School districts, administrators, teachers, parents, and students are all facing the realization that many, as a result of the Coroavirus, are going to be back online for at least, the start of the 2020-2021 school year. To make sure that both you and your child are ready and ahead of the game, the experts and Parents.com have some helpful tips to get you geared up for a virtual school year.
1. Reflect on Last Year
The end of last year’s school year came as a shock for many parents and students as they had to move from the classroom to virtual learning. Take time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and put a new plan in motion. This will unquestionably lead to a little less stress for everyone.
“Depending on how they best process and communicate information, you can ask them to create a list or drawing of what they think worked and what they think didn’t,” Chris Rim, the CEO of Command Education, a college admissions consulting company, said in an interview with Parents.com. “Having discussions with your student now will help them mentally prepare for a virtual return to school.”
2. Set Up More Social Learning Opportunities
Continuing to explore social opportunities for students online with friends, etc. helps offer a life preserver not only for students, but for parents as well. It definitely takes a village.
“Don’t shy away from asking for help,” Rim advises in his interview. “You can reach out to other parents and students to schedule weekly homework dates or study dates. Social opportunities are one of the main losses students will suffer from continuing remote learning.”
3. Help Kids Create a Designated Workspace
Before the year starts, make sure that they have their own private work space for school. Sharing the kitchen table with mom and dad worked in a pinch, but now parents have time to create a space that students can be more focused.
“With many parents working remotely and students learning online, ‘home’ transforms from a living space to an office and classroom simultaneously,” Megan O’Reilly Palevich, M.Ed., Head of School at the Laurel Springs School, a private online K-12 school that has been providing distance learning for nearly 30 years, said in the same Parent.com interview. “Creating separate, quiet work stations for both parents and their children where possible can help alleviate distractions, stress, and conflict.”
4. Focus on Physical Activity
Almost everyone, including students, has probably put on a few extra pounds during quarantine, or close to it. It is imperative that students get those extra workouts in during the day as they would if they were in their brick & mortar school. Remember, activity helps to increase productivity.
“The more active children are over the summer, the more ready they will be for the start of the school year,” says Janet Wolfe, head of The IDEAL School of Manhattan, a K-12 independent inclusion school in New York to Parent.com. “This is always true, but even more so now, as many children weren’t as active as usual in the spring.” Wolfe suggests adding a daily walk or doing yoga to family time.
5. Make Time for Daily Reading & Math Practice
The benefits of daily reading and math go beyond the regular school day. If students had a bit of “summer brain drain,” this will help them get their skills back up to par and get them ready to dive right in when school begins.
“Discussing a news article a day as a family is a great way to practice respectful dialogue, open conversations about current events, and build critical reading skills in older children,” says Wolfe. “A weekly trip to a local library can cultivate curiosity and foster readiness for learning. This activity can also fill out your child’s weekly routine, while many more traditional summer activities have yet to reopen.”
By instituting these few tips, you and your kids should be ready for the new school year. Take it slow, don’t be hard on yourself or your kids, and remember, you all are already ahead of the game-you survived the spring of 2020.