Distance learning has been adopted by families across the country virtually overnight! While there are some benefits that come with this new schedule, many families may find this new time together challenging. Here are some thoughts and ideas as you navigate this new reality.
Give Yourself Grace
One of our parents told us he and his wife are embarrassed that they are struggling to get their son to focus much on his assignments. We reminded him (and all other parents) that home is the safest place for kids and parents don’t have the advantage of a classroom full of kids that usually influences children to behave according to the group norm so they are not subjecting themselves to negative attention from the teacher. Take care of yourself, don’t be self-critical or judge your success based on what you hear is happening in another household. There is no one right way to do this shelter-in-place-plus homeschooling! Keep a conversation going with a parent you trust who knows your children well and muffle the rest of the noise.
Break it Up
Don’t try to do all of the school work at one time. That is likely not what your student is used to. Many times, teachers have classes broken up with brain breaks, specials, a walk outside, etc. It is important to give your student space between their lessons.
Remember, your school is not closed! We are still running our classrooms, just more spread out. If your student is struggling to understand a new concept, or with the workload, reach out to the teacher. Many times you will find that reaching out to your child’s teacher will save time and lessen frustrations.
Keep a Schedule
Just like most adults, your child is used to a predictable schedule. Try to keep their schedule as close to normal as you can. Keep it manageable and easy to understand for them. Make sure they are set up for success with a consistent space that is considered their new ‘classroom’ and helps them focus. Something like the following gives you flexibility and predictability.
➔First, we have breakfast
➔Then we do a set amount of time for work
➔Then we have a brain break or play outside for a bit
➔Then we have lunch and (if necessary) a rest time
➔Then we do another chunk of work
➔Then we do a fun learning resource (a game, a STEM activity, a puzzle)
Don’t Forget the Younger Siblings
This could be the hardest adjustment for your family! Keeping your younger kids occupied while working as your older child’s teacher is tough. If you can, allow your younger child to participate in a variation of what their sibling is doing. Try to find some activities that will keep your younger child entertained. There are so many resources online (Busy Toddler and Days with Grey are some of our favorites) to take a look at that can give you some great ideas. Here are some of our favorite tried and true activities:
➔Shaving Cream Fun- spray it on a table, outside on a tarp, and let your child get messy!
➔Sensory Bins- make sure these are safe and age-appropriate. Rice bins can be great for
even your youngest learner and typically is taste safe.
➔Magnets- ABC, 123, color, shapes, any magnets you have are great ways to play! Use a
cookie sheet to help your child be independent with their activity.
Take it One Day at a Time
Once again, reach out to your student’s teacher and school administration if you need help. We are here for you and your family!