During this strange time, parents throughout the Alpha community (and throughout the world) are asking what they can do to best support their children. Our model works because our kids love school. Maintaining their love of the process of learning — the struggle, the failure, and the successes, is just as important as maintaining academic progress over the next couple weeks. Here are three tips for supporting your independent learners:
Have your child pick their Core Skills “schedule.”
There are approximately one billion internet articles about how to create a daily schedule for your quarantined child. We think that approach is overwrought. Here’s our method:
- Alpha students know how to manage their own time — let them! One idea is to agree with your child on schedule blocks. There can be a block for Core Skills (school), an analog block, a digital block, and an outside block. These can be arranged any way the child might like, giving them control and parents a group of diverse activities.
- We suggest students aim for 100 minutes of productive Core Skills time per day. A shorter, more intensely-focused period is more productive than spreading work out over the entire day. It also frees up time for other activities, including playing outside, gaming, taking things apart, and…
- Sleep! We are in the midst of a national sleep crisis. Now’s the perfect time to add to your child’s sleep bank.
Encourage your child to practice self-agency.
Our goal is to make Alpha Anywhere Core Skills as similar to Core Skills at school as possible. That means that even though your student is at home, they are still responsible for setting their own goals, choosing when they switch between subjects, and making their daily check-in with their Guide. They will make mistakes. They will struggle. But all of that is okay! Mistakes create the pathways in the brain that enable deep learning. Struggle can be painful to watch, but it is essential to the process of learning. After all, Learning How to Learn is an Alpha Life Skill.
Let Guides do the Core Skills coaching so you can do the other stuff.
- Your student will have a daily 1:1 video conference with their Guide to discuss their goals, ask questions, and generally chat about school. Guides will also be closely monitoring student data and intervening where necessary.
- All of this means that you can leave the academic coaching to the Guides and focus on the fun stuff. Once Core Skills is over (or before it begins, depending on the schedule your child chooses!) take a walk, watch a movie, read a comic book, build a puzzle, bake a cake — do whatever your family finds fun. There will be many “regular” school days in the future. Lean into the unique nature of this moment — there are many meaningful ways to learn.
Finally, send us photos of your child taking part in Alpha Anywhere at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’ll share them within the community, on the parent Slack channels and social media. We’re socially distant, but we’re all in this together.