As schools all over the country are faced with the challenge of providing distance learning materials for their students, parents have been faced with the challenge of being more involved with their children’s schooling than ever before.
There are a lot of other challenges that come with being involved with your child’s education like understanding the material they’re covering, communicating with teachers more frequently and making sure your kids are really benefiting from the distance learning tactics and not just coasting though.
As a parent, you have to take some time and figure out how you can best help your child through the transition and challenges of distance learning. Even though summer is quickly approaching, there’s no way to say for sure that schools will reopen in the fall!
Throughout the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges of distance learning and how we can overcome them as parents. Here are some of my tips! Please feel free to implement them into your own practices with your family. I know how tough these times are and we could all use all the help we can get!
Know what’s expected of you and your child
Keep in constant communication with your children and their teachers to learn exactly what your role is. Surely, you’re not expected to take on the role of teacher but there are still a lot of other ways that you can support your child and their education.
It’s important to not be too overbearing and hover over your kids as their learning but you also need to keep a close enough eye on them to be sure they’re not treating distance learning like a vacation.
Determine which forms of learning work
Since their regular form of learning has been totally uprooted, your child is just discovering a totally new way of viewing education. Does your child like one-on-one learning with their teacher? Are they thriving when there’s a whole class of students to learn along with? Is it easier for them to sit down with you at the end of the day to go over all the material again?
If one of your biggest challenges of distance learning is that your child is not engaged in the material, asking these questions might lead you to some creative and valuable solutions.
Get the kids moving
One of the biggest challenges of distance learning – and working from home in general – is the risk of getting burnt out. Sitting down all day at the computer and packing your brain full of information can be really anxiety-inducing and bad for your body! Encourage your kids to get up and moving periodically throughout the day. Just like a recess or a gym class would.
Getting your kids’ bodies moving is important for keeping their mind’s clear. After taking a break and getting a little energy out, they’ll have an easier time focusing on the task at hand.
Help them focus
Give your child a designated workspace free of noise and distractions. Make it like their “classroom” and make sure it’s conducive to learning – a comfortable chair, a desk that’s the proper height, no TV or cell phone access. Try not to check in on them too often but reassure them that you’re available to help them if they need it.
Adjust your own schedule
It’s important during these times to be sensitive to your child’s needs. Even though you might be dealing with adjusting to working from home yourself, you should communicate with your employer and co-workers and let them know that you have to make yourself available to help your child periodically throughout the day.
Chances are, the people that you work with are in similar situations so they’re likely to understand and give you the time that you need to assist your child in the challenges of distance learning.
It might also be a good idea to set aside some time at the end of every day – say after dinner or just before bed – to recap what your child learned that day. Remember not to pressure them as it might frustrate them, but just let them know that you want to help and understand what they’re going through.
These times are hard on everyone! The struggle of switching to distance learning at the drop of a hat is real and it’s important to be understanding of that. If you notice that your child is getting frustrated or falling behind, chat with their teacher and give them a break. No one can be expected to have top-tier performance during a global pandemic, that’s just the truth!
While students need to be challenged in order to learn, distance learning might be challenging enough.
Give lots of positive feedback
Make sure your child knows how well they’re doing! Create a reward system, even if it’s something as simple as a star chart, something to cheer them on every time they finish an assignment or complete a task. Giving them rewards will keep them motivated and give them a reason to be proud of themselves!
Don’t forget to reward yourself, too. Distance learning and working from home is stressful for the whole family.
If you’re looking for a new set of comfy clothes to work in or just some fun leggings to spruce up your wardrobe, reward yourself with a treat from my shop! Take a break and listen to my podcast Murder Speaks!
Use supplemental resources
Even though there are many challenges of distance learning, there’s one really great benefit: you have the internet at your fingertips!
Scour the internet for educational online games, e-books, interesting videos or Ted Talks that are geared toward the subject that your child is working on. A change of pace and learning environment might be all they need to understand a subject a little bit more. Try to offer yourself or other family members as a resource, too! If you’ve got a teacher in the family or an expert in a certain field, ask them if they’ll lend a helping hand here and there.
Don’t compare educational experiences
You might be hearing about the way that other schools are handling distance learning and get frustrated that your child’s school is doing it differently. This is truly just unnecessary stress to put on yourself because schools are just doing what they’re told and doing what they can.
Some schools are taking attendance promptly at 9 am while others might not be taking attendance at all. You’ll see disparities like these all over when it comes to distance learning and it’s best to just take them in stride. The important thing is how comfortable your child is with their new learning atmosphere.
You might also find that some teachers are better at teaching online than others and your child isn’t doing very well in their classes. This is why it’s really important for you to be involved and pay attention to where your child needs help and what you can do to supplement their education.
Utilize a whiteboard and checklist
Who doesn’t love a good to-do list? For your child, one of the challenges of distance learning might be getting overwhelmed by all of their tasks. Since they’re not in school and following their typical daily routine, it might be difficult for them to visualize their day.
To keep your star student on track, get a nice big whiteboard and hang it in their learning area. Every morning, go through their daily tasks and assignments and give them a manageable to-do list. Giving them a broken-down schedule and allowing them to see what tasks they have to complete will alleviate stress and make them more productive. They will feel great every time they cross something off, too!
Hopefully these tips will help you with distance learning for the rest of the school year! It seems like the light is truly at the end of the tunnel and we’re going to be back on track come the fall, but no one can say for sure. If you’ve got any tips for distance learning that worked for you this year, feel free to share them with me and I can update this post!
I know that these times are tough. Give yourself and your family a huge pat on the back and treat yourselves to a whole day of fun soon! Everybody probably could use a little reset.