How to Make Remote Learning Work for You (and Your Kids)
By Dr. Molly Casey
There is still a lot of shifting and transitioning right now in the world and everything, to some extent, is affected. The school calendar year, schedule, and type of learning setting are no exception. Many families are dealing with remote learning at home from one to five days per week. This is a challenge for kids, parents, and teachers alike. Here are some tips to help move through this time as smoothly as possible.
Keep A Schedule
There is so much volatility now that consistency is more important than ever. Some remote learning setups require that the kids be on the computer certain hours -- even regular school hours. Other setups simply require a log-on and completion of work in a certain amount of time. Although this variety may sound appealing in some ways, the lack of structure can put added stress on the kiddos. The answer: Make and keep a schedule.
Make a daily schedule and keep it, regardless of the type or place of learning. Set and keep a regular wake-up time. Set and keep a morning preschool routine even if “school” is in the living room. Set and keep an after school routine. And set and keep a post-dinner, pre-bedtime routine whether there’s remote learning or traditional school learning. The structure supports a system of normalcy and being productive. Consistency in schedule will allow for the greatest results.
Create a workstation. Dedicate a specific area within the house for school work and class time. This creates the setting for work; it’s clear what occurs in that space and allows the child to mentally put themselves in the space of work. They show up on time in that area of the house during school hours. This definition of area, along with the clear times, starts to contain the child’s energy and direct it toward the schoolwork to be done even in the home setting.
When creating a workstation, design the work area for schoolwork. Don’t hodgepodge something together and expect the child to want to be there, or to stay there, when learning from a home environment in which they usually have free rein to do whatever they want. In addition to the computer and headphones, make sure the workstation includes all proper supplies in one location so there’s no need to get up throughout the day to retrieve things that aren’t there: pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, water, and so forth.
Home learning is new and different. Expectations need to be realistic. Most kids have not learned in this fashion. Most adults have not taught in this fashion. The lack of structure in the physical surroundings (not in a classroom) is a stress; the lack of socialization is a significant change (perhaps one of the most significant stresses), and the way content is delivered is different as well. The amount of adaptation required here is dramatic. As parents, that means it would be wise to modify and be realistic with the expectations. If you hold expectations to exactly what they were when in a school setting, it’s likely everyone will be disappointed and further stressed. So allow space and time for the adaptation and be flexible where and when you can.
Create time and space for movement throughout the day. The body needs to move. The body and the mind are under an immense amount of stress during this transition. Movement increases blood flow, releases tension, shifts mindset, increases energy. All of these changes are important to your child being in the best physical space to adapt to -- and learn in -- the new setting. Get your child checked and adjusted by a chiropractor. The health of the spine promotes the health of the nervous system and supports the entire structure of the body. A child’s physical health directly affects their ability to withstand and adapt to the changes and learn in this new setting.
Like it or not, things have changed in life and at school. Putting energy and thought into your child’s at-home learning setup will ultimately pay off for them and you. Create a schedule and be consistent. Design a workstation and treat it as a classroom. Be realistic in what you expect and be flexible where you can. And have those kiddos move, because movement is life.
And finally, keep your chin up. This will eventually pass and the kids will eventually return to school.
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