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Virtual Learning Tips and Tricks for the New School Year

In-person, virtual, distance, hybrid, what will it be? One thing for certain is school is very uncertain for the new school year. And we’re all starting to feel the need for answers! One thing we should definitely prepare for is virtual learning, again.

This time around parents will be more prepared, regardless of all of the anxiety that comes with it! Let’s alleviate some of the unknown with some tips and tricks for remote learning in the new school year.

No Longer in Survival Mode

First, when COVID-19 sprang upon us, no one was really prepared for schools to shut down. Parents, teachers, students, even the governors could not have predicted a full shut down.

Survival mode was the only way.

Parents struggled.

Children struggled.

The learning was certainly not perfect. Report cards were thrown out the window, testing was eliminated almost completely, and pass or fail were the grades for many schools.

However, this time around, expect it to be a bit more organized. Expectations for learning will be similar to 2019 before life was thrown through the spin cycle.

Now virtual learning won’t be normal, but know that school districts are now planning. Teachers are planning and parents, although not easy at all, need to plan too!

Tips & Tricks for Virtual Learning

Set a Schedule

One of the main concerns of distance learning is managing it all. It isn’t easy, but creating a schedule is a must. We can’t predict what each and every school will do, but many schools are using synchronous learning. This is what my son’s school is doing.

Our school offered two options for starting back to school this fall… in-person, with safety measures, or virtual. Out of a school system of just under 59,000 students about 18,000 registered for virtual.

Synchronous learning means students will report to classes at certain times to learn lessons directly from their teacher via a platform like Google Meet or Zoom.

There are some great scheduling tools out there. Since many schools use Google Tools, Google Calendar is absolutely ideal. You can set two reminder alerts, and it is compatible with iPhones, Samsung, Chromebooks, or any web browser.

Google Calendar can even be shared between families. If your child’s teachers use Google classroom, due dates will also appear on the Google Calendar, giving you and your child even more insight into assignments!

Another option is a planner. Allow your child to pick the planner they love. Back to school supplies are out in full force now!

Get them some colorful pens and make it a priority because being organized is everything during remote learning.

Whiteboard calendars that stick to the fridge or added to your home hub are also options to keep the whole family organized too!

Lastly, set an alarm. Calendar alerts are great, but if using a planner or calendar, set an alarm for 10 minutes before a synchronous meeting. If you have Alexa or Google Home, you can even name your timers!

The last tip, if like most people, the beautiful world of the Internet is distracting, consider downloading an extension like StayFocusd. It allows you to set time limits for websites or social media so that you or your kids are forced to focus!

Stay Connected

The time is now to learn it all. Learn the parent and student side of Google Classroom, Seesaw, Canvas, or whatever platform is being used by your children’s teachers.

And our children are very tech-savvy, so they can show us how to use the things we need to stay up with what’s going on with them.

Have your child teach you how it works and you can reach out to their teachers for advice or help if you need to. Ask for weekly updates. In this crazy time, our kids, more than ever, need to see we are proud of the work they are doing.

Allow yourself to be a part of the conversation about social studies or the topics in science. By taking a peek yourself, you can start the conversations, “So I saw you were learning about genetics in science…”

Virtual learning can easily be overwhelming, so staying connected with teachers and technology helps. So, take advantage of having virtual meetings, like with Zoom, for example, with your child’s teachers to discuss problems or how to make things easier for your kids.

Social-Emotional Needs While Virtual Learning

Social-emotional needs have never before been so important. Expect to see this incorporated into the lessons that your children are seeing, but keep in mind that the social emotion roller coaster our young ones have been on is like nothing before.

This is a priority over academics.

Stay connected to your kids. Encourage them to FaceTime or Google Meet with friends. In addition, encourage collaboration when possible on school work.

If they are struggling to stay connected to other children, reach out to the teachers, and ask for help. Also, celebrate often. Celebrate small successes. For some kids, remote learning is a blessing, but for many, it is a roadblock.

Remember the health crisis we are in is rapidly changing.

Take time to breathe.

Also, take time to take care of yourself as a parent or that stress seeps into our children.

Enjoy time for family.

Get outside.

Take time to do yoga or exercise or even watch some reality T.V. Give kids brain breaks!

Remember you are enough and this is just a milestone we will all overcome, but some tips and tricks for remote learning in the new school year will definitely help.

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