Many of us are looking at more e-learning this fall. Every school district has created its own model, and the models seem to change daily. I would categorize spring remote learning as solidly “meh” in my household, but I know we can do better this fall. I solicited tips from my local mom groups on Facebook (because more brains are better than one!) and will share my favorites below. I’ll start with two personal tips that worked well for me and my pre-k daughter this past spring. Take the ones that speak to you, and ignore the rest.
- Conflicting advice here – create a routine and stick to it, but don’t be too rigid. Confused yet? There are certain parts of my family’s morning that need to occur on a school day (getting dressed, eating breakfast, exercising, and 30 minutes of schoolwork), which must happen before my kiddo takes a break to watch TV. We’re flexible about what order the first four steps take place in, but rigid in that they all need to occur before she watches TV. Also, occasionally throw your routine out the window. Go on a socially-distanced field trip (Morton Arboretum , Cantigny Park , or Starved Rock ), read your kids some signs, and pat yourself on the back for teaching them something new that day.
- Create a dedicated learning space. Ideally, this is its own space where all your child’s school materials will live. Last spring, it was our kitchen table, but now I’m in the process of creating a learning space/home office in a closet under our stairs (Harry Potter themed, obviously).
Facebook Mom Advice:
- Several mamas suggested building activity into the day. Little bodies need to move! Some concrete ideas: “commute” to school by taking a walk or bike ride in the morning before you start e-learning. Build in recess or PE time at a specified time, every day. As the weather turns cooler, check out GoNoodle.com or Cosmic Kids Yoga for indoor movement ideas.
- Anne says, “The parent should never be negative towards an assignment, teacher, other student, situation, or even the whole idea of e-learning. Negativity is infectious, and if you want your student to give it a fair shot, you (the parent) must be the positive light in this all.”
- Nicole suggests, “Be patient. With your kids. With the teachers. With yourself.” I would add to this: be kind. This situation is new to all of us.
- If your school follows an asynchronous model, Jennifer suggests, “Try to tackle the harder things first, if possible (in the a.m. when everyone has more energy).” In other words, do whatever they struggle with first, and follow with their “easy” subjects later in the day.
- Katelynn shared, “Develop a good relationship with the teacher – communicate your questions and feelings to them. They want to help and know when something is difficult or not understood.”
I’d like to leave you with one piece of hope. I signed my daughter up for 6 weeks of summer school (still not sure why!) over June and July. Not only was the summer model an improvement over what was offered in the spring, my daughter started learning to read! Remote learning does present a struggle and a departure from the norm, but it can still be effective.
Wishing you a wonderful 2020-2021 school year, whatever it brings!