We are one week into our 4th session of virtual learning.
The first time we were here my daughter was in year 2 of kindergarten and my office had just closed, the whole situation was such a crazy concept. We definitely found ourselves using less of the virtual classroom and more building an as we went home curriculum.
Round 2 was different. I was working from home so I had to share my time between taking care of our toddler son, getting our daughter prepped for her virtual grade one class and my office needs. While we managed, it was a hot mess express to say the least.
A few months later we entered our 3rd round of virtual learning and it was really just keeping the kids afloat and putting my office aside until everyone was in bed. It was a struggle and a long 3 months.
Now that we are in the 4th round and have entered grade two I thought I would share what we have learned helps and us succeed through the virtual classroom.
Dedicate a Specific Learning Space.
The first few times we had Summer set up in general family area. It was a big distraction to her and it was hard for her brother to understand that he couldn’t be with her playing. We now have a desk set up with a dedicated virtual school computer.
Access Virtual School Resources and Activities.
Once I logged into her virtual classroom and each program her teacher uses I starred them all to the top of her web browser for easy independent access. I also have a binder in her room of work sheets available for if she finishes up classroom activities but I am busy with work or her brother.
Set a Schedule.
Having her class schedule written and taped to her wall has been a great help in her knowing when she has free time or when she needs to be at her “office”. It also gives her a little more responsibility and independence which she is now at an age where that is important to her.
Make Sure They Have the Right Materials.
Before her day starts I try to check for any messages from her teacher to see if there are special supplies needed for the day and will do another check over our lunch break. Making sure she already has everything she needs is helpful in reducing interruptions while I am working and keeps her from getting distracted or flustered.
Help Them Understand.
We have tried hard to explain what is going on. Helping her to know why she is in virtual school again, the goals and reasoning makes it feel less daunting. We set up the hopeful timeline for how long it should be happening, but also explain that it could be extended and try to list some positive things for if that happens.
Reward Your Child for Good Behaviour.
There is a lot of confusion and hurt, some kids just don’t thrive in a virtual setting. We try to set up exciting things like family movie night with popcorn and kids choice for dinner at the end of the week. This gives something to look forward too.
Also checking in throughout the week, if you notice your child is feeling overwhelmed maybe set up an option for taking an afternoon off for a fun activity. Letting them know you see how hard they are working and trying while rewarding them with a break is a great refresh.
Remember you aren’t a teacher, nothing about this is a normal situation and the mental health of both yourself and your children is always a top priority.
Reach out to your child’s teacher if something is working and don’t stress yourself out over what they are managing to complete. You are doing the best you can, and that is what makes you an amazing parent!