Tuesday, September 8, 2020

What Parents Need to Know About Distance Learning

 Back to School!         

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Tuesday my district goes live on line with students! We are all so excited, but nervous, too.

I wanted to start my school year out helping parents organize and prepare for the first days of school, at home!  Here are some tips, tricks and ideas I shared with my student's parents.  

What Parents Need to Know About Distance Learning 
Build a strong relationship with your child’s teacher.  Call, email or text your child’s teacher and introduce yourself.  Tell the teacher about your child, and your family.  Ask what you can do to help her/him and ask what you should do when you need help. 
Set and keep a daily school schedule and routine at home.    Students thrive when routines and schedules are followed strictly.  Consistent routines create an atmosphere that allows children to feel secure and know what to expect.  Remember to include in your daily schedule breaks at regular times for stretching, snacks, lunch and physical movement outside when possible.  Create a plan and
stick to it!
Locate or create a space in your home for each individual child.  This is where they will do their distant learning and school work. Organize the the space by making sure the materials your child needs are easily accessible and within reach.  Limit distractions between children in the same room by using headphones, computer privacy screens or poster boards.  Desks, tables or other working spaces, which are in the same room, need to be positioned back to back to minimize distractions and horseplay! J
Many parents feel like they need to teach or reteach distant learning lessons.  Let the teacher do the teaching and help your children if they struggle by having a conversation about what your child understands and does not understand about the lesson.  Help your child explain their thinking about the lesson and see if they can sort out their thinking on their own.  Sometimes kids just need a sounding board.  If your child is still stuck, contact the teacher.

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Ask for help. Don’t be reluctant to contact teachers, reach out to other parents, or family and friends.  We are all coping right now with similar worries, frustrations and problems. By reaching out to each other we build a strong foundation for our own family and the families in our community. 
Encourage reading. Read with your children.  You can read books, recipes, newspapers or magazines.  The point is just to read everyday with your children.
Set clear expectations with your family.  Have a family meeting and come prepared to share your expectations for school with your children.  Explain that school is still school even when distant learning and that you expect the best effort from your children.   Establish realistic consequences for your children if their schoolwork has not been completed in a timely manner.  Hold weekly family meetings to talk about your families agreed upon expectations.  Consider how those expectations were met. If the expectation has not been met, calmly give the consequence that you established if schoolwork was not done.   Be consistent.  Keep everyone in the family connect with student education and achievement with these important family interactions.

Provide feedback.  Kids love stickers, stars, praise and positive reinforcement.  Remember to always praise the behavior you are looking for (‘Wow! I am impressed with how you made sure to use your best handwriting when writing your story!’ versus ‘good job on that story.’)
Model patience, perseverance, understanding and compassion.  Covid-19 has created unprecedented stress in many if not most families.  Now is the time to teach your child patience, understanding and compassion.  Talk about perseverance and different strategies to create it when doing schoolwork.  Let your children know that taking a break when frustration comes in is a great skill to learn, but the real life skill is going back to a job and getting it finished!
Don’t forget to have fun.  Kids are kids and love to learn through play.  Make games and fun activities out of school work.  Ask your children how they could make up a game to help them with some of their assignments.  Make if fun to learn.
Keep track of assignments.  Make a schedule and post it on the refrigerator.  Review it together with your children each morning and set goals.
Encourage writing by asking your children to keep a diary or journal.  Make a homemade journal and teach your kiddos how to keep a diary.  Integrate writing into real life home activities.  These writing activities are great in English or your native language.
Promote conversation in any language.  Ask your child what they did today at school what was the most interesting, difficult, important things you learned today.

I am also sharing it with you, too! (click here for your free copy).  

Send this list home to take the first steps in assisting parents in making a successful transition to distance learning!

click here for your free copy 

All my best,

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