No question about it, these are strange and trying times. Education has undergone serious disruptions during this pandemic, and it has had a huge impact on the whole community. Districts, schools, teachers, parents, and students are all faced with the challenge of maintaining the continuity of learning under very trying circumstances. Educators are working tirelessly and doing their best to keep students engaged with distance learning, and while parents want to help, they don’t always know how to best provide support.
Don’t worry, parents. We’ve got you covered. First, take a deep breath. You’re doing great. Your child is safe and healthy, right? Excellent. Next, let’s talk basics. There are a few simple things you can do to help your child continue learning during the pandemic. Start here:
Whether you work from home or outside the home, the first step in helping your child get their needs met and stay on track with their school work is to maintain communication about the expectations. This means getting clarity about assignments, projects, due dates, live class times, and other important information regarding school work. But that’s only part of it. It’s also crucial to check in with your child regularly about how they’re feeling, what challenges they’re having, and what’s going well. Having similar conversations with teachers by email or by phone will help give you a clear picture of your child’s distance learning experience—and let you know when you need to provide additional support or make other adjustments.
For many of us, months of quarantine has resulted in a loss of structure. Without the structure created by leaving for work and coming home from school, the days blend together, and dinner times and bedtimes become…flexible at best. As difficult as it may be to create those structures from scratch, it’s vitally important. Humans crave stability, and knowing what comes next allows us to focus on what we’re doing in the present moment. Following a routine minimizes anxiety and helps optimize brain power and energy levels. When we create structured time for work, rest, play, and social interaction, it can make us more productive and sleep better, too. You can help give your child a sense of security by setting clear bedtimes, work times, meal times, and time for extracurricular activities.
There is still so much unknown about the future. Even from one day to the next, we don’t know if we’ll be able to eat in restaurants, go back to school, or visit family members. While routine is important, flexibility is important as well. If you normally have rules about not allowing video games or phone privileges on school days, but it’s the only way your child is spending time with their friends, it might be a good time to exercise a little flexibility. It’s also important to give yourself some flexibility, too. Distance learning requires a lot of parents, especially those with more than one child, a special needs child, a job, a business to run, or anything else that requires regular attention. Go easy on yourself. Get takeout instead of cooking. Let yourself binge watch your favorite TV show on the weekend. Taking care of yourself is an important part of taking care of your family.
The best school curricula are designed to stimulate students in a variety of ways, allowing them to move around the classroom, participate in hands-on activities, and engage with their classmates. And the best teachers create opportunities for mental stimulation and energy release as well. Distance learning means teachers are limited in what they can do, but even just a little bit of parent participation will help keep students engaged in their learning. Encourage movement by taking a little walk together at lunch time or taking a GoNoodle break. Take the math workbook out to the yard under a tree, or let your child count while you cut carrot sticks. The CDC has gathered a list of free online family activities that are fun and engaging. If you need additional help keeping your child engaged in their schoolwork, ask their teacher or school administration for guidance.
Most schools want to support their students in whatever ways they can. Reach out to your child’s school for information on school meal services, academic tutoring, help with supplies or technology. Even if you don’t know exactly what you need, if you and your child are struggling with distance learning, email the teacher and ask to have a conversation. Other parents can be a big help, too. Sometimes it may just help to hear that no one else knows how to do this perfectly either.
We’re here for you. Hawk Educational Solutions has options for K-12 students.
At Hawk Educational Solutions, we’re dedicated to helping students thrive through quarantine and beyond. Our educational support services include tutoring, homework help, curriculum design, test prep, college counseling, college essay help, and more. Contact us today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!