A message from our counselors:
Although this is a challenging and confusing time, we must remain steadfast in our hope that we will overcome this pandemic and come out stronger and better as a community. We want you to know we are here and ready to respond and address your needs and concerns. We will get through this together.
Students, we are encouraging you to do your best during the next several weeks. Keep your mind focused, do your assignments and don't give up. Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle. -Christian D. Larson
Parent Tips and Tricks for Remote Learning
At this point, remote learning is not new; however, it is never too late to get students back on track to being successful. Below are some nitty-gritty tips to help parents and caregivers keep students focuses, interested, and balanced while learning at home.
Setting Up for Success
Make a space.
- Create a special, personalized corner of a room dedicated to learning, creating, and reading. Use a movable box or crate if space is precious. Let your child help prepare the space for school, even if that just means putting a decorated pencil box next to the device they’ll be using. Getting the space ready will help get them ready to learn.
Set a routine.
- Students need more structure, so make sure to let them know what you expect. Encourage your student to create a visual schedule they can follow. Provide your student with a calendar, planner, chalkboard, or digital organizer to keep track of what is happening each day.
- Have them follow a routing as if they’re going to school (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc) instead of lying in bed in their pajamas, which could lead to less learning.
- Breaks are important, especially for teens and students with attention issues, so allow your students short breaks between classes.
- Go over what the school and teachers expect around online learning. Create with your child a digital learning agreement to set the tone for remote learning
- Set some expectations of your own as well. When can your child expect to spend time with you? When should they avoid interrupting you? What can they do in their downtime? Come up with a list of “must dos” and “may dos” together to cover the essentials and activities of choice.
- Do not do your child’s assignments. By doing your child’s assignments, you are telling your child that you do not think they are not capable of doing the work. Your child’s teachers will only assign work that is age and grade appropriate.
Keep them close.
- When it’s hard for your child to focus, try to keep them close. Consider setting up nonverbal or one-word cues to help get them back on track.
- Depending on your circumstances, it may not be possible to keep your child in sight all the time, but it’ll definitely be harder to keep them on track if they’re completely unsupervised. Try to make sure you or another family member has eyeballs on them as much as possible.
- If you have other devices in your house, keep them out of your child’s workspace if possible. This can also mean shutting down phones, keeping phones in a designated place for the day, and putting away remotes if temptation takes over.
- Talk to your children about the connection between bodies and brains and what happens in their bodies when they feel frustrated, excited, or sad. This awareness helps children recognize and manage their emptions.
Encouraging Ownership & Effort
Follow your child’s interests and get input.
- If there are gaps in your child’s school day, remember that whatever your child is into—reptiles, Minecraft, drawing – can be used for learning. Read books, create experiments, and do math related favorite topics. Wide Open School has great ideas and fun activities that are educational (www.wideopenschool.org)
- Even though our school day is structured, try to incorporate their choices into your plan.
- Ask often how Remote Learning is going for them. Are they having any issues?
- Communicate with your child’s teachers and encourage them to self-advocate. Model communication about your day, including the positives, challenges, and kindnesses.
- Let kids hang up their drawings, writing, or other projects in the home. It shows them you’re proud of their work and helps them value learning.
- Even big kids like when you show pride in their work by bragging about their efforts and showing off their work.
Give Detailed Praise.
- Instead of saying ‘good job’, try giving specific details about your child’s work. If they tried hard, let them know you noticed. Have they made progress? Learned and used a new technique? In what ways are their efforts kind, clever, beautiful, or insightful.
- Also, encourage a growth mindset, which means reminding children that it’s not about being good or bad at something, but working toward getting better at it.
Start from strengths.
- Build a bridge from things your child loves to school subjects they don’t love – yet. If they love sports but dislike reading, find a graphic novel about football to spark interest. Your child’s teacher can assist you and your child with this.
Presentation is everything.
- Your attitude about school and school assignments has a huge impact on your child’s attitude, so how you present the idea that school and completion of all assignments is vital to your child’s, not only passing to the next grade, but also your child’s knowledge and skill base to move to and be prepared for the next grade.
- Sometimes teens seem to have a “bad attitude” that is really masking insecurity, boredom, or anxiety. They are often hoping we’ll help them through it, even when it seems just the opposite. Staying calm, not taking things personally, and maintaining a sense of humor can go a long way.
Use natural consequences.
- While it might be tempting to “reward your child with screen use, that can set students up to see screens as a coveted commodity. Instead, you can frame it as a timing issue. “We have three hours in the evening, so if you put strong effort into your work and finish, you’ll have time to play your video game.
- If intrinsic motivation is hard to come by, you can provide incentives for effort and progress in a way that makes sense. Come up with ideas with you child, set small goals, and praise the process along the way.
Making Room for Well-Being
Be a good friend to yourself.
- If your child gets caught up saying negative things about themselves, encourage self-kindness by asking them what they would say to a friend in the same situation.
- The same goes for you; We often beat ourselves up as parents, but what would a good friend say to you?
- Try creating a gratitude list together to give you and your child a fresh perspective and focus.
Get help when you need it.
- You don’t always know how to help your child. Think about who could help fill in the gaps – look to family, friends, teachers and others for help. Sometimes having another adult take over removes the tricky parent/child schoolwork battle and lets you go back to just being a parent.
- Communicate with the school about how things are going, leading with positives first. Everyone’s going their best, AND it’s important for teachers to know what is working and not working for your child so they can get the help they need.
- Communicate with the school about device or internet issues. Your school staff can assist you in obtaining a device or hotspot and help you navigate Schoology.
Use movement and humor.
- Sometimes we just need to move our bodies. Physical activity can lift our spirits and get our minds refreshed for learning. Try to block out five minutes of lunch time to walk around the block or a five-minute dance party to help everyone reset and bring new energy to the day.
- Finding the funny right now is helpful on every front, including learning and well-being. Be silly, make wacky connections, come up with crazy answers so your child corrects you –whatever works!