By Guest Author
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, several schools and colleges have taken their face to face classes online. This pandemic has also taken its toll on many homeschool support groups and co-ops that would be meeting and learning together during this time.
Now that digital learning has taken center stage, you will need to find ways to effectively communicate and keep the bond you have built in your support group/co-op by converting them to online homeschool co-ops and groups.
Here are five resources that can help you streamline online communication with your group members and keep the learning going in your groups and co-ops.
Sending bi-weekly or monthly newsletters is an effective way to keep everyone involved and engaged. From upcoming events and activities to updates and noteworthy events that took place in the month – your newsletter needs to encompass all these details.
With all the effort you put into creating a newsletter, you want it to be read. So, avoid overwhelming readers with chunks of information. Pick relevant, interesting information, and present it in a visually appealing manner by using pictures, selecting the right fonts and colors.
For instance, with the COVID-19 crisis, you can include coronavirus awareness resources in your newsletter to keep your online homeschool co-ops/groups better informed and provide virtual meet up information to help everyone stay connected.
The importance of schedules cannot be emphasized enough, especially at a time like this when there is so much uncertainty around, making it important to maintain consistency. Schedules cultivate productivity and greater responsibility. When students know what is expected of them, they are likely to be more focused.
Homeschoolers who relied on co-ops and classes outside the home are also adjusting with this change of routine. Help your online homeschool co-op families create detailed daily schedules to introduce a new routine. Make sure you get their feedback on the schedule to ensure it’s conducive to their learning environment and help them tweak it as needed to fit their family.
As a co-op teacher, lesson plans are not new. However, it might be difficult for you to create socially distant activities and ideas to keep your group engaged now.
In an online learning environment, the number of tools, resources, and activities available has changed. You may have to get creative and think outside of the box but group learning is still possible. Use tools, like a poster maker online and encourage students to work together to design a poster for the group. You can also incorporate fun online classroom games and host quizzes using a tool such as Quizlet to add an element of fun and keep students motivated.
It’s also advisable to create simplified lesson plans, making it easy for your online homeschool co-op families to execute. You can suggest worksheets and quick activities that require minimum resources and can be implemented without any hassle.
Even though you will need to rely on technology more so now, don’t be that teacher that makes a dull and insipid PowerPoint presentation – there is nothing more torturous than that for children and adults!
While most of your virtual communication will probably via video conferencing you may still need to present some information from time to time in presentation form. Engage your audience by using visuals and multimedia to effectively captivate your members and capture their attention.
To do this, make sure you simplify your slides, time them well, and use ample graphics to breathe life into it. If you’re worried about your design skills, you can always turn to presentation templates to design one that truly engages your students and their families.
Whether you’re a homeschool support group or a co-op, feedback sessions are fundamental to bridge this physical divide. Design infographic reports that highlight achievements and areas of improvement for the group and for individuals.
Don’t stop at giving feedback to your students and their families – make it a two-way communication. Always end your course with a short online form, asking members to rate the meeting, class, your teaching, and if they have any suggestions for you.
It’s very important to maintain open communication, especially during such trying times. While the lack of face-to-face interaction might make it seem difficult, you should create a communication plan to engage families and address their concerns, if any. So, go ahead and make use of these valuable resources to effectively communicate with your online homeschool co-ops and groups and create an inspiring learning environment.
About the Author
Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she’s not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows.