Area students learning remotely may need to get out of the house to learn, too

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2020 at 7:20 PM CDT
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HOLLAND, Texas (KWTX) – Some education experts warn that a lack of hands-on learning could impact the progress of students whose families opted for at-home instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The limitations of virtual learning are the notion of community building that we find in classrooms,” said Dr. Brooke Blevins, the chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Baylor University.

"We know from social constructivist theory that part of learning happens when students interact with one another. And so it’s not only about what the teacher is teaching, but it’s also the way the students are interacting with the teacher and with their peers around them. "

Since the shift to remote instruction in the spring, facilities to supplement virtual learning have emerged.

Slice of Heaven in Holland is one of them.

The educational farm is typically a hotspot for school field trips but because of the pandemic, many of those outings were cancelled in the spring.

The owner has since modified operations to help meet the needs of virtual students who need supplementary education.

“One of the things we came up with is our educational Wednesdays,” said Jane Crumley, a retired teacher and instructor at Slice of Heaven. "

Students may be dropped off at the farm to play with the animals, learn about them and to do crafts.

To meet the needs of virtual learners, the facility will also have an educator on site to assist students with homework and school projects.

“We are here to support parents in those situations and give them peace of mind that their kids are not just here playing because through it all we are learning,” Crumley said.

The Slice of Heaven program costs $60 a week.

Other similar facilities have similar prices.

For families who cannot afford that, Blevins said there are ways parents can provide their children with hands on learning at home.

“Teach them about fractions by baking, have them go outside and garden and learn about botany and learn about biology by looking at plants and various animals that may be outside,” Blevins said.

She also suggests teaching history lessons by taking students to visit historical markers and monuments around their community.

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