Well, here we are again — balancing working from home with supporting our children as they resume schooling remotely. It’s not going to be easy (nor will it always be fun), but we are here and ready for the challenge.
As virtual classes, distance education, remote learning, homeschool (or whatever the heck you want to call it) starts up again this month and next, anxiety-filled parents can find solace in the fact that other parents across the country are navigating this tricky territory, too. We’re all in this together, after all.
To help streamline the transition, we have some parent tips for distance learning that will hopefully make it a bit easier for you, for them and for their teachers. Good luck and happy learning season!
Embrace the Situation
This is not ideal — for anyone. Educators don’t want to give lessons to a large group of children over video chat. Parents don’t want to balance playing the part of mom and teacher. Kids don’t want to be deprived of the opportunity to run around and see their friends. Alas, this is the situation we are currently in, and the best thing we can do for our own sanity and that of our children is to try to make the most of it. This is one of the most important tips for parents during distance learning: Just roll with it and embrace the here and now of the situation.
Projecting our own frustration about all this uncertainty is not going to help our children successfully start the new school year, so muster up a hearty dose of enthusiasm (or just fake it until you make it!) and show some excitement. There is a silver lining in all of this: You get to be a fly on the wall in your child’s day-to-day school interaction for a little while.
Stick to a Routine
It can be tempting to let the kids hop on to their virtual classes straight out of bed in their pajamas, but this is a slippery slope. Treat your schedule as if it’s a traditional, in-person school day. Make sure your kids are awake early, have them eat a healthy breakfast, get dressed in regular clothes and, if you have time, go for an energizing walk around the block — act as if this is the transition time separating home to school. You want your kids to hop on their live meetings energized and ready to take on a day of virtual learning.
Set Up a Designated Work Space
One of the absolute must-haves for homeschooling and distance learning is a proper workstation. To ensure that the kids are productive and comfortable while working from home, set up a specific spot suited to their unique needs. Find a quiet, private place where they will be able to hear their teacher and communicate with their classmates. A small desk and chair will do the trick. You can get a few fun posters to customize their learning area in a way that inspire creativity and add some colorful organizational tools to make it more welcoming.
Think you don’t need school supplies for distance learning? Think again! Kids get excited about school supplies shopping, and even though they won’t be able to show off their new pencil cases, you can still inspire a fresh academic start with new notebooks, pencils, art supplies and more. Let them enjoy the ritual of picking out a few fun folders (and, hey, maybe even a backpack!) to get them in the back-to-school frame of mind.
Help Them Learn to Type
One challenge of virtual learning is that it relies heavily on technology. These days, young kids are adept at swiping an iPad, but they’re not so keen on typing an essay or letter. Typing is hard and takes practice. While it’s usually taught to kids later in grade school, younger children need a lot of help drafting responses and typing letters. Prepare them in advance by familiarizing them with the keyboard. There are fun printables you can provide or visit Typing.com, which offers free and fun activities your kids can try. This is one of many great resources for parents during distance learning.
This school season is like no other. Make the most of it and get ready to help your kids along the way. And, of course, don’t forget to shop with Rakuten for school supplies and essentials to earn Cash Back on all your remote-learning needs.
Lauren is a digital editor, freelance writer, and Instagram aficionado with a feisty five-year-old boy and a sassy two-year-old diva at home. With a passion for family, travel, style, and alliteration, she spends her days chasing children, chugging coffee, and daydreaming about sleep. As a veteran lifestyle editor and media mom, Lauren loves to find ways to make the aspirational attainable for all the overwhelmed parents out there—because we really need to stick together! Lauren lives with her husband and kiddos in the suburbs of New York City.