Homeschooling tips for the coronavirus shutdown

These ideas will help you teach from home—even if you’re not a teacher.

On the first day that her school district in Sherman Oaks, California, closed its doors because of coronavirus, April Grant woke up early, ready to help her 7-year-old son start learning virtually from a teacher-recommended education website. “I thought, ‘No sweat!”” she says. Then she tried to log on to the lessons. “After trying the 50 or 60 most-likely passwords, and having no luck contacting an actual person at the company, I did what any sane parent would do: I emailed an annoyed support request and … turned on the TV.”

Forced school closing: 1. Homeschooling: 0.

With coronavirus safety measures closing many schools indefinitely, you also might have conflicting emotions. Like, “Yay, my kids are safe at home!” and “Yikes, I am not a teacher! How will they learn?” If you can’t imagine creating a day of lessons, take heart. Buckling down for hours at a desk isn't realistic—it’s not even how kids learn in a classroom. “Research shows that a 10-year-old child has about a 10-minute attention span on any particular task,” says Laura Chang, 2019 Michigan Teacher of the Year and reading intervention specialist at Sunset Lake Elementary in Vicksburg. “If we’re talking about a kindergartner, that’s about a five-minute activity.”