Back to school 2020 certainly won’t be like any other! While most parents got a taste of distance learning in the spring, much of this academic year will likely be remote in our area. Whether your child is 100% virtual or doing some sort of hybrid schedule, they will be spending a lot of time learning in this new way.
Parents and teachers all learned some lessons in the spring and the experts have weighed in on what works best for successful remote learning. With the start of school just around the corner, we’ve gathered up the best remote learning tips for parents.
First Things First
- Create a dedicated learning space. This space should be different from where the kids normally play games or watch television (a great tip for parents working at home too!) Here are some great tips.
- Reduce Distractions. Whether it’s a device or the family dog, remove it from the learning space!
- Ensure all of the needed supplies (paper, crayons, pencils, notebooks, scissors, etc.) are on hand in the learning space.
- Make sure to distinguish school days from weekends and holidays. The kids (and adults!) should follow their normal routines of waking up, showering, getting dressed, having breakfast, and starting the “school” day.
- Address basic needs. Before starting the day of learning, make sure your child isn’t hungry, thirsty, tired, or distracted before starting his or her day of learning.
- Set and maintain a schedule. Not only is the morning routine important, but create and maintain a routine for lunch and after school time. Try to adjust your schedule to align with theirs when you can.
- Ensure your kid(s) takes breaks, including physical movement. Offer “digital recess” to give young eyes a break from their screens. Spend some time outside in the garden or take a walk around the block. When the weather is bad, do a puzzle or listen to music with your kids.
- Plan to work with your child on activities or subjects that they find difficult when your child is most alert and engaged. The majority of kids are most focused and motivated in the morning.
- Save easier material that can be accomplished easily and/or independently at a different time. (such as in the afternoon or even another day).
- Don’t try to — or expect to — replace your child’s teachers. Play a supportive role. Help the kids with the technology of distance learning, check messages and communication with the teachers, etc. Consider scheduling “office hours” when you’re available for school-related questions.
- Take advantage of the main resources available online! Here’s a great list to get you started. Don’t hesitate to reach out to his or her teacher for additional resources, and suggestions.
A Few Last Tips
- When in doubt, have your child read! If your child is overwhelmed, encourage her to take a break from the screen. Parents should encourage print and book reading (you may want to as your child’s teacher if you can get some of the textbooks in hard copy for home use). Allow them to read whatever will keep them reading and engaged (think graphic novels, magazines, etc.).
- Keep the news to a minimum during the days. The daily news can be downright scary, especially for young children. Remind your child they are safe and that school and life will eventually get back to normal.
- Remember, learning opportunities are everywhere! While it may seem like your child is getting less instruction while learning remotely, keep in mind that almost every moment can be a teaching moment! For example, a trip to the grocery store can become a math lesson and a walk through the woods is a wonderful science lesson.
- Try to maintain your child’s social connections. Whether it is a weekly Zoom with his best friend or a socially-distanced park meet-up, it’s essential to keep kids connected.
- Try to enjoy this unprecedented situation. Enjoy this unique opportunity to observe your child’s learning. Watching a child learn to read, write, or master a tough concept is really quite amazing. Take advantage of this extra time to be together and do things you may not have had time for otherwise. From walks along the river to weekday trips to the library or farmer’s market, your child will be so happy to spend this bonus time with you.
The Bottom Line
Remote learning is certainly not ideal. But with some advance planning, a solid routine, and flexibility, your child can continue to learn and thrive. Just be sure to stay in close contact with their teachers, take advantage of unique learning opportunities, and maintain those crucial friendships.
Do you have any great remote learning tips for parents? Please do drop us a line so we can share them with others.