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We Were Never Be Prepared For eLearning Nationwide But Here It Goes / Tips for E Learning

The sudden closure of schools across the U.S. due to COVID-19 has changed the lives of many families with school-aged children. Children are being asked to learn from home, expected to send assignments online, and Zoom with their teachers and classmates, all while parents are still having to cope with day to day life.
For many, this will be a new experience. It is not easy to convert homes into classrooms. Just doing a few things to make you and your children comfortable and focused is all that matters. You do what works best for your family.
Here are ten tips to prepare you and your child for online learning at home while keeping a little of your sanity.
1. Create space just for your child.
A few things to factor in is, what area of your home has fewer distractions for your child. If you are a parent working from home are you able to be near them just in case they need that extra hand. In addition, is the area clutter-free? Just think about your own workspace as a parent. If you have a messy area with papers everywhere, you can feel a bit overwhelmed. Just imagine how this can make a five-year-old feel. Creating that necessary space for your child will help them focus, and process things much easier while also staying engaged on their Zoom class meeting.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it.
Look at your family schedule and create one for your child. A schedule that you know you and your child will stick too. With no school bell to mark kids tardy, they might feel like sleeping in. With no set schedule, kids might never get around to schoolwork. Finding time for learning requires planning. Look at your family’s schedule and figure out the best times for each activity. If your child’s teacher came up with a schedule for them even better. Just make sure it is visible around your child’s workspace so that they know what is expected.
3. Communicate
Keep communicating with the school and your child’s teacher if you have any questions. I am sure you are feeling like they are being bombarded with questions and responses. It is okay to ask any questions you may have. On the other hand let your child email them if they happen to have any questions. Taking this time to help your child learn a new way to communicate might be helpful. I am sure we never thought we would be teaching our 5 years old how to write an email!
4. Reduce distractions.
Eliminating distractions can be difficult for many. Distractions are all around and even more so at home. If your child has siblings, I am sure they can be a distraction. If your child has a T.V. close to their workspace that could potentially be a distraction. Your pet if you have one, video games, IPad, Social Media, we have many distractions at home. Talk with your child to help come up with solutions. Or you can begin your first week of eLearning and find what distractions your child might be having then try to work through them. If your dog is a distraction, maybe place the dog with you in your office or away from your child. If your child is getting distracted by, the games on the IPad turn off the Wi-Fi during a certain part of the day. Of course, one that is convenient for the whole family. Perhaps at dinnertime or in the evening. Do what works best for your family.
5. Use a calendar and color-code it.
Setting up a system to help your child with dates and deadlines will help. Even those children with special needs. Setting up a color-coded calendar will help your child see visually what will occur and what is expected when it comes to school and handing things in. When a child can visually see what needs to be done it will help them better understand what is expected of them. Let your child help you create the calendar or use your child’s favorite colors. This might be a fun activity for them.
6. Get your child moving.
As a child, do you remember having to get up and shake out all the wiggles at school? Your child moving around and giving them plenty of exercise will help them focus and stay engaged while on Zoom. We have access to so much on the internet you can choose from so many different activities. Find a kids yoga to do together, play some music from your phone and dance, go for a quick bike ride around the block, play tag for a bit. The list goes on. We should not expect our children to sit all day. Physical activity for your child will not only reduce stress but prevent anxiety as well.
7. Look for ways to remove learning barriers.
If your child has learning challenges, it is important for you to review the online material and any other material your child’s teacher offers. Keep open communication with your child’s support if they have them such as, speech therapist, OT, School Psychologist etc. Keep in mind this is a new approach for everyone. eLearning was not set up to reach all child’s needs. eLearning has been created to help give your child a direction and continuation of learning. It is still important to keep up with your child’s needs and learning how to fulfill their needs in different ways to give them the support they need during this time.
8. Communicate in ways that help your child.
Be open to different forms of communication. If your child has a question, perhaps setting up a Face-time with your child’s teacher will help them understand better. Your child could also send a video as a response. Keeping all the forms of communication will help your child get the answers that he or she needs and it might be fun learning different way of communicating for your child.
9. Try to make Online learning as interactive as possible.
Children need the opportunity participate. Try to find other sources to help your kids learn how to interact and ask questions online. Perhaps finding apps online. is a great source to start with. ABC Mouse is a great resource as well, and there are great free resources as to find.
10. Keep it simple.
Most importantly, keep everything simple. Not only for your child but also for you as a parent. Simple, clear directions and expectations is what will get us all through this history making school year. It is hard enough that many parents have to work remote, teach their child remotely, as well as take care of everything else around them. Many parents have more than one child or a special needs child. The point is everyone has his or her own challenges. By keeping it simple, giving yourself grace, and knowing that you are not alone will help you get through the threshold of all this and I promise you are not alone!

Julie Valdez

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