Back-to-school is always a very stressful period for the whole family. Adding to the complication of returning to a class routine, this year brings a curriculum that, for most students, will be entirely virtual due to the current pandemic.
Therefore, you will have to align your online or on-site work schedule with turning the house into the new classroom and taking measures to help your children with their learning process.
Below, we offer some recommendations to help you and your children succeed in this new environment.
1. Prepare a calendar
One of the advantages of traditional schooling is the structure and time management it offers to children and parents. Many children find it difficult to manage the autonomy and self-discipline remote learning requires. You can help them by developing a calendar for tasks and activities that will provide structure to their day. For example, this may include wake-up times, when lessons will start, snack periods, lunchtime, and breaks. You will most likely be working while they are completing their school day, so schedule the time you will need to go over the day’s tasks and clear up any doubts.
In some schools, the most recent end-of-year experience helped them develop a more structured curriculum and schedule. In any case, discuss the calendar with your kids and agree on which will be their responsibilities under these new rules.
2. Should they wear their school uniform?
Even if the school does not require it, wearing at least the school uniform polo shirt is a way to help them feel like they are attending class.
3. Create a space for their lessons and make sure there is a strong internet connection
It is not always possible for children to have dedicated spaces to log into their school lessons, especially if there is more than one child in your household. Try your best to have your children in a distraction-free zone so that they can concentrate and pay attention. It is also important to check the quality of your internet connection, whether you use your home connection or a hotspot on your phone.
4. Organize all school supplies
Keep all necessary school supplies in a box. As soon as your children are done for the day, put them in charge of storing and organizing these supplies.
5. Familiarize yourself with the school’s virtual tool
Whether it’s Teams, Zoom, or any other tool, you must become familiar with the platform that the school is using and check for areas—such as portals and chats—that parents can use to communicate with teachers as well as with each other. This way, you can keep up to date and better supervise what your children are doing.
6. Stay in contact with their teachers
Teachers are now more important than ever for remote learning. Be sure to have their telephone numbers, emails, and chats to keep the lines of communication open. This way, you make sure your children are keeping up with their studies.
7. Stay in contact with other parents and encourage your children to have someone they can turn to
This is a new situation and we all have different strengths. Comparing notes can help them successfully face this new reality. Likewise, it is a good idea for children —depending on their age— to ask their classmates about any doubts they may have over an assignment. Maybe your children are very good in one subject, but they could benefit from the strengths of their classmates in other subjects. This would also allow them to keep in touch with their friends and classmates in a way that is similar to on-site schooling.