Tips for Distance Learning - Help Your Children at Home
Hey Taylor: My daughter’s school has finally settled on remote learning for the fall semester. She did fine when school closed last spring, but I’m wondering if you have any tips for making this next semester productive while she does her distance learning and I try to work from home. — Marjorie
Hey Marjorie: Kudos to you for facing this challenge head-on! Being a parent is hard enough without having to work as a part-time educator while holding down your own job. It’s important that your child feels like learning still matters even with everything being turned upside down, and there are a few things you can do to help that along.
1. Create a schooling space. As anyone who works from home knows, it can be difficult to focus when the line between home and work life is blurred. If you have a room — either a guest space or a portion of the living room — you can turn into the “classroom,” you might help limit the distractions. If this is going to work, you need to go the extra mile in setting up the area. Put up a chalkboard or a sheet or something to serve as the background so your daughter doesn’t see the familiar household scenery behind her. Any other educational props, such as rulers and pencils and pads of paper, even if unused, can help give off that classroom vibe.
2. Work on the morning routine. You might need to lead by example on this one. If you tend to head to your computer and start working while still wearing your robe or PJs, try getting up a little earlier to shower and put on some work clothes. Asking your daughter to do the same can help her prepare for the school day as she would have when she actually went to a physical school building. When every part of the day just kind of bleeds into the next, it becomes harder to pay attention and get motivated to do the work. Help cultivate that morning and lunchtime routine that will give structure.
3. Try to stay positive. These are difficult, frustrating times. You might be annoyed with your own work situation already, and with remote learning adding another burden to your day you could feel like you’re about to reach your boiling point. The more we can put on a happy face, be thankful for the blessings we have, and remind our kids that these changes are only temporary, the better our chances for success.
One of the biggest hurdles is making kids understand that this version of school still counts. It can feel like we’re all just playing pretend, so you’ll want to remind your daughter that this is real life, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Keep encouraging and you should be fine. Good luck!