A few weeks down and many more to go.
That’s the story resonating in homes across the US as families navigate the new adventure of remote schooling, potentially long-term. For many, virtual classrooms are the only option for continued learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and as much as parents and guardians need support through the ins and outs of this educational adventure – because we do – our kids are truly the ones experiencing remote schooling front and center.
What they have known for years – in person lectures, hands-on projects, peer interaction, rotating through specialists – is gone. It is being replicated as best it can, but it is not the same. Our kids are expected to learn in a brand new fashion and no doubt there is an intense learning curve to this model of school.
So, how can we best support our kids through remote schooling? Whether it lasts a month, the entire school year, or somewhere in between, considering implementing some of these helpful ideas to get them through the remote schooling adjustment. With our support, they can adapt and even thrive during this unprecedented school year.
Start the Day Strong
The beauty of a school schedule is getting into a solid routine. Ensure a strong start to the day by mapping out a morning breakfast schedule. Best news of all, many kids are skilled enough to manage this on their own. Who knows, maybe they can even plate you a bit of breakfast while you take that early morning conference call? Our family rotates weekly breakfasts between cold cereal, scrambled eggs and toast, smoothies, oatmeal, and on Fridays we celebrate the week’s unofficial holiday – TGIF – with pancakes or French toast. The consistency keeps us executing our mornings well while making sure brains and bodies are fueled for learning.
Adjust their Workspace
A sitting desk isn’t ideal for everyone – adult or child – so if you see your child becoming fidgety, consider upgrading to a standing desk. You might also consider a yoga ball chair to improve posture, balance, and comfort during increased computer time.
Keep Exercise on the Daily Agenda
Remote schooling is stressful. No way around it. Exercise – whether a jog around the block, sports lesson, or YouTube yoga – will kick up endorphins and help preteens and teens better manage all that comes their way.
Read your Child’s Textbooks to Them
You don’t have to read the entire book, but a section or chapter here and there will help you clue into what they’re learning and give their eyes a break. Let them lay down, take notes, or just be while you read a bit of history, science, or economics to them.
Instill Planner Skills
With multiple teachers and different schedules each day, middle school and high school students cannot survive this remote schooling adventure without a planner. Have them sort through their emails and record both online meeting times and connected assignments each day. They might be used to a regular planner, but this year they have a lot more to keep track of.
Schedule a Weekly Recap Meeting
Honestly this might be one of the perks of remote schooling – parents are more involved and thus communication will certainly rise. On a weekly basis, block out a time (on that handy dandy planner) to meet with your child and review all the week’s happenings. Try to do this over a milkshake or coffee, something that will feel like a reward. The goal is to make sharing about their new school schedule something they look forward to.
Limit Social Media
This might seem bold, but when kids are checking into screens all day long the last thing they need at the end of the day is more screen time and the subsequent influence of social media. I’ve become an avid follower of Collin Kartchner and his work with middle school and high school students has me convinced that especially during this season of remote schooling kids need less, not more time online. Instead, find a small pod of friends who are following similar health guidelines as your family and get them face to face, outdoors if possible.
Consider Outside Resources
If your child is struggling do not put the pressure on yourself to relearn Algebra 2 or the ins and outs of the periodic table. That’s more stress than you need! Plus, your role is support – not teacher. Reach out to your child’s teacher to see what resources they can offer, contact a local tutor, or find an Outschool class that might help.
Gretchen Bossio is a homeschooling mom of four from the Pacific Northwest. Writing has always been one of her favorite pastimes so she takes great joy in moonlighting as a freelance writer covering topics such as parenting, wellness, education, fashion, and travel.