Parent Tips and Tricks for Remote Learning
We want to emphasize to all parents that we understand the challenges you face as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Your child’s education is a shared responsibility and you are being asked to play a greater role than ever before. Our goal is 100% student participation. We are here to lead, guide and support learning efforts at home. You are encouraged to reach out to the teachers with any questions and or concerns you may have.
For the safety and success of our students, all students must choose a mode of education, either remote or in-person. Students are grouped in cohorts to limit any COVID-19 exposure, and we must know where our students are in case of emergencies.
Setting Up for Success
Make a space.
Create a special, personalized corner of a room dedicated to learning, creating, and reading. Use a movable box or crate if space is precious. Let your kid help prepare the space for school, even if that just means putting a decorated pencil box next to the device they'll be using. Getting the space ready will help them get ready to learn.
Set a routine.
Children need structure, so make sure to let them know what to expect. You can create a visual schedule they can follow. Older kids can use a calendar, planner, chalkboard, or digital organizer to keep track of what's happening each day.
Have them follow a routine as if they're going to school (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) instead of lying in bed in their pajamas, which could lead to less learning.
Breaks are really important, especially for kids with learning and attention issues, so make sure to build those in and break assignments into smaller pieces.
Begin and end the day by checking-in:
In the morning, you might ask:
What classes/subjects do you have today?
Do you have any assessments?
How will you spend your time?
What resources do you need?
What can I do to help?
At the end of the day you might ask:
How far did you get in your learning tasks today?
What did you discover? What was hard?
What could we do to make tomorrow better?
Go over what the school and teachers expect around online learning.
Set some expectations of your own as well. When can your kid expect to spend time with you? When should they avoid interrupting you? What can they do in their downtime? Come up with a list of "must-dos" and "may dos" together to cover the essentials and activities of choice.
If kids are sharing devices with siblings, make sure they understand how the devices are to be shared, including who gets to do what on the device and when.
Keep them close.
When it's hard for your kid to focus, try to keep them close. Consider setting up nonverbal or one-word cues to help get them back on track.
Depending on your circumstances, it may not be possible to keep your kid in sight all the time, but it'll definitely be harder to keep them on track if they're completely unsupervised. Try to make sure you or another family member has eyeballs on them as much as possible.
Talk to kids about the connection between bodies and brains and what happens in their bodies when they feel frustrated, excited, or sad. This awareness helps kids recognize and manage their emotions.
If you have other devices in your house, keep them out of your kid's workspace if possible. This can also mean shutting down phones, keeping phones in a designated place for the day, and putting away remotes if temptation takes over.
Little kids feeling at loose ends might respond to some role-playing. Cast your kid in the role of work partner, teacher, or researcher to help them stick to a task (and let you stick to yours!).
Though older kids won't want to play pretend, they may respond to an honest conversation about taking on more responsibility (like chores, self-regulation, etc.) because they're older and gaining maturity. You might be surprised how they rise to the challenge in response.
Encouraging Ownership & Effort
Let kids hang up their drawings, writing, or other projects in your home. It shows them you're proud of their work and helps them value their learning.
Even big kids like when you show pride in their work by bragging about their efforts and showing off their work. (But always ask before you post anything!)
Give detailed praise.
Instead of saying "good job," try giving specific details about your kid's work. If they tried hard, let them know you noticed. Have they made progress? Used a new technique? In what ways are their efforts kind, clever, beautiful, or insightful?
Also, encourage a growth mindset, which means reminding kids that it's not about being good or bad at something, but working toward getting better at it.
Get help when you need it.
You won't always know how to help your kid. Think about who could help fill in the gaps -- look to family, friends, teachers, and others for help. Sometimes having another adult take over removes the tricky parent/kid homework battle dynamic and lets you go back to just being a parent.
Communicate with the school about how things are going, leading with positives first. Everyone's doing their best, AND it's important for teachers to know what's working and not working for your kid so they can get the help they need.