Virtual learning can be a challenging time for kids and parents alike. Natalia Borquez, contributor for Vegas Family Guide, gives distance learning tips on supporting our kids this year as we navigate the new world of virtual schooling.
Create a schedule.
Make a schedule that works best your family and stick with it. Consider everyone’s work and sleeping schedules. This might mean the kids are waking up early, getting dressed and eating breakfast before school. Or maybe they’re doing their lessons in the afternoon so the morning is reserved for chores. Whichever schedule you chose, setting a timer will help keep everyone on track.
Keep materials handy.
Make sure anything the kids need to get their work done is easily accessible…pencils, paper, stable Wi-Fi connection, login info, headphones, a printer with ink and paper, notetaking apps or reading strategies.
Organization is extra important nowadays, especially if you have multiple kids distance learning at the same time. An easy way to get organized is to provide each kid with a binder. The binders could include the following:
- Page with commonly used websites
- Usernames and passwords
- Pencil case with pencil
- Pencil sharpener
- Dry erase marker
- Dividers or folders for each subject
If the teacher color coded subjects, try to match their colors. Include printed assignments along with one or two extra page protectors which can be used to make any work sheet dry-erase.
Set up a learning space.
A good learning environment consists simply of good lighting, relatively quiet atmosphere and easy-to-access materials. If one spot doesn’t work out, try another. Whether it’s a bedroom or a kitchen table, whatever you have will work.
Be sure to take breaks and lunch.
Get the kids moving when it’s time for a break. Have them step away from their learning area and get some fresh air. Lunch and snacks are also important. Keep healthy snacks available on a shelf or in a drawer they can grab. Also have them fill up their water bottle at lunch time so it’s accessible to them during class.
Make a list of resources.
Your main contact should be your child’s teacher. For more general questions, the front office would be your next best contact. Bookmark and check your school district and state education websites regularly.
Join the PTA to stay current on school events, fundraisers and to connect with other parents. If your child has an Individualized Education Program, connect with their Special Ed teacher or service provider. And follow local online blogs or parent support groups for ideas on things to do at home with kids.
These stress busters may help.
Go for a walk. Physical activity helps us feel better and great conversations can happen when you and your kids are walking together.
Prepare a healthy meal together. Then sit down and share the meal with no distractions. Turn off the television and cell phones.
Get creative. Try coloring, using modeling clay, painting or knitting. Listen to music or watch a family show together. Pick a series to watch together to unwind or chose a movie series to watch once a week. Having something to look forward to every week will help everyone stay positive.
Take a brain break. Try deep breathing, stretching or yoga. You can find 10 minute yoga workouts on YouTube that are perfect for de-stressing.
Give yourself grace.
You are not alone in this new world of virtual learning. We all want our kids to have the best experience possible and will do everything we can to give them the support they need. But the reality is these are challenging times. So don’t forget to be gentle with yourself along the way.