Wednesday, August 19, 2020

7 Back-to-School Tips for Remote Learning

After the spring when Covid-19 turned our kids' school years upside down, all parents were hoping school would be back to normal once the summer was over. Unfortunately, the US has not figured how to flatten the curve so here we find ourselves, with full on virtual academy or a hybrid model of back-to-school schedule. 

Here in NC, schools re-opened under Plan B, where students go to school one day a week and the remainder of the week is all virtual. We started back officially this week. 

I am in several Facebook parent groups and I have already seen all the posts from anxious parents about technical difficulties, questions on the assignments and more. This year will definitely take a lot of patience and grace if we are to survive it! 

I have a 3rd and 5th grader and it's important for me to support them through this school year as best as I can. In today's post, I am sharing my back-to-school tips for remote learning. 

1) Set the Scene- Kids are able to focus better when they have a designated space to learn. I set up section of our loft that includes a charging station for their Chromebooks, a plastic drawer organizer stocked with their school supplies, a paper tray used to keep their notebooks and folder and lap desk trays so they can work comfortably on the couch or sitting on cushions on the floor. My girls were very excited about their special space. 

2) Embrace Routines & Consistency - The teachers put together a school schedule that includes specific work times for different subjects. It also includes times teachers will provide live instructions. Having the schedule visible helps both the parents/kids stay on track. Kids thrive on structure so using the schedule for consistency will be key! Our family has a pretty typical routine. We get the kids up at the same time, they get dressed and have breakfast before signing into their virtual morning meetings. After the school day, we have dinner, spend free time/family time, have bath time, and then we wind down for the night. 

3) Preparation Will Go Far- The girls have to join Microsoft Teams meetings every morning. I recommend getting set up for any virtual meetings early. It's a good idea to make sure you know how/where to access the meeting. I also look to the lesson plans the night before and I make sure I read through them to understand exactly where to find assignments and how to go about getting the girls ready to start them. This step has helped me tremendously so I don't feel as anxious when they sit down ready to work/learn. 

4. Choose Grace - Throw perfection out of the window. There will be plenty of times when things won't go right. The internet will fail you, kids won't want to focus, and you will have questions about assignments, etc. Try to remember, you are not the only one dealing with these same issues. Give yourself credit for showing up and being there to support your child. Your teacher will understand and together you'll come up with something that will work. 

5. It Takes a Village-  It will take a village to get through this school year. Students, Parents, Teachers, etc. working together. I joined a couple of parent groups specifically for 3rd and 5th grade so I could find support or offer it without judgement. I also noted in teacher emails who I need to contact for specific help in different areas. Knowing the right source will get you answers quicker. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Others could possibly need help with the same thing! 

6. Be Flexible. Not every school day at home will look the same. Both my husband and I work from home full-time and we also have meetings to attend. Even though the teachers have a school schedule doesn't mean your child will work at the same pace at home. Learn to be flexible and it will be less anxiety-inducing. 

7. Let Kids Lead- Empower your kids. My 5th grader is more independent this year. I am learning I don't need to monitor her too closely. She knows when she has a question or needs help to come find mom or dad. My 3rd grader still needs come general guidance, but sometimes she wants to the easy things on her list of assignments first... back to being flexible....I let her choose when she wants to do certain assignments and our day has less melt downs. 

These are just my tips to getting through this time of uncertainty. If you have a mom hack or tip to add to this list, please leave a comment because I am always looking for ways to make my life easier! 

I am hoping, despite this school year not being the one anyone was looking for, our students and teachers have a great year. Thanks for reading my tips and I hope you find them helpful. 

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