A) Identify your MUSTS
– What are the school testing requirements (AP exams, college application deadlines, midterms/finals, etc.)?
– What are the college application requirements (key dates, tasks, virtual tours, etc)?
– Any other academic content requirements or important dates (project or big assignments)?
B) Set the Schedule
– You may have the opportunity to use ANY schedule that works best (which, frankly may not be Monday- Friday 8-3pm.) Teens often need more sleep than they’re getting. Perhaps starting later, doing a shorter day for 6 days a week… or 5 days a week, but with Wed or Thursday off for a virtual field trip and social activities.
– Thoughts on eating breaks, social breaks, field trips, other activities – Often, a group of kids all have different interests and skills, maybe three want to prep lunch for everyone else, and two kids can lead a yoga class or work out in the mornings, and another couple can be in charge of researching cool virtual experiences or college tours.
– Finding ways to creatively entertain themselves can be great for emotional well-being as well. Music, plays, improv, painting, drawing, Maybe a few of the kids can organize this sort of activity as a way to minimize time on social media or at minimum create a culture of “create before you consume”.
C) Teen-Specific Considerations
– Learning Types (independent-learners who know when they need assistance or get stuck, guided-learners who work best with prompts and reminders and regular check-ins, and easily-distracted learners who may need shorter, more focused sessions, with minimal potential distractions) Each teen can self-identify then set up their workspace and work schedule accordingly.
– Anxiety and Depression (teens are at a huge risk right now, as if senior year with exams and dating and college applications wasn’t stressful enough!) So regular discussions with the kids about keeping an eye on each other, checking in when someone seems withdrawn, stops eating, or seems to be acting “differently” than normal, might be really important.
– Find a few Facebook Academic Homeschooling and Outschooling Groups (local or otherwise since most is virtual anyway now) for recommendations on subject matter experts for specific questions if teacher access is limited or to help students through specific projects or assignments.
D) Location Considerations
– Find or create a space that is quiet, with access to outdoors/nature, with sufficient space for the kids to really spread out (if possible!).
– Designate different areas as “Total Quiet Zones,” “Whisper Zones,” & “Social Zones.”
– Designate a cell-phone basket for devices that can be accessed only during specified breaks.
– Incorporate physical activity (obviously great for teen mental, emotional, and physical health). Setting up a morning yoga class, or jogging group, basketball hoops, soccer, online karate or dance… ANYthing the kids are likely to get excited about (or at least tolerate) once a day would be fantastic!