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30 Aug 2020
As the summer winds to an end, it is time to regroup and get ready for the upcoming school year. This year will be serious, and your children will have the opportunity to learn their entire curricula, just in a different way. We have one more week to prepare for distance learning. Here are some tips to get off to a great start.
- Go shopping for school supplies. Even though school will be at home, shopping for fresh supplies will get everyone in the mood to start school.
- Set up an individual space for each member of the family to work at a “home office.” This may be in a room to be shared with others. The private space should include a desk, chair, computer, and school supplies.
- Consider purchasing a stand-up whiteboard to place in each “home office.” You can use the whiteboard to write down a schedule and to-do list; students can check off items as they are completed.
- Become familiar in advance with each class’ online setup, including the daily schedule, assignments, and how to contact the teachers.
- Send each teacher an introductory email which includes how your child handled distance learning in the Spring, what would be helpful for your child, and anything the teacher should know about your home situation.
- Consider purchasing noise cancelling headphones to make it easier to focus.
- Have a meeting with each of your children at the end of each day to discuss what went well and what needs improvement. This can be during a snack or meal, or during a walk or other activity.
- Keep in touch with the teachers to communicate what is going well and what needs to be modified. Always be courteous and start each email with something positive.
- Offer a reward system for working hard and independently.
- Allow opportunities for your children to work with their peers on assignments, either remotely or carefully in person.
- Whenever there is a break during the school day, try to use it to exercise and eat healthy meals or snacks. Personal screen time may be unavoidable, but it must be kept to a minimum. It can be used as a reward at the end of the day.
- Keep your expectations reasonable and praise your children for their successes. We do not expect perfection.
While distance learning may not be ideal, it is helpful to have a positive attitude. Maybe you can prevent some stress with increased sleep, less commute time, and a little more family time. Perhaps your children will be more focused and less distracted online than in person. Homework may be incorporated into the independent work day, allowing more free time in the evenings. It will be easier to incorporate exercise and healthy meals. Always look for the silver lining.