Editor's Note: The above video is from previous coverage of how teachers are being creative with helping students learn from home.
Distance learning: it’s a term well-known to those who teach for online schools, but it might be a new concept to many parents now taking on a bigger role in their children’s formal education.
Those with school-aged children are now tasked with helping guide their students through curriculum online.
Does this make you a bit uneasy? The online educators at Arizona Virtual Academy and Insight Academy of Arizona shared some tips for parents.
Keep a schedule
Designate a place and time your student will work each day.
“I think the best thing for parents to do is dedicate a time and a space in their home so the kids can really focus,” Sarah Alexander, deputy head of schools for Arizona Virtual Academy and Insight Academy of Arizona explained.
Math teacher Erin Lambert said she usually handwrites a schedule. She suggests using a dry-erase board and having your student create the schedule with you.
“Have a morning meeting and then an end-of-day meeting and talk about what they accomplished,” Lambert said.
Even if you cannot be home with your student throughout the day. These online educators encourage parents to check-in with them and go over what they worked on each day.
Brain breaks are a thing
Lambert also brought up the importance of taking a break. Parents are encouraged to allow students to have a mental break from school work. She suggests they get up and stretch, do some jumping jacks or even strike a yoga pose.
Communication in key
Mary Dominguez teachers high school students, but as a parent herself, she cannot stress enough how much communication is needed to make online learning a success. If you or your student has a question for the teacher, ask it! There’s a chance you are not the only one wondering about it.
“Communication is the biggest part of distance learning because we don’t see the kids every day. The parent has to take that in-between role and we are all part of a team when you do it this way,” Dominguez said.
Reward good work
It is not cheating if you offer your student some “encouragement” in the form of incentives and rewards. Perhaps, it is extra video game time or a special dessert after dinner. Offering your student something to work for will likely keep them on track.
And do not forget to reward yourself! You are doing great at this distance learning thing!
“It is a great opportunity for a bonding experience between the parent and student. They don’t often interact with their student in this way. I know it is kind of under some stressful conditions depending on what’s going on with work and the family and things like that, but it is just an opportunity to see your student as a learner and to bring that experience that is often so far away from you into the home,” Alexander said.