Distance learning is difficult. Most students learn best in person. Children should not be sitting in front of a screen for long periods of time. There are some things you can do to make the best of this situation for your child.
First stick to a schedule. Your children should go to bed early enough on school nights to get enough rest for his/her age group. This should be the same time each night. They should get up at the same time on school mornings with enough time to get dressed ( no pajamas in school)and eat a healthy breakfast. School supplies should be organized in the child’s virtual school area. If there is a daily schedule for classes, it should be posted just like most teachers do each day. Your child can check off classes/ assignments as they are completed.
The virtual school area should have a charged computer or IPAD, a desk, shelves and/or a bookcase ( this can be labeled) to keep supplies, paper, a filled water bottle, text books, the day’s schedule, writing utensils (pencils, pens, crayons- depending on the age of the student), a comfortable chair and also a big ball to sit on if possible. A white board and/or a bulletin board is a nice touch. Your child could help design the area. When it is completely ready to use, take a photo of it. The photo can be taped to the desk or hung up nearby so at the end of the day the child has a model of how to stay organized.
Before distance school starts, make sure your child does some exercise for 30 minutes. It can be an activity like walking the dog, riding a bike, jumping jacks, family jogging, kicking a soccer ball, shooting hoops etc. It is especially nice if the whole family participates. It can be the same activity each day or a different activity for each day of the week or try an activity for a week and then switch. Before class starts make sure your child is hydrated and fed and that the internet connection works.
Once the child is successfully connected to the class you can start your work schedule. Check in during breaks. Have your child get up and move during breaks. Keep in contact with the teacher. Have your child explain what was being taught each day during dinner when family members discuss their days. If a child can successfully explain a new concept, then he/she understands it. If there is independent work to complete, your child should write it down in a daily planner and check off assignments as they are completed. You child can also use a calendar on the laptop or IPAD.
After classes are over for the day, make sure your child gets some fresh air and time to play outside ( weather permitting) before starting independent work. Your child should have a healthy snack also. He/she can help prepare it. Once he/she is ready to start the independent work, ask if there are any questions. If there is an assignment that is confusing, the child may need to contact the teacher, or review the lesson if it was recorded. If the child has a multi- day assignment, ask him/her to write down what will be completed each day until it is due. Breaking down a larger task makes it less overwhelming and does not allow last minute procrastination.
When school is over if there are other activities such a musical instrument lesson or practice time, make sure your child is ready for the lesson or blocks off time in the schedule to practice the instrument. There should be some down time (about 30 minutes) outside or drawing or playing a board game. If there is a friend your child is social distancing with, they might play together. They could have a short zoom playdate. After the short break, your child can start on any homework. Your child might also have some chores or could help with dinner.
After dinner, there is time to shower and read and then it is time for bed. After being on a screen for school each day, TV watching and computer You Tubes should be kept to a minimum. The last 90 minutes before bed should be screen free. The whole family could choose a book to read together in lieu of TV.
Weekends should be for family chores and fun time. This could be a trip to a hiking trail, bike riding and board games. Some children’s sports teams may be starting and would keep everyone busy. If there is homework, make sure your child has a plan of when to compete it. On Sundays, your child will need to organize the distance learning school classroom to be ready for the new week.
Distance learning during the Covid 19 pandemic is not optimum. If you stay positive, keep to a schedule and stay organized, your child will learn.