The 2020-2021 school year is upon us and it looks very different from previous school years. To keep students and teachers safe from coronavirus, many districts have moved to remote learning for the entire year. Digital learning is very different from physically sitting in a classroom with peers and an instructor, so you may be wondering how to get the most of out the school year with these very new parameters in place. Here are some practical tips for optimizing your child’s educational experience during these unprecedented times.
Wake up early
Working and learning remotely has its perks — like eliminating a morning commute for your daily routine, which means that everyone gets to sleep a little later. However, you may not want to hit that snooze button too many times. While your child definitely can roll out of bed and head straight to the computer, it’s not recommended. Morning routines are important, so you’ll want to follow one that helps your child to adopt a mindset suitable for learning.
Set aside time for meals
Having your scholar eat breakfast or lunch while they work may sound like a time-saving convenience, but it’s better to set aside times that are specifically devoted to eating, socializing and nothing more. Kids are deserving of lunch breaks just like anyone else. It will help them to shift their focus for a short period of time so that they can return to “class” better equipped to tackle their next assignment.
Dress the part
As a result of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, there aren’t a ton of things we can do to separate home life from school life. One way to implement a bright line, however, is to have your student change out of pajamas and into regular clothes for the school day.
Establish a designated learning area
Working from bed may have carried your student through the end of the 2019-2020 school year when we were first thrusted into the world of remote learning. However, it’s a brand new school year and only God knows how long we’ll be ordered to socially distance ourselves. Establish a space in your home that is designated specifically for learning. If you don’t have a desk, a kitchen or dining room table will suffice as long as this is not an area where your child plays frequently. The purpose is to get your child to adopt the mindset that when they’re in that particular area of the house, it’s time to take care of business.
Make time for breaks
In addition to lunch breaks, consider establishing a mini-break schedule where your child can get up, walk around, grab something to drink or stretch their bodies for 10 to 15 minutes every couple of hours. If possible, write out the schedule and make it visible to your child. This will give them something to work towards and will help to cut down on the number of times they try to wander away and focus on something other than their work. If you have the bandwidth to do so, time their breaks so they don’t lose focus.
After lunch, it’s a good idea to give your child time to get outdoors, if weather permits, take in some fresh air and burn some calories. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor recess, consider breaking out a board game or some kind of other fun hands-on activities.
There’s a reason why many schools don’t allow cell phones in classrooms. They’re a major distraction and they significantly reduce productivity. Thus, consider taking your child’s cell phone away during learning time and returning it to them at the end of the day.
Establish a check-in schedule
Mom, there’s a good chance that you have your own work to attend to while all of this remote learning is taking place. However, it’s a bad idea to just leave the kids alone all day hoping that all will go smoothly. Instead establish a few times throughout the day that you will check-in with your student to see how things are going. You may learn that they’re struggling in a particular area or that they’re not completing an assignment correctly.
Teachers want to partner with you, so be sure to reach out with any question, concerns, or compliments you may have. With social distancing orders, it’s more important than ever that teachers and parents unite and close the communication gap.
All of this is still new for everyone, so please be kind to yourself, your child, and especially, your child’s teacher. There is a very good chance that she is trying to manage her own child’s remote learning while juggling her professional responsibilities. Your child will get the most out of this when all stakeholders respect each other, support one another, and work together.