Virtual Learning Tips for Parents

This fall, going back to school isn't likely to look like the normal that any of us expect. While we may acknowledge that "normal" is not the safest option at the moment, trying to figure out how to best prepare our kids (and our selves!) for virtual learning can be a challenge. Here are some tips for parents to make virtual learning the best experience for everyone:

1. Establish a routine

Having a routine will make it easier for your kids to get back into the swing of things, and will help make the eventual transition back to the classroom easier. It's not necessary to copy the schedule they would have in the classroom, but having at least some structure will help. Keep a designated start time, and break for lunch and snacks at the same time every day. 

This also means things like making sure they get dressed every day (or only allowing pajamas on designated days) and making sure they have a healthy breakfast first. This will help them to establish the difference between being at home and being "at school" which will help them focus on their learning and tasks better. 

2. Set up a designated workspace 

Just like a designated routine helps students focus, so does having a designated place to work will help your learners focus on their work, too. This can be simply a desk or work surface in a different room from toys and other distractions. Talk with your kid(s) and see what kind of work area they would like. If you have more than one student at home, discuss with them whether or not they want to work in the same area or in different spaces.

Getting your kid(s) involved in the setup might help them to get more excited about what going "back to school." Just like picking school supplies like pencils and notebooks and pencil cases, if your budget allows, allow your kid(s) to pick decorations or accessories for the area, such as a new chair or pencil holder for the desk space.

3. Keep open communication with your child(ren)'s teachers

It will be important for you and your child(ren)'s teacher to have open communication channels with each other to ensure your child(ren)'s success. Make sure you know what assignments are due when, and how to reach the teacher if your learner has a question about the material or how to complete an assignment. 

4. Try to stay positive

Kids often reflect the attitudes and emotions they see in their parents, so it's important to your child's success to make sure they see you keeping a positive attitude about the temporary virtual learning. Every family will have their own challenges to face with regard to virtual learning, and each school/school district and teacher has their own challenges to navigate. While everyone wants a return to the normal and the familiar, we must also learn to adapt to changes. When kids see their parents and caregivers staying positive and adjust to changing situations, it helps the kids to learn how to do that as well. 

5. Be patient -with everyone

This isn't the back to school that anyone anticipated this fall, but it is the one we have. Many schools, teachers, families, and kids are adjusting to new routines and requirements. Don't expect everyone to get it right the first - or even the second - time. Be patient with everyone - including yourself - as we all navigate the changes and find which routines and environments work best for us. 

For more information on this topic, here's some resources we like: