What Do You Have to Work With?
The beginning of the school year looks different for everyone in 2020. Some students are learning virtually while others are in-person and still more have opted to homeschool amidst the uncertainty. How can we best support our students with all that’s going on? What can working parents do to help prepare their home for educational success? We explore the answers to these questions and more below.
You want your child to have the mindset that once school hours start until they end, the student is at school. In order to create this type of environment at home, structure is absolutely crucial. Make sure your student is able to get into a routine. Some things to pay attention to are consistent wake up time, a decluttered workspace, good lighting, and separation from siblings during school hours. A helpful tip if you are working from home is to develop a code for your student(s). Some parents like to use the green, yellow, red light system. Green means the parent is available to answer questions, yellow means wait a few minutes, and red means the parent is not available (except in emergencies) at that time. This system encourages students to learn to wait (just like they are taught in school).
Most schools are doing everything they can to make virtual learning as similar to an in-person school day as possible; schools have a set daily schedule for their students. Schools are trying their best to provide structure. What can you do as a parent? You can set and maintain the learning environment. Encourage your student to get up and ready at a certain time, dress appropriately for virtual classes, and have a consistent lunch time. Yes, you might face backlash depending on the age of your student(s) but maintaining some semblance of structure will benefit both you and your student in the long run.
Similarly, after your student is finished school, they can have a totally different mindset…they can go outside, play, and operate on a much more relaxed schedule. During school hours, the student is “in” school, and after school hours, the student can go play. Emphasizing the boundary between school time and play time can have a huge impact on the virtual learning/homeschooling experience.
Another hurdle many parents have expressed to us at Wright Academics is the challenge of getting younger students online on time. With younger students or students with learning differences, it is important for parents to educate themselves on the technology being used in advance. Preparing on the front end of virtual learning will pay dividends in the grand scheme of things. The goal is to make getting online as easy and seamless as possible for your young learners; planning is the name of the game. Plan for your student to be as independent as possible on their device.
One way to achieve this is having an instruction sheet next to the device that contains all the passwords and instructions your student needs to get into their online classes. This strategy is often helpful for elementary-aged students. The more a student gains independence, the more confident they will feel; self-efficacy builds confidence. Our goal as educators and parents is to create an environment where students have all of the tools to be successful and independent.
The Social Aspect
Group learning is still a very viable option, and different students have different needs. Some students are much more social than others, and they crave consistent time with their friends. For this reason, the social aspect of learning cannot be underestimated. Even though some students cannot physically go to school, students can still learn with and from each other. Often, social interaction keeps students motivated. At Wright Academics, we are offering 2 options for in-person learning this fall: in-office learning and neighborhood pods. If you are not comfortable with in-person group learning, then virtual study sessions are available as well.
Now is the time when many of us would be taking our students back to school shopping for supplies, clothes, etc. Although many of us are not doing those activities this year, there are ways we can be preparing for the school year ahead. Technology has so many game changing capabilities for students of all different needs and learning styles IF we take the time to learn how to use them.
If you are a parent reading this, do not be afraid to reach out for support or to say, “I don’t know.” We are all working with what we have! If you are in need of resources and/or direction, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you through this transition.
If you are interested in learning more about our academic coaching or the resources we recommend, click HERE.
About Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.
With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.