Summer break is coming to an end and many teachers and parents are faced with the reality of homeschooling this fall. As an educator, you may feel overwhelmed to create a schedule/routine for your young learner. You are not alone!
The first thing to remember is that every homeschool is different because every family is different. Typically, homeschoolers do not fit into an 8-hour day model. Public school often requires a lot of crowd control time which does not exist in the homes of students. So how long should structured learning (aka direct teaching or independent/small group work) be?
Pre-school - 15 to 20 min
Kindergarten - 30 min to 1 hour
1st to 2nd Grade - 45 min to 1.5 hours
3rd to 4th Grade - 1.5 to 3 hours
5th to 6th Grade - 2.5 to 3.5 hours
7th to 8th Grade - 3 to 4.5 hours
Highschoolers - 3.5 to 6 hours
When it comes to the order of your curriculum schedule, you will have to find out what works best for your students. For example, it has been found that starting the day with Math helps the day go faster. However, that approach may slow your young learner’s day down afterwards.
Student’s retention of information after learning is important. That is why structured learning combined with interactive activities is a great way for students to practice the lessons they are learning. By lessening teacher talk time and focusing on a student based approach, your student will gain a better connection to the lesson plan and an understanding of the material.
Furthermore, engaging students using project-based learning helps cultivate a growth mindset environment through research, collaboration, and presentation of their work. Students are empowered by their efforts and take ownership of their projects as a result.
At Roads to Success, we believe in having a growth mindset and teach students the idea that intelligence can grow. Therefore, during lessons and extracurricular activities practice avoiding a fixed mindset.
This includes thinking or saying things like: “I am doing this wrong;” “I don’t know what to do;” or, “This will never change.” Rather practice positive strategies of support, such as: “I can do things that are challenging;” “Practice makes progress;” or “I am still learning and it’s okay. Next time I will focus on...” By promoting a growth mindset, your young people will believe they can achieve the amazing goals in your curriculum!
The 5th Annual Youth Leadership Summit was held virtually this year and featured over 30 volunteer speakers who shared their personal experiences from high school to college, up to their current careers and the lessons they learned along the way.
Participating youth were able to take workshops in financial literacy through our Go Pro Series, and speak to college representatives from top local and out of state schools such as North Carolina A&T, SUNY Albany, Adelphi and City College.
Attendees networked with professionals from various industries including: professional athletes from the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Whitesox and Baltimore Orioles; US Olympic Fencers Daryl Homer and Nzingha Prescod; culinary Chef Trill Cooker, Jose DeJesus who recently won against Bobby Flay in Beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network; and entrepreneurs and professionals in the fields of sports, music, media, law, medicine, fashion, and more.
This year's summit was titled Leaders of the New Norm, and reflected the new pathways youth have had to adapt to in order to remain on the road to success. By going virtual, we were able to expand our reach to young people anywhere in the US and even welcomed a few international students who stayed up late to be with us.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to speak to our young people and answer their questions. It is only with the help from our community that we are able to have the greatest impact on our youth.
This summer, Roads to Success was earmarked to place 874 young people with entry level positions through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). However, the program was canceled back in April leaving our kids and over 74,000 more young people citywide jobless for the summer.
Just recently, the City introduced a new virtual model known as the SYEP Summer Bridge Program. Under this new program, the total youth served citywide would be reduced to 35,000 participants. At Roads to Success, the number of youth we could place dropped to 637 - just 30% of the number of applications we actually received.
SYEP has been a vital resource for young people of color in New York City who come from low-income families in high-poverty neighborhoods who for the most part, have difficulties finding employment for various reasons. Many families depend greatly on this income, and many youth rely on this opportunity as a stepping stone for their future. As the nation’s largest youth employment program, approximately 125,000 young people apply annually
The disparities in our city have become highlighted these past few months, as poor social determinants of health (including access to high quality jobs and economic stability) contribute to the racial inequities in health. The reduction in SYEP that benefits mostly black and brown young people sets up our youth for this future of disparity in health, education and career.
The youth employment program at Roads to Success serves to address this inequity as the communities we serve include the South Bronx, Harlem and Central BK – all neighborhoods that have been deeply affected by both systemic racism and economic effects of COVID.
But due to budget cuts and loss of general funding as a result of the pandemic, we have been unable to fully meet the demand, leaving hundreds of youth without a plan. This loss is more than just a summer without a job, it’s a loss in access to career exploration, project-based learning and management, and civic engagement skill building for thousands of youth.
While the development of the SYEP Summer Bridge Program is a start, it only touches the surface of what our young communities and their families need. Budget cuts have made it even more difficult for young people who are already disenfranchised to get the services and connections they need. We must continue to fund community based programs that provide vital resources to communities where systemic racism is a way of life. Now more than ever, our young people need to know that there are those who believe that their future is important and that we want them to succeed.
As youth workers, children look up to us to teach them right from wrong.
The death—the murder—of George Floyd is wrong. Our country’s unrelenting, inequitable treatment of people of color is wrong. The systemic racism embedded in our society is simply wrong.
Black lives DO matter. Our organization’s commitment to stand in the shared values of anti-racism, inclusion, equity, and fairness toward those whose well-being is under constant threat will remain.
In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Right now, everywhere the youth of New York look, they see injustice. Many of these children already sense that the deck is stacked against them
Roads to Success stands with our youth as well as their families and against the institutional racism and systemic abuse that has eroded the social trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.
As we continue to provide virtual after-school and summer programming, we will also continue to embrace a holistic approach that includes trauma-informed practices as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, we need support from parents and caregivers to continue to have conversations with your children regarding these topics at home.
If you're not sure where to start, here are 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids About Race from MomsRising (y en español también), and let your child ask questions. Remember, silence about race reinforces racism by letting children draw their own conclusions based on what they see. Childcare providers, youth workers and families can play a powerful role in helping children of all ages develop positive attitudes about race and diversity and skills to promote a more just future—but only if we talk about it!
It's OK to not have all of the answers... they're called difficult or courageous conversations for a reason. Be honest, do some research, and learn (and unlearn) together.
This is life-long work. Your children will always be our students, and we will always stand in partnership with you and your families.
Bashan Fernandez and the Roads to Success Team
Programs that we've had to suspend include, College Access for All, college campus tours financial literacy workshops, and our Annual Leadership Retreat. The Summer Youth Employment Program for 2020 was officially suspended by the City in April, and our summer camp programs remain in the air as the uncertainty of when our city will reopen leaves us paralyzed.
In order to maximize our reach in this new digital space, we've been working diligently to create opportunities where young people can easily become a part of our community.
Instagram live classes are offered daily at 4:30pm, taught by RTS instructors and range from fitness to the arts, and even cooking! Our Go Pro with RTS series are held every Tuesday and Thursday, offering college and career workshops that are open to all ages.
With so many changes happening daily, our first concern is of course, the health and well-being of everyone in our community. But if we are to be role models to our young people, especially in a time like this, then it is important for us to adapt and move forward with a positive outlook and continue on with our mission of empowering youth as best we can.
It’s a buzz term you hear a lot, but what is SEL exactly? In short, SEL, an acronym for Social Emotional Learning, is basically this: young people learn to understand themselves, understand and collaborate with others, and make responsible decisions on their own. Studies have suggested that the resulting outcomes such as confidence and resilience will be more of a predictor of a person’s success and lifelong well-being than any academic test scores.
While the best youth programs train their staff in evidence-based techniques known to promote gains in SEL, you as a parent cannot be expected to host a fulfilling summer camp experience from your dinner table, or suddenly become Mary Poppins while juggling work, remote learning, meals and so on.
However, fear not! Below are 5 tips for encouraging SEL within your home. Because while Mary Poppins status may not be quite within reach, perhaps you can take a few tricks from the unsung heroes at your child’s after-school or summer camp program.
1. Focus on Language
Two major terms that have emerged in youth guidance include asset-based language and growth mindset.
Asset-based language means focusing on a child’s skills and abilities instead of shortcomings. The best way to motivate most youth is by giving them the credit that they CAN succeed. “Why can’t you do your assignments on time?” is a deficit-based approach, whereas “I am confident that you will complete your assignments” is an asset-based approach, which is more likely to inspire your child to succeed at small tasks. At times when we are frustrated, this can be difficult, but practice makes (almost) perfect.
Growth mindset (opposite of fixed mindset) refers to the idea of focusing on how your child can become intelligent by working hard, as opposed to just being smart or being naturally good at something. This is backed up by recent brain studies which suggest that we’re all capable of learning new things and changing our behaviors during our entire lifespan!
By complimenting your child’s efforts instead of their “gifts” and by focusing on their successes rather than struggles, you contribute to their gains in self-efficacy and positive identity, two tremendously important SEL capacities!
2. Rituals & Routines with Purpose
Nothing comforts young people like enjoyable rituals that they can look forward to. Continuing with established activities such as coloring Easter eggs and celebrating birthdays is very important while practicing social distancing. However, it is also easy to create at-home rituals that are more short-term, which hold purpose in helping your child continually grow within. Here are some ideas:
3. The Group Agreement
Do you have a constant battle over a daily routine, or a less-than-favorite household task that just needs to be done? Instead of getting into a game of tug-o-war, continually debating details of how something should or shouldn’t be done, simply take the time to put it in writing! Most importantly, make it collaborative. Give your child a voice. You will be surprised at how often their choice will be to do the right thing when they are asked to give input on a rule or guideline. With some guidance as to what you are trying to accomplish with them, you will raise the bar and watch them meet you there.
Your tone is important in this exercise, and you MUST be careful to listen and compromise – not to lecture or dictate. Think about what you need to accomplish during this time (or times), why this will help your child, and how you can explain non-negotiable parts of the agreement without making them feel like they have no authority over their participation. You can use a poster or a dry-erase board to document these guidelines or invitations. To take it a step further, celebrate this milestone of agreement by decorating it with your family. Remember to have it handy for when you might have to refer to it again. Also, be flexible. Maybe parts of the agreement are not realistic and need to be changed. Work with your family and show your child how to adjust and compromise. That brings us to the next tip ...
4. Role Model!
Perhaps the most important ingredient to building up your child’s capacity to collaborate or manage themselves is not a creative, new ritual or tool, but something that must live in the very fabric of your day: role modeling. Now, we all cannot be perfect humans 24 hours a day, but there is some control we have on how we interact with one another. Resolve conflicts, don’t hide them. Give the benefit of the doubt, respect the other opinion, debate don’t hate! Your child will witness and borrow your techniques.
5. Tell stories, lots of stories!
Stories, new and old. Stories, fictional and nonfictional. Stories made up by you. Stories from a book. Stories told by your child. These are all great resources. Years ago, we had no Netflix. We got our guidance and entertainment from generations upon generations of written and/or spoken word. Even before many religious scriptures there were fireside tales that helped people agree upon social discourse. Whether you confide in the Bible, Dr. Seuss, a relative who likes to tell tall tales via FaceTime, or all of the above – make plenty of time for stories, and make plenty of time to ask probing questions about scenarios that your children may find themselves in one day. When used effectively, stories they can provide an excellent compass for your child’s self-management and social awareness.
Want to share a great at-home tip for supporting SEL? Leave a comment below:
Roads to Success is bringing our after-school programming online as we continue our mission of empowering youth through this challenging time. Our online enrichment program is designed to support our future leaders' academic, social-emotional and recreational needs.
DAILY AFTER-SCHOOL SCHEDULE
The schedule of activities for the week starting Monday, March 30th includes:
2:30 PM to 3:30 PM - Tutoring/ HW Help
3:30 PM to 4:00 PM - Games for Fun & Purpose
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM - Group Discussions
5:00 PM to 5:30 PM - Break-Out Groups
Each week we will be adding new activities to our daily schedule as we continue to grow our programs virtually. Contact your program's Site Director for complete details.
So stay tuned for online rallies, virtual tutorials, TikTok challenges, #rtsstayshome parties and more in the coming weeks!
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Have a topic or subject matter you would like us to feature? Interested in volunteering? Reading a story? Hosting a magic show? Have a secret talent?
Drop us a line at email@example.com and we will be in touch with next steps.
We are so grateful for the wide spread support our transition to online programming has received thus far. It is a work in progress but also a labor of love. We look forward to continuing on this journey with you!
A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHIEF PROGRAM OFFICER
Earlier this evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced that students are not expected to report to NYC school buildings until Monday, April 20, 2020.
As a result, our after-school and Spring Recess programming across all of our NYC public school sites will be suspended until Monday, April 20, 2020 as well. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause to your daily life. Our amazing team of site directors will however, be available via phone and email to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
The health and safety of all of our Roads to Success participants continues to be our first priority. We thank you all for your continued support and hope that everyone remains informed and healthy in the wake of the evolving situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York City.
Chief Program Officer
As a reminder, it is critical that we all continue to practice general viral infection prevention measures including:
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve
- Wash your hands regularly
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Get your flu shot—it’s never too late
- Stay home if you’re feeling sick. Call your doctor and let them know your symptoms and travel history.
How to Stay Informed and Fight Bias
Please visit nyc.gov/coronavirus at any time for critical updates, as well as a helpful Coronavirus Fact Sheet (plus translations), available on that page under Additional Resources for 2019 Outbreak.
This page also includes ways to fight stigma and bias around this issue. It’s important we come together as a community and support one another during this time. COVID-19 is not more likely found in any one race or nationality, and we must each model inclusion and actively work to combat bias in our workplaces and communities. There are a lot of things on social media and in the news that are at best not rooted in science and at worst, offensive, demeaning and racist.
We will continue to share updates with our Roads to Success community during this rapidly evolving situation.