Families across the nation have found themselves thrust into the world of homeschooling or distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though many of these changes have been temporary, there is still some concern that many students will be forced to learn remotely as national and local mandates attempt to slow the spread of the contagious virus. However, there are many students who may have to complete their education remotely because of health, family relocation, or other reasons. To help your child succeed in a home learning environment, you must provide the right tools and resources. Here’s a quick checklist to follow.
1. Be Creative With Space
You don’t have to replicate your child’s classroom in the dining room or the spare bedroom, but you should help create the atmosphere of learning and excitement where they plan to work. For older students with more self-discipline, you may be able to convert a corner of their bedroom into a learning space. Younger children need more supervision and assistance, making it more practical to set up a workspace in the dining room, a corner of the living room, or in your own home office. Be creative, but don’t forget these important items: . You will need good lighting, comfortable seating, a flat workspace, and potentially some room for storage.
2. Invest in a Device
Depending on your child’s school, you may have been issued a personal device to be used during the school year. These devices are crucial to the success of your student. So many resources for assessments or the i-Ready test will be found online. Many classes also require distance learning students to log in to an online classroom or hold live video conferences with their teacher or others in the digital classroom. Check with the school for a loaner device, but if one is not provided, it is in your best interest to purchase one for your student. Chromebooks and iPads are the most commonly selected devices.
3. Establish a Support Network
Working remotely can be isolating for everyone, but the transition can be a more difficult struggle for children. Your child may have had a group of friends who made the day go by faster or who gave some encouragement in a tough class. Working through new concepts may be challenging, and many students become frustrated with the lack of interaction from both peers and teachers. While there are teaching aids for i-Ready math or reading and language arts concepts, you may need to establish a physical support network for your student. Work to create play dates or field trips or schedule a time once a week to have your child speak to the teacher by phone or video chat.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
It is easy to get wrapped up on the to-do list for the day and forget about the extracurricular needs your student has. Whether you realize it or not, the distance learning environment can be static and frustrating. It is repetitive, and oftentimes, predictable. This can lull your child into a disinterested approach toward learning, which can make long days turn into even longer weeks. Incorporate new environments and learning opportunities into the weekly schedule. Though your student may have strict classroom hours with the school, consider doing homework at the library or at a picnic table in the park. Change up the workspace and scenery to maintain excitement and interest.
It isn’t easy to undertake the responsibility of guiding your child’s education. Even if you have a background in education, it is a lot harder to maintain a balance between parent or guardian and schoolteacher. Don’t live in guilt or frustration that you aren’t doing it right or that you are ruining your child’s future career. Remote learning is unchartered territory for many families, and everyone is learning together.