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How Parents Can Help Support Remote Learning

The pivot to remote learning has not been an easy one, and many families are still struggling with it. Use these tips to make a remote learning schedule that works for your family and other problems with remote learning become easier.

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Life today looks much different than it did a year ago. The recent coronavirus pandemic has caused school districts all over the country (and the world!) to do a VERY quick catch and dive and move to a Remote Learning model. 

Through the past year, people have lived under stay at home orders, adapted to working from home, and kids have had to learn how to learn their lessons virtually. While these changes have been good for reducing the spread of the virus, they do require some fairly major shifting at home to make everything happen.

And remote learning, in particular, has been a strain on parents everywhere. Parents who never thought they would be homeschooling parents were suddenly thrust into that role to support their kids and their kids’ teachers – all while trying to also work from home.

To say that it’s been challenging feels like it’s minimizing what this experience has truly been like for most families. 

And it hasn’t just been challenging for families, but also for schools, teachers, and students too.

Parents, I want you to know that you’re not alone! Families, schools, and teachers all over the country are facing the same challenges.

Through our own experience, talking with other families as well as educators, we’ve come up with this parent’s guide to supporting students learn effectively through Remote Learning.

Everyone needs a break! Grab these free brain break cards to help build in quick but essential breaks that help improve your child’s focus.

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What is Remote Learning?

I’ve found that different districts are calling the process of virtual school different things, but the most common term seems to be “remote learning.”

So what is remote learning and what does it look like? Well, I’ve found that districts are a variety of these options: 

  • 100% virtual learning (synchronous or asynchronous schedules)
  • hybrid schedule where students go for part of the day or only a couple of days a week and spend the rest of the time remote.
  • 100% in-person learning
  • Or a combination of multiple options based on age

And if your school district is anything like ours, we’ve bounced around through several of these options already this year. It’s a dance that requires a TON of flexibility from everyone involved, but especially the students.

What Are Some Problems With Remote Learning?

Focus is a huge issue – for both students and parents. As students adapt to learning remotely, parents have worked hard to create an environment at home that allows their children to focus.

However, that’s often much more difficult than it sounds at first because when kids go to school, they have the ability to focus on only school for that period of time. When doing virtual learning at home, those lines get blurred and it can be much more difficult for kids to focus on school work.

Here are some common challenges we’ve seen ourselves or heard about:

  • Eating or snacking all day long
  • Playing on a phone or other device during school time
  • Opening a different tab and play a game or watching YouTube during school time
  • Not turning in work
  • Turning in work to mark it completed without actually submitting anything

Learning at home presents a challenge for students because it’s always been the place where they relax and have other routines. And without some of those other routines of sports and activities happening right now, the structure of the day seems to melt away.

That’s why it’s even more crucial for parents to step in and help support their kids during periods of remote learning. Use these tips and ideas of remote learning resources to help your child thrive at home! 

Everyone needs a break! Grab these free brain break cards to help build in quick but essential breaks that help improve your child’s focus.

Brain Break Cards email opt in

How to Create a Learning Environment at Home

Use these tips to help set your child up for success with remote learning as we continue through the effects of this pandemic on traditional schooling.

Be Choosey About The Remote Learning Space

It can be very tempting to allow your child to learn in their bedroom or on the couch while you work from home. However, those spaces blur that line between “home” and “work” even more. 

Instead, choose a table or desk in a neutral place that has as few distractions as possible, ideally somewhere where you can also set up your own work space so you can supervise.

Your child needs supervision at school, and the same applies at home. Now your role of combined parent and teacher is where that responsibility of supervision lies. 

Once you choose your designated learning space, take a little time to set it up so that it’s comfortable and has all the materials your student needs to be successful. 

For our kids, we set up a learning space with a table and chairs in the basement. My husband and I both work from home, so it was the best option for us to minimize distraction.

It’s bright enough down there (especially with the lights on), a quiet part of the house free from distraction, and it’s far enough away from the kitchen to deter non-stop snacking.

Designate a Dedicated Learning Space

Wherever you decide to set up a learning space, create a designated workspace that has ONE purpose: facilitate school learning at home. Talk with your student about how this area their “work from home” space! 

Just like their desk at school but at home. You can try doing what we did and set this area up as their school desk by removing all home clutter. Also add items to the area that the student might need like

  • a pencil case
  • calculator
  • extra paper
  • basket or bin to hold their school papers and notebooks
  • Noise-canceling headphones – to minimize distractions
  • Chromebook – these are computers that are EXCELLENT for students as they use the Google platform, which most teachers also use – and they’re CHEAPER than a standard computer!
  • Homeschool planner to help them stay organized

How You Can Further Help Support Your Kids Through Remote Learning

1. Minimize Distractions

Do you ever get distracted working at home? I do. I think it’s inevitable. 

The same goes for your student – they aren’t learning in a “normal” learning environment right now. 

How can you as a parent prepare to minimize the distractions? Try these tips:

  • Put a sign on your door for delivery drivers asking them not to knock or ring the doorbell
  • Put all toys, games, and other fun activities out of sight during learning time
  • Give your student noise-canceling headphones
  • Some kids try to snack all day, so keep food out of sight and out of mind

Take it one day at a time. If you find that something isn’t working, try something new next time.

2. Set a Remote Learning Schedule

In a normal school day, the day runs on a set schedule. Most districts have sent their schedules home for kids to follow as they learn remotely.

Pay attention to things like class start times and end times, recess, and lunch. If needed, build in some BRAIN BREAKS during the day to help improve your kids’ ability to focus.

We took our Homeschool Planner and wrote out each child’s class schedule so that we know exactly what times each kiddo needs to get on their remote learning calls.

You may need to make adjustments to your own work day to accommodate your childs at remote learning schedule. To make it a little easier, try blocking off times in your calendar that align with your child’s new home-learning schedule so you have the ability to help them when needed. 

homeschool planner

3. Communicate With Teachers

Communication is key with all relationships – but especially with your child’s teachers during remote learning. Make it a point to stay in regular contact with all the teachers. I email my kids’ teachers once each week just to check in, and I learn SO much.

Even though I check their work online and work hard to know what’s going on, I can’t see everything from my end like a teacher can, nor can I focus on their work every moment as I juggle my own work.

I have found that teachers totally understand how hard this current remote learning situation is for students and families alike, and are happy to lend support to parents. Communicating with our teachers has been super helpful when it comes to assignments – especially those assignments that were missing or turned in late!

Work to keep those lines of communication open and you’ll be able to clear up any misunderstandings or quickly get assistance when needed.

4. Check-In With Your Kids

Keep the lines of communication open with your child too. Discuss how they’re doing mentally, emotionally, and academically. Remember that this time is stressful and hard for you – but also for your kids. Be patient. 

Offer help and ask your student what they need. If they need some friend time, try scheduling some time for them to play virtual games or have a Zoom meeting or Messenger Kids chat with their friends.

Everyone needs a break! Grab these free brain break cards to help build in quick but essential breaks that help improve your child’s focus.

Brain Break Cards email opt in

Final Thoughts About Remote Learning

You rock! While I may personally be sick to death of hearing about these “unprecedented times”, the term is 1,000% applicable to what we are living right now.

I know that you have extra responsibilities on your shoulders and probably feel more stressed and tired than usual. Hang in there a little longer – we’ll get through this together!

And your dedication and hard work now will pay off in helping your kids transition back to the classroom with flying colors. Keep a positive attitude – it’ll help both you and your kids on those tough days!

Navigating these days of remote learning with your students is challenging, but we just need to hang in there a little longer! Use these tips to help make the entire situation that much easier! You got this, Mama!

Back to school, online learning for kids, distance lesson, education at home, technology for schoolgirl, conference. Children doing homework at home. Child girl on white background

More Remote Learning Help

  • 7+ Resources To Help Round Out Your Child’s Distance Learning Schedule
  • How to Thrive When Distance Learning & Working From Home
  • How to Create a Quarantine-Friendly Home
  • 75+ Fun Things to do With Kids at Home (updated for self-isolation)

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How Parents Can Help Support Remote Learning


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