Five Tips for Making Distance Learning Workable for All

For the past few weeks, we've all been finding our new normal. We're practicing social distancing (and trying to teach what that means to 5 and 6 year olds who by nature practice social closeness). We're washing hands 30 times a day, working hard to keep an income coming in, and suddenly, you're now a homeschooling mom/dad too. In this post, I'd like to offer a few tips that might make things easier. I hope you find these tips helpful as one of the most important things we can do for kids right now is try to give them a routine. Teachers know that all students will need at least a little reading and math intervention when the kids return.

Tip #1: Establish a Schedule

Keeping a schedule can help children with distance learning. You might not do everything like the teacher, but having a set location and time for school helps. Check this post out for other survival tips.
Children want and need to know that school is a high priority to you. When they feel this, the level of concern for their work, their effort and their on-task behavior improves. They want YOU to catch them doing well. Keeping a routine shows school is important and that the child needs to keep learning and growing.

Now, it's also important to remember that your child is a child. At school, there are scheduled breaks for recess, art, movement education, music, and library. Kids aren't in a desk all day. They need and must get up and move, so they won't be able to sit at a table all day doing schoolwork. Mix it up with a priority on reading, math, and writing. Using cross curricular materials such as books about space or a science experiment that is seen more as fun than work helps keep kids interested. Plus, you might even look on Youtube for links to informational videos. If you spend 2 hours a day, that may be as much as you can get done.

Tip #2: Ask for help if you need help

Hopefully, your child's teacher is reaching out to you and keeping in touch with ways to support you and your child at home. If you are not getting information, then do not hesitate to get in touch with your child's teacher and ask for more. Teachers may be hesitant to assign too much work and send too much home for fear of overwhelming the child and your family. Certainly there are some children who won't get through all of the work while others breeze right through it.

Keep in mind that other teachers may be able to support you too. If you are need ideas, there are many educational bloggers with ideas and materials to share. My website, Comprehension Connection offers lots of free resources as part of my email subscription (free). When you join my email list, you are provided with the password to my library. Additionally, I have a store on my website where you can purchase lesson materials to use in the area of reading. 

Tip #3-Turn to Tech

I LOVE technology, and one of my new favorite things are Boom Cards. Boom Learning is a new platform for digital task cards. Students can practice all sorts of skills for math, reading, science and social studies. In fact, there are MANY free "decks" available on Boom. Every Friday is #freebiefriday . All you need to do is start an account (for free) and add the decks to your library. If you need help with getting started, this video can help you out. It's intended for teachers, but parents can use this site too.

Other websites I must mention are Epic and Vooks which are both offering free digital books for kids. If you have a library card, you also should take advantage of Hoopla where you can download not only digital books, but also movies and audiobooks. Of course, your school district will have website subscriptions for you too. This Facebook Group includes a listing of links for parents to use. You are welcome to join it and ask any question you might have.

Tip #4-Find Ways to Relax

During high stress times, finding ways to relax can be hard. You might try humor, games, exercise, or a good movie. Check this post out for tips for surviving distance learning.At a time when you may be experiencing financial strain, being isolated from friends yourself, and are having all the extra burdens placed on your, it's especially important to also remember to relax. Try to keep a sense of humor. Kids really sense when we are under stress, and they don't often know how to respond to it. Humor goes a LONG way for everyone. Playing practical jokes or coming up with corny jokes can make everyone laugh.

Another way to relax and work in an enjoyable time is to bring out the board games or a deck of cards. Teaching your children how to play rummy or other games also teaches them math. We had a Scrabble tournament the other night, and my daughter ended up on top! Scrabble is a great game to work on word building skills. Regardless of the game, there are learning skills involved.

At our house, we also love music. We often stream Youtube videos of our favorite groups in concert. You can also stream music through Amazon Music, I Heart Radio, or other radio apps.

Finally, you might schedule a daily walk with your kids to get them in fresh air. I know our dogs have been much happier with us getting out on a regular basis, and I sure feel better too.

Tip #5-No matter what...keep reading!

One of the most important tips for distance learning is to keep your child reading. Check out this post for five survival tips every parent needs.
One of the best indicators of student success is in the number of words read, so if there is one priority you must have, it's to keep your child reading. I always recommend finding a great series that your child is drawn to because the characters become familiar and once hooked, there's usually a book 2 or 3 in the series making the choice easy. Plus, you can typically find a similar series later on too. With the options I mentioned earlier, hopefully you can have book access. If this is a challenge, be sure to let your child's teacher know. You never know unless you ask. There just may be a collection of donated books ready to be handed out when there is a need.

Before I sign off, I mentioned earlier that you can subscribe to my email list to access over 50 resources in my resource library. I'll add that sign up form below which will direct you to the library, and if you need anything, you can always go to my website and send me a message through my site contact form.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

9 Ways Boom Cards Can Support Your Amazing Reader

Using Early Morning Book Club to Motivate Readers

Know Your Readers and What Motivates Them

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