We have all been promoted! Congratulations you are now your kids teacher. I am hoping you sensed some sarcasm there. Long distance learning is becoming a reality for a lot of us.
So, now what? What are we to do?
This new reality can be a very stressful and disconcerting prospect to face. I have no formal training and honestly there are plenty of days I don’t really like my kids enough to “be patient” and teach them. But I digress.
Its funny, whenever I pick up my girls from school, they are thrilled. They love coming home but that is because they are able to play and relax. Sure my older one has some homework. When she is doing that our younger one does learning play, but that is not school work.
My girls LOVE their teachers. To the point where some days they love them more than me. But here is the thing, our kids are with these amazing people for just hours a day. Their teachers are not yelling at them to clean up their rooms, brush their teeth, go to bed and be nice to their little sisters.
At home they are comfortable and want to chill out. This reality is being taken away from not just us but from them as well.
Keep in mind that there will be some blue days ahead for our kiddos. They are going to miss their friends, socialization time, being inside 4 different walls, and most of all their teachers. These loving individuals mold our young Childrens minds and give them emotional support at the same time. Never underestimate the power of their profession.
So now that we are looking at long days of trying to get our kids to listen to us like we are their beloved teachers, what are we to do? How do we handle it? Are there tools that can make our lives and their lives just a little easier?
The simple answer is yes!
Here are some steps to take which could make your long distance learning go just a tad smoother:
Set a structured day –
I know this sucks, its tough to keep kids to a really strict schedule but if you want them to watch, listen and learn setting a schedule for learning is the best way. I personally have two schedules. One for each day (broken down by time). Second for each week, (this will let them know what they are expected to learn each day).
Here is an example of our daily schedule. Now ours is VERY scheduled but that is because my kids are 7 and 3. They have very different expectations for their day. Now do we follow this to the letter everyday? NO! Do we use it as a guide yes.
For example right now, this very moment, we are supposed to be doing lessons but flexibility is one of the beautiful things about Long distance learning. If they are quiet and playing nicely…DON’T POKE THE BEARS!
Have a specific place they study –
Because students are used to studying and working at desks and also having cubbies or lockers; try and find a space in your home just for them. A place to put learning materials and just for learning time. Whether that is setting a makeshift desk in their room or turning your dining room into a classroom.
We have had to do the latter. It sucks I’m not going to lie but its what we have to do right now.
Make sure you have all materials ahead of time –
Gather everything your kids might need ahead of time. Get all laptops, tablets and headphones charged and ready. If they are working on math, grab that extra scratch paper and a calculator. If they are doing 30 mins of reading make sure they have a snack and book ahead of time. This saves valuable time when its time to roll.
Be engaged, not passive –
As a teacher you have to be on all the time. You have to be accessible for your students because they are learning new things and will inevitably need assistance.
As a teacher-parent, you need to be engaged as well. It is not like homework time where you can put it in front of them and only help when necessary. With homework they have already learned and are reviewing. With long distance learning everything is new.
You are going to have to sit with them and help them through the lessons each time. As boring as it might be, they need to see that you are invested in this time or they will zone out too. You need to actively remind them they are worth your time, even if you have a thousand other things to do.
If possible, keep in touch with teachers to coordinate lesson plans –
We are lucky my daughters older teacher is amazing! She already had google classroom set up for the class. If you don’t know what that is yet, you will shortly! A lot of school districts are using it for long distance learning.
My daughters teacher has let all of the parents know that she is here for us with any questions, concerns, or stresses which might come up. She will be adding the lesson plans which we then have to teach. They know this is not your day job so I think most teachers will be there for you and your student.
So during this unprecedented time remember that we need to all band together and help each other. We need to have patience with our kids and more importantly ourselves. This is uncharted territory for a lot of us and it will all take some getting used to.
One thing is for sure, I have a sneaking suspicion by the end of this we will all have a new found respect for our kids teachers.
Stay healthy, stay happy,
Here is a list of free apps from teachers that you can use while the kids are long distance learning: Free online learning activities for kids
We are in this together, we are listening if you need advice or just to vent join us on Facebook or Instagram. I am going to start talking to all of you in order to feel more connected as well as putting some more videos up to hopefully help you smile through this tough time.
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