The 2020/2021 school year is definitely one for the record books. We are in a world of uncharted waters. Whether you are working from home, traveling to work or not working at all, keeping up with your children’s school is a lot to manage. You’re not the only one concerned about having your child go back to school… in this Parent’s Survival Guide to Virtual Learning I’m sharing what we my family is doing to create a successful remote learning environment. This post is written in partnership with Livius Tutors.
Like many families, mine is adapting to doing e-learning offered through our school. Since I am also working from home it poses some obstacles, but as time goes by we are learning to overcome these challenges.
Parent’s Survival Guide to Virtual Learning
Right now, school definitely feels more organized than it did last spring. With schools having more time to prepare for remote learning, the 2020/2021 school year is more structured than it was during the beginning stages of the pandemic. If I’m being honest, we did experience some growing pains during our first couple of weeks of e-learning. I “might” have even said something overly dramatic like “e-learning will be the death of me” on my personal Facebook page. It has been hard, at times. I’m in a constant state of multi-tasking and worry about falling behind on work. However, as with most things, the more you do something the more you learn and the easier it gets. I feel like my family has come a long way in a few short weeks.
Distance learning goes by many different names. Whether your children are doings online learning, e-learning, virtual learning, remote learning, homeschooling, or blended learning there are without doubt some challenges you are facing with at-home learning. Doing school at home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it can be a very positive experience for both you and your children. You can not only survive, but thrive at distance learning. Something as simple as sticking to a schedule or hiring an online tutor can make a big difference and help ease your load.
Tips for Remote Learning
Here are my top strategies for helping your child learn virtually:
Set Up a Virtual Learning Space
If you don’t have an extra room in your home to dedicate to a classroom setup, you can help your child get into a learning mindset by using the same space and tools each day for learning.
Last spring I had my daughter setup for school at the dining room table which is just a few feet away from my workspace. But, once we knew virtual learning was going to be more long-term for us we rearranged her bedroom to make space for a new desk and chair. We also purchased a few items like a pen/pencil holder, notebooks and pads to help her stay organized. Since I work from home, we really needed to create this separation of space and it has served us well, especially since each of her classes begins with a Zoom meeting with the teacher.
Establish a learning space that is comfortable, well lit, as quiet as possible, and has the tools your child needs to be successful in virtual learning.
Define and Discuss Goals
If you are following a teacher’s syllabus you may not have a lot of control over when and how assignments are due. Still, it is important to define and discuss goals for the school year. Let your child know what your expectations are and make sure you are knowledgeable and familiar with each teacher’s expectations.
Throughout the school day my daughter has multiple zoom meetings, busy work to complete during class time and larger assignments and projects that are due at a later date. The latter is where things can get tricky. My child and I have an understanding that homework assignments and projects are to be completed at the begging of the week. It is never fun remembering at 10:00 PM on a Thursday night that you have a Power Point presentation assignment due by 2nd period the next morning.
I recommend making sure your child understands that even with at-home learning, the same rules and grade expectations apply. Remote learning in our county is very structured. Students are required to mark themselves for attendance and be on time for the start of each class which is in most instances a Zoom meeting with the teacher. If you don’t have that type of structure with your school, it is important to implement your own. Children thrive in a structured environment.
Establish a Routine
Developing a daily schedule is arguably the most important thing you can do for virtual learning. A daily schedule should include a wake-up time and a bedtime just like a regular school week. The schedule should include breaks and physical activity when possible.
Since our e-learning is done directly through our middle school, we are on the same bell schedule as the on-campus students. I try to always make sure that my breaks and lunch hour coincide with her schedule. We enjoy taking the dogs for a walk together, after eating our lunch. I cannot stress enough the importance of working some outdoor time and exercise into your daily school routine.
By setting boundaries, I mean respecting each other’s workspace and schedules. For my 7th grader, it is “so embarrassing” if I walk into her room during a Zoom meeting with classmates. So, I keep a copy of her schedule handy, to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. Likewise, I make sure she is aware of any scheduled conference calls or meetings I may have.
During our first couple of weeks of e-learning, my daughter was testing the waters by frequently interrupting my work to ask me for the answers to her assignments. Now she knows that I won’t be doing her assignments for her and to complete classwork to the best of her ability. Also, to ask the teacher when absolutely necessary or come to me for help during our shared breaks or after my workday has ended.
At times, motivating your child to complete a task is easy, and other times it is the complete opposite. In a world where everything seems upside down it can be difficult to motivate yourself, let alone someone else. Find ways to celebrate and reward your children’s efforts and achievements. Acknowledge their progress and feelings along the way and support them enough so they can be successful.
A Tutor Can Be A Game Changer
If looking at your 7th graders math assignment makes you break into a cold sweat, it is time to get some help. I recently learned that my daughter’s math teacher has 46 students in her period alone. That’s a lot! It isn’t realistic for us to expect our teacher to provide the time and extra help my daughter needs in math. Since math is not one of my strengths, a tutor is the best solution for us. However, due to COVID-19, I limit who comes into our home which makes a virtual tutor the answer for us. I was seriously at my wits end and already exploring our tutoring options when Livius Tutors reached out to me about a potential partnership.
Need consistency in your students education? That’s how I feel too… glad I have my daughter starting the Livius Tutoring 2 Sigma Mastery Small Group Class this month. I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on our experience.
For over 35 years, Livius Tutors has been providing premier tutoring, test preparation and college counseling to students, schools, and communities throughout New England, Florida and the Midwest. In order to support more students around the world, they have expanded their programs to include a full-service online division.
If you’re interested in learning more, go to this link and as an About a Mom reader you can get a $100 voucher on any of the programs offered by Livius!
How awesome is that?!
Give Yourself some Grace
Parents, it is okay to admit it if you are struggling. You are not alone in this… trust me. When I shared my struggles on Facebook, I received so much encouragement and support from friends, and quite a few friends thanked me for sharing. They were feeling the very same way that I was and it helped them to know they were not alone. YOU are not alone.
It is okay to vent. It is okay to ask for help. You can make mistakes.
Managing your stress is more important than ever. Here is a list of Amazon Alexa Skills that I use to relieve stress and anxiety.
And, give your kids grace. This is all new and overwhelming for them too. Be sure to focus on providing them with emotional support. Accept that there will be a learning curve and technical glitches. And, if you need to take 5 minutes to go into your room and silently sob into a pillow… do it. Try to keep that stress away from your children if you can.
We are in this together.
How to Guarantee Your Child Doesn’t Fall Behind This Year
Free Webinar on Friday, October 16 at 12:00 PM EST
I hope you’ll join me and register for a free webinar hosted by Neil Khaund, MBA, who is a leading expert in online education and the Chief Executive Officer at Livius. You don’t want to miss this!
FREE PRESENTATION REVEALS:
Don’t Leave Your Child’s Education To Chance. Learn These 3 Simple Tips!
We need all the help we can get right now trying to juggle work, parenting and now remote learning. Here’s another great assist from Livius. You can sign your child up for a Free College Essay Prep Class.
I would love to hear your thoughts about virtual learning and homeschooling, and what has or hasn’t worked for you. I hope you’ll join me and attend the free webinar Please leave a comment below!