Tips for Managing Distance Learning and Home Life
This fall is anything but conventional. Juggling work and family is always a challenge but this year has forced countless parents into the additional role of distance-learning manager or teacher on top of everything else—and many parents and students are maxed out. If you’re struggling to manage distance learning and home life, you’re in good company! Fortunately, there are some tips that can make distance learning and consequently, home life, a little easier.
Create a custom schedule
Kids thrive when they operate within a routine. If you decide to structure your child’s school day very differently than it would be structured at school, that’s ok. Having the freedom to do so allows you the opportunity to determine what schedule will work best for your child and their individual needs. What time of the day does your child focus best? Start school at that time. Does your young child need frequent breaks to stay focused? Incorporate active breaks that encourage large muscle activity into their schedule. Elementary-age kids can typically focus on a given task for about 25 minutes so blazing through school in one swoop probably won’t set your young child up for a successful learning experience.
Recreate the parts of school your child likes the most
Ask your child what they like most about school and try and weave these elements into their distance-learning schedule. Do they like that their teachers play a song when they switch between subjects? Or maybe your child really looks forward to labs and hands-on activities. When you can pinpoint and incorporate some of these “favorites,” you’ll have an easier time keeping your child engaged and you’ll help to create a sense of normalcy during an otherwise stressful time.
Arrange schoolwork in an order that works best for your child
Distance learning does not have to mimic a traditional school day. It doesn’t have to be eight hours long and your child doesn’t have to do their coursework in any particular order. Instead, find the order that works best for your child and create a schedule around it. Maybe it works best to start with a subject that comes easier and is more interesting to them and then follow that up with a more challenging or less interesting subject. Perhaps weaving hands-on activities or computer-oriented coursework throughout the day is helpful. It can take some time to get into a rhythm and that’s ok. Try different approaches and see what works best.
Utilize online resources
We live in the Information Age—take advantage of it! There is so much available at your fingertips that can help make distance learning easier for you and your child. A quick Google search will yield an abundance of resources to help you create a successful distance-learning school day and balance working from home while facilitating your child’s education. There are samples of school-day schedules, printable worksheets to reinforce new concepts and plenty of articles offering solidarity from other parents in the same boat! The website, Teachers Pay Teachers, is a goldmine of free and paid downloadable resources and a great place to start if you’re looking for ideas.
Give yourself and your student buckets of grace
The best way to achieve an effective distance learning and home life balance is to offer yourself and your child heaps of grace. Most of us aren’t teachers by trade and we didn’t sign up for pandemic-induced distance learning. This situation is new and stressful for everyone. School psychologist Rebecca Branstetter encourages parents to keep this perspective, “I am not homeschooling. I am doing my best to help my kids learn at home during a crisis. There’s a big difference!” Speak frequent words of encouragement to your child and remind them that they’re doing a great job adapting to this new way of learning.
When distance-learning is a smooth and pleasant experience for your child, it creates a peaceful ripple effect throughout your home. If distance learning is stressful and chaotic right now and you feel like you and your child are barely hanging on, relax. Breathe. Spend some time considering how you can course-correct and adjust your expectations. Tailor your child’s experience to his or her unique needs, tap into online resources and extend grace. We will get through this!
Interested in our resources at LearningRx? Contact us to learn more about how we can help your child overcome obstacles to learning.