In the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, educators, families and students of all ages had to manage the sudden shift to distance learning. With many schools still unsure of whether they’ll be holding in-person classes in the fall, we thought it would be best to start preparing for the possibility of more distance learning and find tools for everyone to succeed.
Keeping children engaged in school is challenging enough during a regular school year. We’ve compiled some best practices for keeping learners on track while they’re schooling from home.
These solutions were developed with families of students in grades K-12 in mind. As part of our ongoing series on distance learning, we also have resources for overcoming common virtual learning obstacles and an upcoming series of free, at-home activities for you to try!
If there’s something you or your student’s teachers discovered that worked well for your family this spring as you navigated distance learning together, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
For grown ups:
• Get organized - Create a list of your child’s teachers, their contact information, the school’s virtual schooling resources, your child’s teacher(s) virtual schooling resources, and the preferred method of contact for general questions. You WILL have questions, and other parents have probably already asked the same thing. Look for a Q&A section on your child’s school’s website or reach out to educators directly.
• Get involved - Participate in as many introductory presentations as possible for your child’s class(es). Since there might not be a “parent teacher conference” or “back to school” night in Fall 2020, it will be vitally important to know when and how your child should be turning in work and through which platforms. Teachers are preparing these resources now - if you know who your child’s teacher(s) will be, reach out to them early on!
• Write it down - Keep an agenda or organizer for all your digital assignments! Yes, all the assignments are probably posted online, but it is so important that you have them all written in one place for the day they are due.
• Stick to a routine - It is very important that you check into your classes when you would normally have them as best you can. Is science 1st period? Make sure you are working on science (including checking in with your teacher) during that time. Elementary school students should also stick to a routine, making sure to work on the same type or work during the same times of day so that virtual school becomes a habit.
• Limit distractions - It’s hard to focus with extra noise or in a messy room. Try to find a quiet spot and keep extra screens put away, just like in a regular classroom.
• Find a study buddy - Make sure you have a friend you can check in with to help you stay on task and motivated. They might catch something you miss, like the date of the next quiz. Secondary students might need more than one study buddy.
• Get curious - Do you have questions that aren’t being talked about in class? Now is the time to talk to your teachers and dig deeper into the things that interest you! Have you ever wondered why an acoustic guitar is hollow? Or wanted to know what kind of plants grow in your neighborhood? School from home means you have some extra time to learn these things!