You may have found yourself treading in new territory this school year due to coronavirus. From zoom to online grading, you and your child may be struggling to get a good grip on this way of learning. This guide will help you navigate your child’s new remote school journey, no matter what grade they are in.
If your child is doing remote learning, you’ll want to know what their schedule is like. Get familiar with when they need to be online. Stay on top of when they have time for breaks and when their assignments are due. You want to be able to create a plan. Especially if you are not working from home and your child is by themselves. Buy them a calendar, write out class times, due dates, and when they should take a break and eat. Kids often forget about eating and relaxing when they have so much on their plate already. If your child can visually see what they need to do, it will give you peace of mind that they will do their work and make it easier. If your child cannot read, find ways to help them stay organized through symbols, signs, and pictures.
Just like you may have had to set up a new office space for working from home, your child will also need a workspace. It is best if they have a desk or a table. This is so that they have a designated space for school with all the materials they might need. Think about where they want to be versus where they should be. Say you have a teenage boy, you’d likely not want him in the same room as his Xbox, but rather in his own office space. If you are not working from home and have a home office that no one is using, have them work there. If you have multiple children, they will need separate workspaces to do remote school. This is due to the virtual calls they will each need to participate in.
With all of these new virtual learning ways, you may not have used the technology they will be using before. Especially if you have younger children, sit down with them and figure out how everything works together. Practice zooming together, how to submit assignments on canvas, and other aspects. You can make it a fun activity for them, like playing a game together through Zoom. As long as both you and them are comfortable using what they will need for remote school, you’ll both be set and ready to learn.
You should be in weekly contact with your child’s teachers for updates and reports on what is to come and how they are doing. Their teacher will know if they are doing work, turning it in on time, and struggling with virtual learning. You want to have a close relationship with these people so that you can help your child adapt when they need to. You also need to have strong communication with your child on what you expect from them since they are learning virtually. Do you expect them to get up and online on their own? Do you have new standards on how strong their grades are? Just make it clear to them what they should be doing so they can be successful. Check-in with your child weekly, too, so that you can see the work they are doing and how it’s all going.
This is new territory for everyone, so be patient with both your child and their teachers. It can take a long time to get used to the new programs on both sides. In most cases, teachers have had very little time to learn a system and create lesson plans around it. They’ve had to be innovative and find new ways to teach so that these kids can learn. If their teacher has the wrong due dates or an unpublished assignment, contact them and let them know the error. They are learning just as much as your children about how to do school this way.
If your child drops the ball on a few assignments, it’s probably because they are overwhelmed or don’t understand. Help them when you can and understand that this may be harder for them than regular school. Remember to also be patient with yourself; you are juggling new things within a pandemic; if you have difficulty understanding how the technology works or getting your kid successfully online, it is okay!
If you are working from home while your child is remote learning, you will need a system to ask for help when they get stuck. When they are not receiving instruction from their teacher over video chat, they will have assignments they need to complete independently. This could be due during school hours or at a later date. If they get stuck and need your help, they will need a way to get help from someone to move on.
This will be especially difficult if you are in a meeting. Maybe they have a sign that says help to show you without talking, and then you can signal a number on when you can help them. Something needs to be set in place. If you do not work from home and your child is by themselves, let them know when they can call or text you for help or who they can reach out to. Maybe there is a neighbor who also has a child who is virtual learning, and they can come over to lend a hand. Just have ways to create solutions for them.
Looking at a screen for hours on end can be draining. Spend time with your child after school to laugh, go outside, and have fun. It can be isolating being in a room by yourself for a long time, especially for younger children who need more attention. Give them a little extra love and allow yourself and everyone in your family to just take a breather. There’s a lot to understand about virtual learning. However, you will get through it, and your child will thrive because of it!
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