Today, August 5th, marks the deadline when parents in TISD had to make a decision about whether or not their kids would be returning in person to school or embracing a 'learning-at-home' model. Other East Texas school districts are navigating these decisions, as well. Though there will be opportunities to make different decisions as the school year progresses, some East Texans have decided to keep their kids at home for the time being.

For parents who are by no means experts at any kind of homeschooling endeavors, doing their best to teach their kids has been quite the challenge. Whether or not this comes naturally to you or your significant other or not, thankfully there are a few things you can implement into your routine that can be advantageous to both your student and your entire family. After discussing this with various teachers, friends, and families, here are a few of the recommendations:

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When it comes to online learning, try your best to find a balance. Obviously, we're beyond grateful for what technology makes possible, especially in times like these. At the same time, too much screen-time isn't good for any of us--especially our little people. Schedule breaks for time outdoors or other ways to refresh their hard-working brains.

Don't hesitate to ask for help. I've heard from teacher friends directly that they miss spending time in the classroom. There are some willing to lend some advice when needed. Contact your school district's office to learn more about what resources are available.

Make learning a family endeavor. As difficult as this situation is, we can re-frame it and let it be something that draws your family closer together. You may want to read to your kids or have them read to each other. Plan safe and educational experiences out of door to teach your kids something that makes what they're learning more applicable in real life. And hey, it's good for adults to learn, too.

Reward their hard work with fun activities. It's easier for all of us to work hard when we know we have something to look forward to. After times of focused learning, invite your kids to help you make a snack they love in the kitchen or plan to play a board game with the family. Bonus? Both of these fun activities are educational, too.

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