaching’s done online, but it’s not online school. Those things are intentional, but the current situation was thrust upon everyone involved with little notice.

Nevertheless, there’s something to be garnered from the experiences of people who have been through home schooling or online school. They know a thing or two about learning outside of a traditional classroom, and their insight may be helpful for struggling students and parents.

Take Sharlene Benson who has been studying elementary education through Grand Canyon University since 2018. She just recently finished her online classes and will be student teaching in the fall.

For someone who’s never taken classes online, its unique challenges may not be immediately apparent.

Benson pointed out that online learning puts more responsibility on the student to learn content on their own. Especially if there isn’t a set class time, it requires self discipline to get work done on time. Her advice is to set a schedule — even if it’s not required — and follow it.

“It is easy to push off things until the last minute when you only have a deadline once a week,” she said.

Amanda Brown offers similar advice.

Brown began home schooling her daughters Emmy, 15, and Elly, 14, the year after they finished second grade and kindergarten. She recognizes that different things work for different people but maintains that “structure is your friend.”

She recommends getting schoolwork done first thing in the morning. Many households see the dining room table transformed into a makeshift desk when schooling is done at home. If assignments are started in the morning, lunch can be a good incentive to get done soon enough to clear off the table to eat.

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