It’s a new year which is starting out differently than planned with a return to remote learning for students of all ages. For some families this is their first experience with online learning, while for others this may be their third school year experiencing this type of change. Regardless, no one feels like a pro and families are digging deep for inner strength and resilience to weather this storm. Read on below for tips on how to ensure the next two weeks (or longer) are as smooth as possible for your family.
Both personally as a parent of 2 elementary age children, and professionally as president of Teachers on call, this is my third round with the transition from in-school to remote classroom learning. Throughout the pandemic our team has supported students with online tutoring to achieve their academic goals. Since March 2020 I have learned a lot from our community of tutors, parents, students, my children and their teachers. I would like to share it with you.
Here is advice to get your family ready and set up for success:
Take a deep breath and stay calm
The first thing on your checklist is to stay calm and take a deep breath. While easier said than done, this is a time to try and not let stress get the best of us. We need to stay as strong as possible to set a good example for our kids, and to stay focused to make a solid plan for the weeks ahead.
Look out for any teacher communication
Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you with a plan and schedule. Check your phone for any incoming private number calls from your child’s teacher. Remember to check your e-mail frequently for updates. If you have multiple children, the schedule is especially important as breaks may be at separate times and require coordination.
Make a family plan
Depending on the age of your child(ren), you may find that younger students may find it challenging to sit for the entire school day, and that’s ok! Teachers understand this. Plan with your family how to best help, especially if you have children in kindergarten who will likely require help and supervision. It’s also important to know how you will handle breaks and lunch time, especially with more than 1 child at home.
Create a study area for your child
Your home is now your child’s classroom too. Carve out a learning space for your child that is quiet and away from distraction. Make it comfortable and inviting so your child enjoys learning there, and feel free to decorate together with their artwork and favourite things. Check out our guest blog with Sarah Grant from Be.Neat Studio, A Workplace that Works for more ideas.
Get your technology sorted out
With the switch to remote learning, your child will require access to a computer or tablet to access live instruction and lessons. If you have many children, this may pose an additional challenge. Your school is here to help, reach out to let them know and see what accommodations are possible, the quicker the better. Think about everything your child may need including a strong intent connection and accessories such as headphones and chargers.
Have passwords and links ready
Adults have an overload of passwords to remember to access our e-mails, work accounts, banking and more. Now we need to remember that our children have passwords to access google classroom, e-mails, programs and more. There will also be links sent to access their daily learning, so the key is to be as organized as possible and aim to be ready in advance to ensure you are not scrambling morning of
Expose your child to the online learning platform in advance
Ensure your child is familiar with Zoom or whatever online platform your child’s teacher will be utilizing for the online classroom instruction. Teach them how to mute, unmute and to raise their virtual hand. Tip for parents, the mics pick up background sounds and conversations. I have heard countless stories around this, so be mindful to avoid embarrassing situations.
Have learning resources and activities ready as a back-up
It’s possible that your child may not be able to make it through the entire virtual school day, and that’s ok. For primary and elementary age students, have access to additional material and resources to keep them stimulated, occupied and on track to ensure they don’t fall behind. We have many blogs for that with suggestions on apps, games and activities including this recent one.
Keep mental health top of mind
It’s easy to forget about this one, but the mental health of your child(ren) as well as your own is truly important. The next couple of suggestions will help in keeping everyone happy and sane. We also have a blog for this, check it out here!
Healthy snacks are a must
Your child will have recess breaks and be hungry, so have yummy snacks ready and accessible. Older kids will be more independent to grab themselves. This will provide them something to look forward to and provide them with fuel and energy to tackle the day. Don’t forget about the adults at home.
Make exercise and fresh air part of your day
Fresh air and exercise are vital, as it’s easy to stay couped up inside all day. Take advantage of the winter weather with outdoor fun. Enjoy this time with your child. Some parents even join their child’s online gym class for yoga, dance and other group activities (most teachers won’t mind but check first).
Get your child help from an online tutor if needed
Remember that it’s ok to ask for help. If you are concerned about learning gaps and your child falling behind, an online tutor may be a huge help and reliever of stress. On the other side, you may be looking for additional enrichment for a child who craves more stimulation. Feel free to reach out to our team if we can be of help and contact us here.
You’ve got this!
You are trying your best and that is all any of us can do. We hope these tips have equipped you with ideas to get ready and organized for this big transition. If you have questions or need additional inspiration, we are here to help!
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