We are 8 months into a pandemic and schools continue to shift their learning models. As a parent and a teacher I have found that there are many things that we can to do help our kids adjust. Check out my 5 Tips to Help Children Transition to Remote Schooling.
Disclosure: I am partnering with Verizon. All opinions are my own.
It is not a secret that I am not a huge fan of remote schooling. This is both my opinion as a mother of elementary aged children and a high school teacher. This is easily the hardest time I have ever experienced in my career and although my family has personally been through harder circumstances, the transition from full time school to remote is not something that anyone enjoys.
As a teacher, I started remote for a month, then was hybrid for 3 weeks and back to fully remote through what we are being told is likely MLK day. Our children initially started full-time in person. They go to school in a small rural community and we know when population density is lower, so is the rate of transmission, so they were able to be in person a lot longer than initially expected and I am so thankful for that.
We had to go remote 2 weeks ago and although it has not been easy, we are finally in a groove. Remote schooling comes with its own challenges and emotions and no one is saying this is easy at all. However, there are a few things that we as parents can do to help this transition for them and also help ourselves. Check them out below:
I think at this point most schools have made sure that kiddos have a schedule to follow. However, we have made a schedule for the kids to follow each day and made sure that they are following it. You can grab a template I use here via google docs. Just make a copy and input your children’s schedule and color code and merge cells as needed. I also printed it on colored cardstock.
I have also used our smart home devices to set up our school schedule and each kid has alarms that go off that allow them to know when to switch gears and move to the next topic. Whatever they do not finish, I sit down at the end of my workday and help them with it. This helps them move through their schedule but also allows me a moment to get my own work done.
The biggest mistake I made in the spring was trying to do all of our schoolwork from the kitchen table. It destroyed my house to have us with papers everywhere and to constantly be having to move stuff so we could eat and then put it back so we could learn. Having a dedicated space to work has been huge and has allowed each of us a bit of relief to just walk away from the area when we need a break and some normalcy.
I purchased a folding table and some folding chairs and set up the kids chromebooks and chargers for them in our basement. I also grabbed a school supply caddy for them to have pencils, dry erase markers, scissors, glue and colors right at their hands. In addition, we have a rolling supply cart for each kid to have their specific notebooks and other items. My son’s teacher also sent home those storage cubes because apparently 5th grade has 22,000 books and folders ;).
I think we can all agree that having reliable home internet and bandwidth during remote schooling has been a top priority. When we noticed things slowing down and began to worry about data, we made sure to contact our internet service provider. Those video meets eat up bandwidth and when you cannot connect, it becomes such a stressful environment.
Thankfully Verizon has a great 5G Home Internet plan that is ultra-fast with the 5G ultra wide network, which was easy to set up by myself & didn’t require us to bundle or have an annual contract. You can also enhance your internet experience with voice control and get an Amazon Smart home bundle and YouTube TV Free for one month when you sign up! Check here to see if Verizon’s 5G home internet is available in your area!
Look, I know this is hard. We are all struggling. I am feeling every single bit of the emotional weight this is carrying and I know that as parents there is this daunting need to appear like we have it all together. First of all, give yourself some grace. Second, remember that this is temporary and that we will get through this. None of what we are experiencing is normal, and your children know this. Make sure that you are not only creating a work space, but that you are creating a safe space for them to be able to communicate with you.
One of the things that I most value from this entire experience, is that when my child is feeling overwhelmed or needs a break, I get to finally be the person that they come to. Usually they are at school trying to tackle big concepts and sometimes that frustration is hard for them to articulate and their teachers to recognize. I can honestly say, that with our current set up, my kids are problem solving better, they are talking to me and coming to me for a snuggle or help and I get to teach them that is OK to completely struggle, as long as we keep trying. I think this is a huge life skill and I feel honored that my children get to have that.
This is hard. It is not easy to learn on a computer screen and these kids sometimes need a goal or a reward to work towards. At the beginning of each week, the kids and I set a goal for the week. So far it has been the same, keep trying and turn in all our assignments. They pick something they want to do, or have at the end of the week and each day we check in to make sure we are on track to meet that goal. This week, they want to have an ice cream date, last weekend they wanted to stay at grandma and grandpas. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, but a goal has helped us stay moving in the right direction.
I am also making sure that I go through their assignments each day and praising them for the work they are doing. Telling them how proud I am of them. How well they are doing, asking them questions and genuinely showing interest in the work they are putting in. I know it takes a lot parents, but it means a lot to them and we will likely never have another point in history with our children like this. Listen now, take interest now, praise them and show them the value of education now. This could be all they need to gain the confidence and grit to get through the hard times in their lives.