Several models for education have emerged as educators and families work to figure out the best and safest ways for students to learn during COVID. Some schools are bringing students back full time, some have hybrid models with days at school and days at home, and others are conducting classes completely online.
If your student is learning online full or part-time, you may be wondering what you can do to help your child succeed in this new environment. We asked teachers at several grade levels for their tips to keep students on the right track when learning from home.
Tips from teachers for virtual learning
1. Assess Your Child’s Needs
When considering online school or how online school will impact your family, it is helpful to take an honest look at how much support your child needs. Some students are self-starters who can concentrate for stretches of time while others are easily distracted. Some children are comfortable asking questions while others may be too shy to ask for help. Knowing your child’s learning style will help you determine what type of environment they need to be successful.
2. Communicate with Your Child’s Teacher
Open and honest communication with the teacher is so important. To create the best experience for the student, you and the teacher need to be able to talk about what is working and what is not. Also, your child needs to have a relationship with the teacher so that he or she feels comfortable participating in class and asking questions. If possible, set up a meeting for your student and the teacher to get to know each other. This can be online or in-person in a safe environment.
3. Develop (and stick to!) a Routine
Just as students have a routine at school, they need a routine at home. They need to get up, have breakfast, get dressed, and come “to school” ready to learn. Having a designated area for schoolwork is key, and it should be organized with files/bins for different subjects – reading worksheets in a reading folder, art supplies in a bin, math homework in a math file, etc. Everything should be easily accessible and ready to go as your child moves through the school day.
4. Be Prepared
If we have learned anything during the past several months, it is that technology doesn’t always cooperate. Knowing that there will be tech hiccups along the way, do as much as you can to prepare for the school day ahead of time. Download worksheets and class materials the night before so you aren’t scrambling during class.
5. Grade-Specific Tips
- Lower Grades: Simulate the school day as much as possible. If your child’s school provides a live classroom feed, that is ideal as children love seeing and interacting with their teacher. At this age, parents will need to help their child during the school day, but they shouldn’t feel like they need to be in class with their child. Parents can be nearby, but the student should be engaged with and learning from the teacher.
- 5th and 6th Grade: At this stage, students can handle a lot of their online work. This is a great time to give your child a “Tech 101” lesson. Look at the processes they are using to send work back and forth to school and show them how to do these for themselves – teach them how to email (and maybe consider setting up an email account for your child), how to attach a document to an email, how to save a document as a pdf, etc.
- 7th and 8th Grade: By the time they get to middle school, students know what kinds of tech they need for different areas of study. For some, a laptop works. Others may find an iPad works best for certain programs. Talk with your student about their tech needs and then determine what you may have at home, and what you may be able to borrow from the school.
6. Stay Positive
This is our most important tip. We know that these are stressful times, but we hope that everyone will try to keep in mind that we are all doing our best. A little patience and understanding go a long way.
Connect with Mason Prep
If you are looking for a nurturing and supportive school for your child, we would love to talk with you. Find out about the learning environment choices Mason Prep offers our families here.
Register for an upcoming Open House (in-person and virtual) here.