Coronavirus: Forced Change for Education


All news is focused around the coronavirus pandemic in America and around the world. It is good to be informed, but all day – every day is a bit much for me. My husband and I begin our day with watching the morning news and then turn it off until the evening, but this is our norm.
For others there are many norms being shattered. With all the closures and shutdowns many have time to think and wonder about a range of everyday life impacting matters. For example, the public education system has been brought to a standstill. Many states have closed the K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. This means children are home at least until August 2020, others until September 2020. This single act has spread another pandemic – panic for how children will learn, be educated, not fall behind, graduate, etc.
How about we consider this to be a silver lining for many children, parents and families. We all are hearing advice given by many to take this opportunity and enjoy the simple pleasures of life with family. Many suggestions include read books together, play board games, get in the kitchen to cook together, play sports in your backyard and much more. Remember – these are learning experiences. Research has proven that reading together improves reading skills. Playing board games improves thinking and strategy skills, especially games like Checkers, Chess, Clue and Monopoly. Your children measuring and mixing recipe ingredients help with math and science skills. And of course playing soccer, basketball, touch football or simply throwing a frisbee in the backyard provides exercise as well as enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
Another silver lining is the sharing of available curriculum, online resources, activities and learning opportunities. Many non-profits, small businesses and communities are providing ways for families to enjoy the same benefits and resources homeschooling families partake in everyday. Organizations such as ExcelinEd.org, EdWeek.org, Code.org, Khan Academy, Freedom Project, GreatSchools.org and many more offer a vast array of resources, information and tools. These are wonderful opportunities to engage in your child’s education by providing them individual and unique experiences. These resources can be tailored to your child’s individual interests as well as ensure they are learning the basics. Families will be amazed at how much children can learn when they are engaged and excited about the topic and subject matter. This is what I refer to as covert learning.
Being home and spending more time with family is a good thing for children. They are receiving specialized attention many crave, can help create a schedule that best fits their learning and are in a safe environment. News outlets are reporting families are re-engaging with their children around the dinner table and simply having conversations. All these changes can only improve reading, writing and math skills.
The coronavirus has forced change and we all know how difficult that can be for many. Yet education will be forever changed as we move into the 2020-21 school year. Families are realizing that education can happen anywhere, at anytime, given various situations. The education system will be forced to move out of this mindset that all children must be educated in a classroom.
As the experts, politicians, reporters and community leaders are saying: WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS. We are compassionate. We are innovative. We are strong. We are Americans.
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Dr. Karen Hiltz
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About Dr. Karen Hiltz

Dr. Karen Hiltz is a former member of the Franklin County School Board, VA and is a Writer | Author | Speaker on education issues.
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