Make Remote Learning Work for Your Family
Remote learning can be tough on everyone, but with a little planning, your kids have a great shot at success.
Kids across the country are heading back to school, and for many, it’s a very short commute from their bed to their workspace.
There are benefits with remote learning. The most obvious one is that it’s likely safer, as kids won’t be exposed to as many people and therefore run less risk of catching coronavirus or spreading it to others. And some kids thrive on learning from home—they enjoy the greater sense of independence, along with easier access to snacks.
But the drawbacks are pretty intense, too. For one thing, if your child is one of the 19 million Americans who lack access to high speed internet, their school day is going to be vastly different from their peers. We’ve all seen images of kids sitting in parking lots doing their homework with borrowed Wi-Fi. That is nowhere near an ideal educational setting.
Even if you are privileged enough to have internet access, remote learning can still be a trial. But there are some steps families can take to make success far more likely. And as the pandemic rages on and we all wait for news about a vaccine, setting your household up for remote schooling success is a smart thing to do.
Here are some tips.
Comfort—but too much comfort. Think of what it takes to keep you productive when you work at home. Is the bed really the best spot to set up your laptop? Is lying on the floor going to keep you from being distracted? While families don’t need to buy new furniture or supplies to create a schoolroom, it can be useful to set up a table, comfortable chair, and good lights. Put their budding engineering skills to work and let them use a large cardboard box to create a privacy screen so their school day is separated from their home time. And make sure that your child’s laptop or computer is correctly positioned to they don’t experience any strain on their hands, neck, or back.
Routine—but not too much routine. It’s important to keep the rhythm of school even if school is happening at home. Not only because your child’s teachers are going to have specific expectations, but also because humans tend to thrive on schedules. On the other hand, the occasional minor departure from routine can be healthy, too. Keep the day fun and your kids refreshed by opting for an extra recess or pizza for lunch. The little freedoms they have at home will help ease any sadness they feel about not going to school.
Talk with teachers. Teachers everywhere are making monumental efforts to alter the way they teach to be as effective as possible under less-than-ideal conditions. Let them know when you appreciate their efforts! Also let them know when you spot a problem. Problems can almost always be fixed with communication. Is your child uncomfortable having their video on all day? Is the class moving too quickly or slowly for your kid? Send an email. But keep in mind how hard teachers are working these days, under masks and face shields and constant worry.
Make time for friends. What do your kids miss most about in-person school? Probably not the school lunch or needing to ask to go to the bathroom. Chances are good your child misses their friends. Hanging out with buddies online isn’t anywhere near as good as hanging out in person, but it’s better than nothing. And if video games are allowed in your house, get a multi-player game going and see how much fun they can still have.
Need something different to spark a love of learning today? Try a sample chapter!
Nomad Press books are perfect for remote learning! Take a look at this sample chapter from Projectile Science for kids 9 to 12. Includes a sample activity!