AS MILLIONS of parents around the world grapple with the school closures in the past weeks, and having no idea when they’ll be opened, something has to be done to occupy the young minds. Many schools have been hastily scrabbling together remote learning plans, but things are going to be chaotic and unstructured and that’s something we’ll all have to learn to deal with.
The bottom line is, we, as parents, have to find productive ways to engage the restless young people at home 24/7. The key is not to panic, but also not to bury our head in the sand. These are tough times, but there are many things we can do to ease the pain of the current situation and move on with life. It is a phase which we will fight and overcome.
AS A RESULT, I have compiled a list of handy and productive things to do during this turbulence. Please scroll down the list of sub-headings below and pick on what interests you and get engaged:
- Reflections & Reading
- Television At Work
- Grammar, Vocabulary & Spelling
- Entering The Working World At Home
- Dear Parents . . .
- Out & About In The Community
- What More & Others
- Finally, Be Grateful . . .
So, don’t feel overwhelmed.
INSTEAD, develop a realistic plan and engage the children in your planning. As you follow your plan, I’m confident that you’ll have a meaningful, productive, and fun-filled set of things to do during this unprecedented isolation.
REFLECTIONS & READING
1. Reflect On The Semester/Term Gone By
DEAR Student – This is a moment to take out your journal or a sheet of paper and answer these three questions as honestly and candidly as possible. You are taking stock of your performance in a self-regulatory manner.
- What did I do well in the past semester/term?
- What did I not do so well in the past semester/term?
- What will I do differently in the coming semester/term?
2. Set Process Goals For The Coming Semester/Term
This is a follow-up to the above point, even if we are not sure as to when we shall be going back to school or work.
SURELY, by setting process goals for the coming semester/term instead of performance goals, becomes a priority. I am saying process goals first as process goals are what you intend to do, while performance goals are what you intend to achieve. As a result, process goals are far more effective.
Here is an example.
- PERFORMANCE GOAL: Improve my essay writing skills.
- PROCESS GOAL: Do two extra essay questions every day after dinner.
This actually means by setting process goals, you’re more likely to take action than if you only set performance goals.
3. Create Checklists
For tasks you perform repeatedly, create checklists so that you’ll save time in the long run.
For example, you could create a checklist for the things you ought to do …
- Every day when I get home from school/training/work, I …
- When I start preparing for an exam, I …
- Every weekend as I prepare for the upcoming week, I …
- When I am packing my bag, I …
- Before I take an exam, I …
By doing so, aim to reflect on your life periodically; and positively, you will enjoy more.
4. Start Your SAT Or ACT Test Prep – (I)GCSE/IB Program
Strictly speaking no one calls these acronyms by their full names: SAT stands for Scholastic Assessment Test and ACT is the American College Test. Although they are very much American, universities around the world accept them for admission purposes just like the UK’s (I)GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education; and IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma. Always do your research on what exactly you want to achieve.
This could be a great time to explore the ACT vs SAT , practice for the PSAT , or ramp up your study schedule. Pick up a prep book, take an online prep course , or find a test prep tutor to help you manage your time.
Test prep keeps your brain active so you are in tiptop shape to head back to school later when things get back to normal.
5. Take A Free Online College Course
There are some wonderful websites – like edX; Coursera, Khan Academy or Udemy – that offer courses that are taped or streamed from universities. With tons of subjects from robotics to poetry, you get to participate in real-time or watch videos with up to date information. It is a world of wonder out there. Just click on the link below and enjoy.
EdX is a global nonprofit learning community with over 20 million learners having access to over 2500+ online courses. EdX is fulfilling the demand for people to learn on their own terms delivering courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications.
Coursera is building skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies. There are over 3 900 courses to choose from.
Khan Academy is a tried and tested institution offering personalized learning where students practice at their own pace, first filling in gaps in their understanding and then accelerating their learning.
Udemy wants you to explore possibilities with its wide selection of courses and thousands of online video courses. Courses range from business, design, photography, development, IT and Software, marketing as well as personal development.
6. Read, Read and More Reading
As an avid reader, I strongly recommend that you take to do some reading during this turbulent time. I have a list of books here from which you can choose from:
Besides, the above books, I would like to recommend you to read these FIVE books:
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, finding meaning in it, and moving forward with renewed hope and purpose.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is one of the most famous confidence-boosting book ever published; with sales of over 16 million copies worldwide. The book offers practical advice and techniques, in an exuberant and conversational style, on how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
Get ready to transform yourself for success in this practical and inspiring guide that will help any aspiring person get from where they are to where they want to be. Thus, Canfield offers readers practical help and inspiration for getting from where they are, to where they want to be.
Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
Are you afraid of making decisions . . . leaving an unfulfilling relationship . . . facing the future? Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. In this enduring guide to self-empowerment, Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires us with dynamic techniques and profound concepts that have helped countless people grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives.
The Happy Student by Daniel Wong
Are you a happy, motivated student? Or do you drag yourself to class every morning? In The Happy Student, Daniel Wong describes the five key steps you need to take in order to become both a successful and happy student. Wong draws on his personal journey—from unhappy overachiever to a happy straight-A student, as a result, guiding you through your own transformational process.
TELEVISION AT WORK
7. Watch Educational Youtube Videos
YouTube is full of educational stuff which is quite helpful during this upheaval. Here are a few of my favorite educational YouTube channels:
- Veritasium – These are videos offering an element of truth about science, education, and anything else you find interesting – https://www.youtube.com/user/1veritasium
- CrashCourse – These videos offer history, chemistry, astronomy, and much more. https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse
- AsapSCIENCE offer science topics ranging from biology to psychology. https://www.youtube.com/user/AsapSCIENCE
8. Watch Documentaries And Your Favourites
You can watch thousands of high-quality documentaries for free at Documentary Heaven besides browsing through your favourite television programmes and films.
If you are subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime and many others, this is an opportunity to watch some really great documentaries as well. Despite the abundance of entertainment, . .
REMEMBER to watch in moderation as there are other things to be performed, done and completed.
9. Play Video Games Too
The popularity of video, computer, online, and virtual reality games is great when done in moderation. This is to avoid the potential for negative health effects of gaming, including the potential for addiction.
The exhibition of superior visual, spatial and attention skills derived from video games is great and video games formats have been successfully used to deliver health interventions to children and adolescents. If interested in playing games, try the . . .
GRAMMAR, VOCABULARY & SPELLING
10. Sprucing Up Your Grammar
By the time students enter High School, they will have conquered and mastered the uses of a period/full stop, the comma, various uses of the capital letters, the question mark and the apostrophe BUT . . . many, and I mean the majority of students, would know what a colon or semi-colon looks like; ellipsis; brackets and dashes; but wouldn’t know when or how to use them.
This is what I want to share with you here: AWESOME WAYS TO RAISE YOUR GRADE IN ENGLISH @ HIGH SCHOOL 1 – 4 on where, how and when to use these punctuation marks. You will explore the uses in greater depth here.
Throughout my teaching career, as well as being a GCSE/IGCSE and GCE Examiner, I have noticed that these unusual punctuation marks are rarely used. Yet by using . . .
- colons (:) and semi-colons (;)
- the hyphen, dashes (-)
- parenthesis/brackets ( ), [ ]
- ellipsis (. . .) and . . .
- using numbers in writing
enhances a student’s writing repertoire.
11. Practising Idioms
Brainstorm common idioms and practice new ones. Here I have got a list of idioms for you. Try writing a sentence using some of them.
You will love reading and practising endless hours of Common Idioms In Use 1 – 8 in one of my posts.
12. Where Is the Synonym?
This combines English vocabulary practice with the classic game of memory embedded in contextual meaning of words in sentences.
Again, I have got an array of exercises for you to pick on my highly regarded . . VOCABULARY WORKSHOP – THE KEY WORDS TO USE IN WRITING OR SPEAKING COMPETENTLY 1-7. Just follow the link.
13. What Are Homophones?
HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.
In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even a spellchecker will not flag one of them.
Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?
I herd the reign ruined there picnic.
One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones at . . .
14. Learning The Root Of Words
A root word is the most basic form of a word. This is the basic word to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) form the basis of a new word.
- The root word can also be a word in its own right. For example, the word lovely consists of the word love and the suffix -ly.
- In contrast, a root is the basis of a new word, but it does not typically form a stand-alone word on its own. For example, the word reject is made up of the prefix re- and the Latin root ject, which is not a stand-alone word.
Root words can help you to break down large, new words into smaller units to discover their meanings. Here are only ten common root words.
Please access the rest through here.
|Common Latin Roots|
|aud||to hear||audience, audition|
|cent||one hundred||century, percent|
|dict||to say||dictation, dictator|
|duc/duct||to lead||conduct, induce|
|Common Greek Roots|
|anthropo||man; human; humanity||anthropologist, philanthropy|
|dys||bad; hard; unlucky||dysfunctional, dyslexic|
15. Learn Prefixes and Suffixes To Expand Your Vocabulary
Learning the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes can help you understand unknown English words you come across everyday. It can also help you become better at spelling words too.
A PREFIX is a letter or a group of letters that we add to the beginning of a word. Prefixes change the meanings of words. For example, the prefix un- (or u-n) can mean “not,” “remove,” or “opposite.” Adding un- to the word “happy” gives you the word “unhappy,” which means not happy.
U-n and r-e (or re-) are the two most common prefixes in the English language. Re- means “again” or “back,” such as in the words “rethink” “redo” and “repay.”
Here are a few things to remember when learning prefixes:
- Different prefixes in English can have similar meanings, such as un-, in- and non- all of which mean “not” or “opposite of.”
- Also, the prefixes mis- and ir- mean “wrong,” “wrongly,” or “incorrectly.”
- Notice that double letters are possible. For example, when you add the prefix im- to words that begin with the letter “m,” you get two “m”s as in “immeasurable.” That’s also true when you add un- to words that begin with the letter “n,” as in “unnoticeable.” The same is true for many other prefixes.
- When adding a prefix to a word, the spelling of the base word never changes. For example, the prefix un- did not change the spelling of the word “happy.” And, the prefix re- would not change the spelling of the word “live” in “relive.”
- Watch out for “lookalikes” – words that look like they contain prefixes but, in fact, do not. For example, the un- in the word “uncle” is not a prefix, nor is the re- in the words “reach” or “real.”
A SUFFIX is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word. Suffixes are commonly used to show the part of speech of a word. For example, adding “ion” to the verb “act” gives us “action,” the noun form of the word. Suffixes also tell us the verb tense of words or whether the words are plural or singular.
Some common suffixes are -er, -s, -es, -ed, -ing and -ly.
There are additional suffix rules, but they deal with spelling and can be learned with time and practice.
A thing to keep in mind about both prefixes and suffixes is that some are only used with some words. For example, we add the suffix -ful to some nouns to mean “full of,” such as in the words “beautiful” or “helpful.”
But, we cannot add -ful to just any noun. You could not, for example, say “loveful” to mean full of love.
So, what are some ways that you can practice common prefixes and suffixes?
One way is to use online flashcards from websites like Quizlet. You can choose sets of cards that are already made or create and use your own sets. Or, you can make your own flashcards with pieces of paper.
Please access the rest through this link:
16. Spelling Generalizations
I boast to my students that I can spell any word in English because I mastered the spelling rules in primary school. I challenge you to emulate that.
The 5 Common English Spelling Rules to Improve Your Writing are . . .
- I before E: Write i before e when the sound is long e except after the letter c. – eg: relieve, relief, reprieve. When there is a c preceding, then it is ei : receipt, receive, deceive, conceive .
- Double consonants: When b, d, g, m, n, or p appear after a short vowel in a word with two syllables, double the consonant – eg: rabbit, manner, dagger or drummer.
- When to use -US and -OUS: eg – radius, previous
- Q is always followed by U: eg – Queen, quarrel
- The ch sound: At the beginning of a word, use ch. At the end of a word, use tch. When the ch sound is followed by ure or ion, use t – eg: choose, champ, watch, catch, picture, rapture
A comprehensive list of spelling rules can be accessed through here:
ENTERING THE WORKING WORLD AT HOME
17. Create Your Own Project
Turn your interests and talents into your own long-term project. A few ideas:
- Form a garage band with some musically-inclined friends and practice.
- Teach yourself how to program.
- Practice your creative writing and submit your work to journals that publish high school students or to your school’s newsletter.
18. Get A job – “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.”
Colleges are impressed when students have jobs, whether they are working for family income or just for fun. Your work history demonstrates your initiative and responsibility. Take note: you may need a permit, depending on your age.
Don’t worry too much about what the job will pay. As the saying goes, “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.” This is especially true when it comes to school holiday jobs. The best learning experience might just come in the form of an unpaid job or internship
Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend some time working with others versus only on solo projects.
19. Be An Entrepreneur
Start a business with friends that offers a service in your community. We’ve heard of students starting babysitters’ clubs, walking dogs for the neighborhood, or even teaching Skype/WhatsApp messaging to the elderly.
20. Apply For Internships
Even if we are in the middle of a crisis, be optimistic and set things in motion. Introduce yourself to the world of internships.
This is chance to spruce up your CV and resume, so before you start applying for roles, it’s important to make sure that your resume is up to date and includes your relevant skills and experience.
AN INTERNSHIP is a structured opportunity to work (usually unpaid) at a company, lab, or non-profit organization for a set amount of time. These can be very competitive for high school students, but opportunities are out there!
At Amazon Jobs, besides providing graduate jobs, they also offer student internships with an in depth internship timeline profile providing the opportunity to accelerate your growth. They work on challenging projects which breed resourcefulness and invention with talented teams.
TeenLife is a the leading directory for High School students’ academic and enrichment opportunities for summer programs, volunteer opportunities, gap year programs and community service. The TeenLife website is dense with information which can help you in your future – start preparing now
21. Find a Job-Shadowing Opportunity
Job shadowing (or work shadowing) is an on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development program. It is a useful way to learn about a particular job of interest involving spending time following a professional in that job. Observing the life of the professional for anywhere from a few hours to as long as a week can help give you a sense of what that job really is like
Does your dad’s best friend work at an electrical engineering company? Ask if you can help with filing or sit in a planning meeting or two, all while soaking up the atmosphere.
In short, job shadowing helps you expand your network as well as making professional contacts in your career field of interest. When shadowing someone who is competent in his or her career field, you have the opportunity to gain a useful resource as you begin to seek and apply for jobs and internships.
NOW is the time to plan it!
22. Learn a New Skill
You could learn skills like Public Speaking; Cooking; Drawing through . . .
TakeLessons – Get live instruction in music, language, dance, computer skills and more one-on-one with an instructor. You can search by area or by subject.
Power Homeschool – Power Homeschool offers self-paced, interactive video lessons on topics such as foreign language, physical education, fine arts, and career and technical classes.
MasterClass – MasterClass offers self-paced courses taught by masters in their fields. You can take photography from Annie Leibovitz, cooking from Gordon Ramsey, or directing from Ron Howard.
Outschool – Outschool offers over 4,000 classes taught live to small groups using video chat.
23. Learn A New Language
Visit these websites and learn a new language:
- Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it’s an excellent addition to a language learner’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, it’s fun and it works. If your aim is to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you’re learning!
- Babbel is a German-based language learning app and e-learning platform, currently offering 14 different languages ranging from German, English (US + UK), French, to Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Italian, among many others.
- BBC Languages is a free online language learning site which offer courses, audio, video and games, including the alphabet, phrases, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, activities and tests.
Just go to the site and follow the links.
24. Start A Family Or Neighborhood Book Club
A book club is a reading group, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on a topic or an agreed-upon reading list. It’s common for book clubs to choose a specific book to read and discuss at the same time. Formal book clubs meet on a regular basis at a set location.
This sounds a bit daunting but with careful planning, you can get things going so easily.
Rather on a very small scale, a parent and child can form a book club, by reading the same book and chatting about it. What more, if you invite your cousins and friends? Just start small and grow
25. Try a Ballet, Dance Or Martial Arts Class – all for free
Lots of businesses running after-school and weekend clubs have been quick to adapt to the change and are offering online classes, with many being streamed for free. Good examples include:
The Facebook Group Online Classes For Kids is fast becoming a hub for virtual classes, with a number of different activities already on offer.
YouTube has endless classes are available for families to stream whenever they want – giving parents a much-needed immediate release for energetic children.
This has the benefit of giving structure to your day or weekend, you can make sure children get dressed and ready for the class as they would normally, only they are staying indoors for the session.
DEAR PARENTS . . .
26. Instill Organizational Skills – Establish ROUTINES
LEARNING AND MASTERING the skills of getting organized, staying focused, and seeing work through to the end will help High School students in just about everything they do. But this is not usually explicitly taught in High School, so our students can benefit from some parental guidance with organization and time-management skills.
Parents and guardians can help our High School students through a variety of ways by helping them establish routines by . . .
- KEEPING assignments and class information together in binders, notebooks, or folders that are organized by subject.
- CREATING a calendar will help teens recognize upcoming deadlines and plan their time accordingly. Don’t forget to have your teen include non-academic commitments on the calendar, too.
- MAKING prioritized daily to-do lists, and to study and do homework in a well-lit, quiet, orderly workspace.
- REMINDING your teen that when it comes to studying and homework, multitasking is a time-waster.
- WORKING in an environment free of distractions like TV and mobile phones works best.
27. Make Time to Talk About School
Because many teens spend so much of the day outside the home — at school, extracurricular activities, jobs, or with peers — staying connected with them can be challenging for parents and guardians. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles are central to the lives of High School students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support.
Make efforts to talk with your teen every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. When teens know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they’ll take school seriously as well.
Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your teen can influence how well he or she listens and responds. It’s important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you chat.
Remember to talk with your teen, not at him or her.
Be sure to ask open-ended questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers.
28. Offer Help With Studying
Planning is key for helping your teen study while juggling assignments in multiple subjects. Since grades really count in high school, planning for studying is crucial for success, particularly when your teen’s time is taken up with extracurricular activities.
When there’s a lot to study, help your teen to break down tasks into smaller chunks and stick to the studying calendar schedule so he or she isn’t studying for multiple tests all in one night. Remind your teen to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home.
If grades are good, your teen may not need help studying. If grades begin to slip, however, it may be time to step in.
Most parents still need to help their teen with organization and studying — don’t think that teens can do this on their own just because they’re in High School!
29. Prepare a Meal or Special Dish
Food is one of our favorite ways to learn about any subject! This is an excellent time and way to learn about spices, foods, or cooking techniques that are popular in a specific location.
Food can also be a useful learning tool when studying history. Recipes and ingredients often change over time so preparing foods from a different time period can be a lot of fun.
BBC Good Food – It teaches kids to cook with the step-by-step lessons and recipes turning the little chefs with easy and fun cooking projects. They’ll love tasting their handiwork, too!
OUT & ABOUT IN THE COMMUNITY
30. Find A Cause You Care About
If you say that something is for a good cause, you mean that it is worth doing or giving to because it will help other people, for example by raising money for charity. The Raleigh International Bike Ride is open to anyone who wants to raise money for a good cause.
Find a cause you care about, and start thinking of ways to support that cause. Some of the good causes one can take part in include children and family services, youth development services, crisis services, shelter and homeless services, food banks, food pantries and food distribution; and caring for the elderly.
31. Volunteer In Your Community
Colleges would rather see continuity and commitment to a community service activity instead of a bunch of one-offs. Start now, and volunteer two hours a week through your senior year.
Volunteering doesn’t take any special skills or extensive experience – and there’s never a shortage of organizations looking for help.
Some local places which you can try include spending your Saturday mornings feeding animals at the animal shelter or national parks; food pantries and soup kitchens always use a helping hand organizing a local food drive, raising money, or simply handing out hot meals to those in need; and visiting residents at nursing homes a few days a week. Red Cross offers an extensive list of positions that can help those in need and bolster your resume at the same time.
Thus, once you begin your volunteer position, don’t hesitate to offer help outside of your assigned job.
32. Improve Your Physical Health And Well-Being
You have more time at home now, so introduce yourself to some basic routines.
Start small and build up consistency by drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks; eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food; exercising regularly: You don’t have to become a gym member to exercise.
Lastly, get a good night’s sleep.
33. Build Or Fix Something And Spruce Up Your Bedroom
Fix a broken fan, build a computer, or make a table. These are skills that will come in handy in the future. What more, make your room look tidy too!
You’ll get an immediate dose of interest by simply bringing in a plant, rearranging your furniture layout, adding a mirror, hanging your favorite painting, print, poster, quilt, or collection of family photos wall art
WHAT MORE & OTHERS
34. Explore Outer Space With NASA
The NASA website is packed full of free activities and worksheets for students interested in outer space.
The NASA website is utterly astounding! Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit and accepting the challenge of going deeper into space is an interesting adventure one would explore to.
35. Use Your Imagination
The sky’s the limit! Start a summer art project with friends to beautify a rundown area of your community. Pick up trash in your local park every Sunday. Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend your summer working with others versus only on solo projects.
FINALLY, BE GRATEFUL . . .
36. Write Thank-You Notes
Many people say “thank you” via text message or email. But few people write actual thank-you notes. This school holiday, become one of those people.
Make a list of the people who have helped you in one way or another the past semester: friends, teachers, relatives, and family members.
Write each of those people a thank-you note. Then either mail the note to them or give it to them in person.
Dear Reader, This is by any chance an exhaustive list you can do during this unprecedented time we are living in. You can be creative – thinking outside the box and come up with a lot more others. This is only the start.
Good luck in your endeavours.
BE EMPOWERED AND EXCEL