Did you recently choose distance learning services for your elementary school-aged child? Some children thrive in this type of online educational environment. But the transition from in-person to cyber school may pose some challenges. If this is your child's first experience with distance learning, take a look at the ways to help them succeed academically, emotionally, and socially.
Create and Use a Schedule
Is your child used to a strict school day schedule? Without a set start time or bells to mark the beginning and end of class, your child may find it challenging to stay on track. Even though a distance education option may have more flexibility, it doesn't mean your child should completely throw out their regular school schedule.
If the distance learning program doesn't provide synchronous (real-time) classes that your child must attend at set times, you can create a school-day routine. Choose a start time that works best for your child and their needs—but isn't too late in the day. This prevents your child from sleeping in and missing a partial day of school time.
Along with a designated start time, select periods for each class and for after-school homework. Stick to the schedule daily to give your child a sense of routine. The regular time periods can help your child to manage each individual class, complete assignments, and stay on course throughout the school year.
Include Physical Activity
Your elementary school-aged child needs breaks to get up and get moving. Physical education is part of most grade school-level curricula. If the distance learning program doesn't include a PE component, create your own. Work movement or activity breaks into your child's daily schedule and set aside time for extracurricular exercise.
Communicate With Your Child
Talk to your child about their new school format, academic progress, and feelings often. Your child's emotional and psychological well-being are central to their school success. If your child feels isolated or overwhelmed, you will need to step in and help. It's normal to feel some level of school-related stress. Make sure your child knows you're available any time to talk about their educational progress, academic needs, or emotions.
Ask for Help When You Need It
You're home all day with your child. While you're the primary adult they interact with, you don't have to assume every role in their life. If your child feels overwhelmed to the point where it interferes with your child's ability to complete schoolwork or engage in social activities, you may need assistance from their teacher, another educator, or a mental health professional. Distance learning doesn't equal a solo education. Many programs have support staff and resources to help parents and their children make this transition and handle unexpected issues.
Over the last 15 years, my favorite part about being an elementary teacher was seeing children light up when reading a favorite book. I always enjoy teaching children to read, comprehend, and fall in love with classic or modern stories. Because I feel that reading is so important, I always put a big emphasis on the annual book fair at our school. It's basically a holiday in my classroom, and we celebrate it with excitement and anticipation! I have taught my students how to treat books nicely and read the first couple of pages to see if they like the book. I started this website to share education ideas for elementary students, including my book fair celebration tips. Read my website to learn more about the wonderful world of teaching.