Many parents will be balancing distance learning with work this fall. It may feel overwhelming, but with a change in perspective (and a plan in place) you and your family can rise to the challenge.
First, consider this as an opportunity to discover how your child learns and to further assist them on their academic journey. True, it is daunting and there is often a concern about a lack of structure and engagement with online learning. Remain positive and steer clear of negative, unfounded information that can cloud your child’s learning experience. Do your own research. The average homeschooler is successful academically and socially.
To successfully support your child’s distance learning, it’s important to understand the experience of distance learners and homeschoolers. Homeschoolers, which are students who learn from home, provided with online curricular, parental facilitation and outside resources such as co-ops and field trips, participate in learning that is tailored to their specific needs and interests; inclusive of state standards. Distance learners are students who follow the curriculum of their school system or an approved online academy that also meets state standards.
While the meanings of homeschooler and distance learner cross over, the minor differences involve intent and purpose. Most homeschooled students have been learning from home, instructed by their parents or a co-op before the pandemic. They’ve chosen a smaller, more personal instructional plan for the length of their scholastic years. Distance learning is beneficial for those who cannot attend classes in person, or choose to complete classes using the convenience of online programs. Both can be instrumental in creating a dynamic learning experience for students, and are often combined to support the individual needs of learners.
As a working parent who has been using a hybrid of distance learning and homeschooling since the quarantine, I feel that health and wellbeing are paramount. While serving family and career, remain mindful of your needs. Additionally, remember to maintain open communication and implement periodic check-ins with children.
Getting students mentally prepared for the upcoming school year is also important. Ideas like closing out the summer with a pizza party with friends via Zoom for example; or even marking the new grade level milestone by rewarding them with a later bedtime on weekends are helpful.
Celebrating the first day of school will also set a positive tone for the school year. Having a special breakfast, or a time for family affirmations places everyone in a healthy headspace for the day.
Tips for navigating distance learning while working:
- Create a learning space that suits your child’s needs.
- Create a workspace that suits your needs.
- Make a daily schedule that provides flexibility, clarity of time, and promotes productivity for everyone.
- Rise early to get a head start on the work you prioritize as most important.
- Implement brain breaks during learning hours based upon the age and needs of your child.
- Provide autonomy for older children.
- Assign age-appropriate chores to the children. Life skills are a worthwhile part of their education.
- Remember that it’s okay if every lesson does not go well. Do your best, and keep in contact with your child’s instructors.
- If you have a spouse or partner, make sure you’re not carrying the entire education load.
K12 Private Academy https://www.k12.com
Pearson Online Academy (International Connections Academy: https://learn.pearsononlineacademy.com
Bio: Paula Bordenkecher is a writer, educator/researcher, wife, and mother of a second grader. Some of her passions are finding ways to engage children in authentic learning, running, and spending time with her family. She is also a consultant for cultural responsive instruction.