Distance Learning: Helpful Tips For Success

Apple on pile of books at the elementary schoolWith the pandemic entering a new surge, our communities are being asked to make significant adjustments in our daily lives. Sports, schools and many other activities are taking a pause and making modifications to reduce contact and slow the spread of the virus until a vaccine is available. Most school districts have switched to full-time distance learning (including mine). While this is far from ideal for any of us; teachers, parents and students are doing their best to get through this. It isn't easy and no one wants this, but this is our reality for now.

We found some tips for parents and students to help navigate distance learning. Hopefully something we share will make it a little easier. Remember, we are in this together.

Girl studying at school looking very happy

Parent Tips For Distance Learning

Make space for learning.

Your children will achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable, and dedicated space devoted to learning. Ideally, this will be a different space than where they normally play games or watch television.

Keep a morning routine.

Have your child set an alarm, get dressed, and eat breakfast as if he/she were going to traditional school. Keeping a morning routine will ensure some normalcy and get students in a learning mindset.

Wear headphones.

Distance learning will likely include synchronous instruction where students, peers, and teachers interact in real time via video conferencing. Wearing headphones will help students limit household distractions.

Take digital recesses.

Make sure children take plenty of breaks from their computer in order to get time away from the screen. Encourage them to get up, stretch, get some fresh air, and have a snack as time allows.

Build a village.

Distance learning presents challenges, especially for working parents who have little employment flexibility. Enlist the help of your own network of family, friends, neighbors or older children to assist with distance learning.

Mom helping kid with homework

Ask for help.

Educators want your student to be successful. If your child falls behind, reach out to your child’s school/teacher to seek assistance, modifications, tips, and guidance. Remember that you’re not alone in this journey.

Show empathy.

Distance learning will never replace the magic that happens in physical classrooms and there will be bumps in the road. Acknowledge this is not an ideal situation and allow yourself, your children, and their teachers latitude and grace during these unprecedented times.

Understand your role.

Distance learning is not the same as homeschooling — parents are not expected to take the place of their child’s teacher. Instead, parents should play a support role and ensure their student is present and engaged. Simply put, be their best advocate!

Encourage participation.

Encourage your child to participate in their online classrooms. Although it may feel awkward at first, being engaged and involved will help distance learning feel closer to “normal.”

Be healthy and well.

It is important for everyone to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID. Wear face coverings, practice distancing, and promote hand hygiene. The sooner our community is well, the sooner we can get back to the magic that
happens in our physical classrooms!

Portrait of dreamy smiling young woman using laptop while lying on floor at home

Studies show that students who try to read while listening to music absorb less information. Listen to music while you are creating, not reading.

Student Tips For Distance Learning

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. Your brain and growing body need sleep.
  • Avoid studying in your bed if possible. Your brain associates bed with sleep, not learning.
  • Print off your weekly list of assignments or create a checklist. It will keep you organized and make you feel productive.
  • Ask questions.
  • Take brain breaks.
  • Get daily fresh air and exercise.

This is not going to be easy for any of us. Just remember it is temporary. We all want to get back to normal, whatever that will look like. There will come a day soon when teachers and students will be back in school. In the meantime, let's make the best of what we have available. Make sure to give yourself and your children grace through this unusual time. We are all in this together Minnesota. 



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