All students will eventually be required to stay home from school due to the social distancing requirements passed down from city and state legislature due to the CoronaVirus.
How to help your child with Distance Learning at home will be on the minds of parents worldwide.
This will mean that many parents and grandparents will now be thrown into the role of their child’s teacher.
While many districts have established Distance Learning requirements, many parents will need to fill the shoes of the teacher when it comes to explaining the eLearning directions and how to accomplish the tasks at hand.
The good news is that you have always been your child’s first teacher.
The bad news is, if you start the Distance Learning process off on the wrong foot this will be a much more difficult couple of months. (hopefully not that long!)
Here are some tips and steps that will help you and your child during the time in which you will now become a Parent/Teacher.
To get more information on homeschooling and eLearning check out the K12 Homeschooling site.
5 Steps To Help Your Child With Distance Learning
1. Model The Traits Of A Great Teacher
A big part of being a great teacher is being patient, flexible and consistent.
The best way to set the right tone at the beginning of your Distance Learning experience is to be patient.
Any time you change a routine in a child’s life things can get difficult.
Being patient during these times will pay huge dividends.
It’s very easy to get frustrated but that is only going to make your child go deeper in their shell or increase their anxiety which is already at an all-time high due to the change in routine.
Take a deep breath and give them a chance to ease into their Distance Learning experience.
You will find that once they get into the swing of things they will be taking large strides toward their new educational goals.
Another very important part of harnessing your inner Parent/Teacher is to be flexible.
This new type of educational environment at home is going to need a huge learning curve.
That will most likely include multiple schedule changes and the need to be flexible when and where schoolwork is done.
With many families having more than one child all trying to accomplish their eLearning work at the same time you will need to try different strategies to make everyone successful.
Lastly, the holy grail of teacher awesomeness is consistency.
Parents need to model the importance of education even when things are different and possibly more difficult.
Once you find a schedule that works stick with it and always reinforce your child’s successes on a regular basis.
When a child knows they can get away with something they will try.
Once a child knows that you will be consistent with both the reward and consequences they will fall into line and complete that tasks given to them.
The best part of all of this is that you are the one person or people that know your child the best.
Use that to your advantage!
Keep the strategies of being patient, flexible and consistent in the front of your mind and you will be amazing.
2. Use Positive Reinforcement
When you first start out on your eLearning journey you always want to start slow and reinforce all positive behaviors.
When your child feels confident and well praised they will be more likely to see this change to learning at home as a good one.
When you praise a child for an appropriate choice you are reinforcing that behavior with the hopes that the child will do it again and make it a habit.
The worst thing you can do is start this new process off on the wrong foot.
If things do not go well, in the beginning, it will be much more difficult for your child to see this new learning opportunity as a fun and positive change.
Although, If they see eLearning in a positive light because as a parent you have been patient, flexible and took every opportunity to praise your child you will find that they will come to love the Distance Learning process.
When using positive reinforcement to help smooth out the Distance Learning process you should remember that it doesn’t have to be only big successes that you praise.
Make it a big deal when they log-in correctly or are able to find the right app on their own.
This will get the process started off nicely and they will feel confident to try harder things in next sessions to come.
It is also a good idea to stop and reward your child with a break or tangible reward.
In the beginning, once they have completed 30 minutes of an eLearning session let them have an outside break or time on their tablet for something fun.
You could also give them a tangible reward like a prize that you have previously purchased for such an occasion or a popsicle break for doing such a good job.
Once they are smoothly going down the right path you can extend their schedule and make it more difficult to earn their reward so that they are increasing their stamina and make continual progress.
You will see right away that starting this process off with as much positive reinforcement as possible will turn a scary change into an amazing adventure.
3. Make A Simple Schedule
As much as kids say they don’t like structure or boundaries… They secretly crave it!
Subconsciously they need the structure of a consistent schedule to help them feel safe and not always wondering what is coming up next.
Nobody, including our children, likes the unknown or not knowing what’s in store for them in the future.
Although, be careful not to overdo the schedule in the beginning which many times can overwhelm your child.
Start with a simple, easy and to the point schedule that focuses only on the most important things in the beginning.
You might want to even intentionally leave out some important subjects in the beginning if you think your child will do better with a smaller schedule to start with.
The rule of thumb is to start with the very basics and then add to the schedule or To-Do list as they feel more confident with their original basic schedule.
Once they have found success with the original schedule then adding to it to make it more rigorous is appropriate.
If for some reason your child is not finding the original schedule helpful don’t hesitate to change it!
It’s not about the schedule per se, it’s about finding a rhythm to the day that works for you and your family.
Try a schedule and experiment with the lengths of times that the kids are working with to complete tasks.
Try different break schedules or brain breaks and come up with a schedule that works for your family.
What will work for one family won’t work for others so customize it for the betterment of your family.
Make sure you account for the little quirks and intricacies that your family has and make the best schedule possible.
Here is an example of a schedule that might work for some families:
In the beginning, you can start with some of these activities and then move on to adding more and more cognitive time frames as you see appropriate.
When you go slow and make the schedule simple, fun but as rigorous as necessary for your child, you will see how fun Distance Learning can be.
4. Give Yourself Some Slack
You have amazing skill sets but most of you are not certified, Teachers.
Being patient, flexible, consistent, giving specific praise and meeting the needs of many different students with very different needs has taken Teachers a long time to perfect.
Now, you are thrown into this eLearning process will no training and along with that, you are having to deal with your own financial and home needs for your own family.
Give yourself a break and some leeway throughout this new process!
As I said before, the good news is that you have always been your child’s first teacher.
The only difference is you didn’t think it would be during school hours too.
The other good part of this is that teachers and school districts all over the country are coming up with curriculum that will best suit your child’s needs.
You will not be responsible for making packets of learning materials or trying to find a paid school like app for your child to participate with.
What will be needed, is for you to help your child get on the devices so they can find where the online materials are located that their teachers have so diligently created for your child.
This will be difficult at first but once you have logged on multiple times and your computer has saved their passwords and usernames it will be much more fluid and simple.
The bottom line is this will not be easy at first but you must give yourself some slack in the beginning.
When you are stressed your children can sense it.
The more frustrated and stressed you are the more anxious your child will be.
The more anxious your child is the more resistant they will be to change.
Do yourself and your whole family a favor and take all of this in stride.
Please remember at the end of the day, if you do this right, they will not remember the Corona Virus, the pandemic or all the drama.
What they will remember is the time Mom and Dad were home with them and got to work together to make school more fun.
5. Distance Learning Is Not The Only Option
Many districts around the nation realize that not everyone has access to technology.
Another problem is that a family might have one computer for many children.
School districts are starting the process of lending out laptops to families that need help in the tech department.
Although, one option that can be helpful is to go the traditional route and ask the school for paper packets of work each week.
When a child has an excused reason to leave school for a long period of time such as an illness or family emergency the teacher or school would put a packet of work together to help the child stay on track.
With the unusual situation that is occurring at this time traditional packets of work can be a successful option for some families.
The positive side of this is that your child can complete their school work when the environment at home is the least stressful for them.
They also will not have the stress of slow loading times and won’t have issues trying to find multiple pieces of school work from different places on the web.
For children not exposed to a lot of technology, going with the paper packets might be an easier way for them to start their at-home learning experience.
The downside is that the curriculum might be limited due to the difficulty of printing, organizing and distributing the materials.
There is a lot of amazing online curriculum in this day and age and your child might not get to experience it if you decide the traditional route.
Here is a great resource on the Best Math Websites For Kids.
You would also most likely have to pick up the packets at school which might be a risk as you could be exposed to people which increases the chances of getting sick which is the whole reason why we are trying Distance Learning in the first place.
Only you, as a parent, can decide which route to take is best for your family.
Either way, if you use these 5 steps to helping your child with Distance Learning you will make this a positive experience that they will remember for years to come.
Check Out Our YouTube Video On The Subject
Please Comment Below
If you have another tip for helping improve the Distance Learning experience we would love for you to leave a comment below!