How do you find the balance between being flexible with your kids, and holding them accountable for their school work during Covid?

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12 thoughts on “How do you find the balance between being flexible with your kids, and holding them accountable for their school work during Covid?

  1. At first it was horrible trying to find a system that really works for everyone’s schedule. Since my daily schedule was planned around my children’s daily needs before all of this things have changed drastically. I still have to go to work everyday even though they are home. While they are home during the day I call and text to make sure they are doing work first. At first they would do some work and some play. I finally decided to wake them up before I leave for work to make sure they get everything started. They know if everything isn’t finished then they are not allowed to do any free activities. I still have to go to work so there’s no excuse why they can’t properly do school work.


  2. Couldn’t agree more. Give them a voice in their decisions with in your classroom. It’s a powerful way to differentiate organically.

    Another tool some may find helpful is praise. Praise plays a can play a crucial role when holding students accountable. I’m not talking about praising or rewarding every action a student takes. Nor is it as simple as praising a student for the effort they exert. The word “effort” is thrown around so much, I think it’s actually becoming a vague concept.

    Generally, If a student puts time and energy into a task, they are praised for their effort. Is all effort created equal? Focus and find moments where students enact effective effort , the kind that leads to new learning and growth. Those are efforts which should be praised and acknowledged. Students will feel empowered, supported, and more confident in their attempts to meet the standards which have been set for them.

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    1. I was just talking to someone about effort. I see teachers online talking about how kids aren’t putting in effort. And I’m just like how do you know that from the confines of your home? While we are so used to so some of them not doing work in school, sometimes you give up on them. You make assumptions about what they will or won’t do. Funny thing is I have kids submitting work now who I haven’t gotten anything from during the school year. 🤷🏽‍♀️


  3. When my students pose a question like this it provides ample oppurtinity for a reciprocal response…in this case posing another question:

    “What expectations would we reasonably hope for in their position?”

    One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in 7 years of teaching is to dispense with preconceived assumptions about everything: the students, the system, all of it. Compassion and empathy are the bedrock of any successful relationship, for one can be a most creative teacher but without the foundation of those bonds, it is an empty effort because each student has their own story, their own circumstances and their own needs that require openness to understand and approach. As teachers, each of us has our own way of achieving those ends which helps us learn and grow from each other’s example.

    As such, providing familiarity during these troubled times by continuing those routines. Beginning with slides, asking for student-directed discussion, reading and participation, and continuing a class character contest are some of strategies I’ve employed to ease the transition.

    Each child possesses their own unique experiences so differentiation becomes a cardinal virtue rather than an ubiquitous pedagogical pleasantry. Continuing expectations is a tone set by the teacher regardless of where their students are, but circumstances warrant scaffolding in terms of time given to complete assignments, participation on Zoom etc.

    Given our ever increasing responsibilities as not merely educators but counselors, confidantes, surrogate parents, etc. it is more imperative now than ever that we approach this new frontier with firm but just empathy and compassion as our guiding principles.


  4. I took mine out of school before the school woke up……that’s first!……This is NOT a complaint…..but an observation!…..Schools do the best they can with our children given the complexities they face. They have become baby sitting meal providers who happen to have degrees!……Teachers cant even teach anymore due to testing!……SO…… We as parents need to step up our game to insure that OUR children get educated. That said….I wake upevery morning and ask…. Is your online school work done?…..Do you need help or have access to help?……I repeat that about 3 times a day…….lunch time and evening also!……At first they lie!…..Then I give a speach… they know this will never end!… I really care about this. I am in the hisd system in Houston Tx. …7:30 am….!!!…..they call and leave a message… and so missed an on line discussion or two!….Is everything ok?…..A real teacher!….a real village!……no excuses…..from parents……or teachers…..

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  5. I don’t think there’s an answer. Going back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs from college… this is it. Students that are able to do the work enjoy the normalcy. I think they find comfort in the quasi school routine. Seeing my students on Zoom is now the highlight of my day. For students that have now taken on different roles, they cannot be expected to complete work. It’s really a student by student basis at this point. I don’t have a plan yet on how to get the students that are temporarily exempt back with the rest of the class. Hard question.

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  6. As a parent who is working from home And trying so make this adjustment to the “new norm.” I try to be understanding as well that my child is going through the same thing. There are countless amounts of distractions throughout the day which Make it hard to achieve that in school / at work feel. I do also feel it is a necessity to break up the day with different activities such as craft ,games or things like that to help The mind function properly. This is all new and is a different type of structure that we are not use to. There has to be a balance Between work time and playtime. I set a certain amount of assignments for my daughter to have done before her break begins. She knows it is her responsibility to complete these before break. I encourage fun but also make it known that her work is top priority. It’s definitely challenging and there is no easy answer. This is a learning experience that we’re all going through right now, And the daily challenges of managing work, emails, Google classrooms, teacher notifications and more are all things that require constant flexibility. We be ready to make changes when required.

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  7. During this time, my husband and I still have to work which makes online learning a bit difficult, however; we make it work the best way possible. We treat the weekdays just as if physical school was still in session. The kids still have a specific bedtime. There are no video games throughout the week and cell phone are put away at a certain time. The kids are still required to get up in the mornings, not as early, to start their days . My oldest is self sufficient and able to log into Google classroom independently. He still requires frequent check ins to ensure he’s on track to finishing everything by 3:45. We still have him go outside for “recess”. After things are completed and checked, he is free to watch television for a bit.

    My 4 year old is in “pre pre k” and he still has weekly assignments , including phonics, math, Spanish, Korean, etc. we try to keep him on track as well so whichever family members are keeping them that day will typically help out to get those assignments completed. My 2 year old likes to think she’s in school so she joins in from time to time.

    Since we are still working, we do try to incorporate a designated “family time” during the week to let the kids know that we haven’t forgotten about them. Finding balance is tough but so necessary.

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  8. I honestly set up a schedule for my kid but it varies depending on the day sometimes. My son has ADHD and some other mental health, so it is important that I keep some structure going for him. I do not put all the pressures of school on him, it is a more relaxed learning environment when it comes to completing his assignments. We usually start by 10:30/11 he completes two assignments and then breaks. Around 2pm after lunch and some fresh air he completes his last two assignments. He also has a choice of what two assignments he wants to do in the am/pm. I am getting ready to start adding in art, music, etc.. to his schedule but that is my own twist to this home school life. Overall all his work must be completed and I think it is important to still put his best foot forward even though it’s home school.

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  9. Well as a parent of 3, kids 2 school aged, one in elementary and one in middle school, we have been sticking to a schedule since day one. I have them get up every morning by 8:30 at breakfast and go for a walk/bike ride or “PE class. We start “school” by 10 am Sitting at the kitchen table. They take a break from 11:30-2:30 for lunch, chores, free time. BAck to schook from 2:30-4pm and then start it again the next day. Friday’s we have a “Fri-Yay” schedule and they can do their work anywhere they want, couch, floor whatever, as long as I can see what they’re working on. We do all the school work from 9-12 and then they’re free for the day. I haven’t limited screen time during these past three weeks, although their devices are set up with screen time through Apple, once they go over their allotted time I just approve them for an hour here and there if they request additional time. We have stayed up late and watched movies, baked cookies and have genuinely enjoyed this time. We’re pretty much homebodies anyway lol although I wish I could get my regular groceries more easily. I’m sick and tired of empty supermarkets 😫. All in all it’s gone pretty smooth, work is getting done. I’m not too frazzled. But I def appreciate the teachers a lot more than before.


  10. Speaking as both a parent and teacher, it stinks! Trying to find balance during this time is hard! As a teacher, it’s important to consider what our students are going through personally and emotionally. This isn’t an ideal situation for a lot of kids. I try to make myself available and provide as much support that I can for them to stay on track during virtual learning. Between Zoom, google classroom, remind, e-mails and google hangouts, I try to stay on top of them so they aren’t discouraged and disappear altogether. As a parent, I know for a FACT that my kids weren’t built for virtual learning. They thrive and are more successful in a classroom with their daily routines. Trying to balance being a teacher and a parent is sooo challenging during this time. And as brutal as it sounds, if I have to choose between educating my kids or educating someone else’s kid , I have to choose work! I need to provide, so unfortunately there are days when my kids get less of me. However, in both instances, they still need to do their part. They need to meet us at least a quarter of the way lol! Putting even a little bit of effort is all we need to know that there is potential. But as far as finding a balance, I haven’t found it yet!

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  11. First off…. Lots of trial and error every single year!

    Secondly, I believe there needs to be days that are fun, days with competition, days that are strictly intended for a specific skill, days that are no fun, movie days, test days, etc.

    Also, I think choice is a huge component to being flexible and holding students accountable. Allowing students to choose a project topic, or choose an option for extra credit, or choose a historical figure to write about, or choose between 3 different exit tickets, etc. is a good technique to give students the ability to make their own decision but they are still being held to a high standard no matter what their decision is.

    Lastly, feedback is extremely important. The more feedback given to students both verbally and in witting or online or via email will keep students feeling accountable for their work. When they know that you are thoroughly analyzing their work, no matter how simple/fun/difficult the assignment is, then they will keep trying their best (hopefully!!).

    I could probably write about this question for days!!!! But I’m going to end it there. 🙂

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