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Tips for homeschooling students during coronavirus pandemic

Arizona schools are closed, but that doesn't mean the lessons stop. Here are some tips for those new to distance learning.

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.  

The shift comes as schools across Arizona were shut down for the remainder of the academic year to try to stop the spread of coronavirus 

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.  

RELATED: Valley teachers get creative with educating online during coronavirus outbreak

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. 

RELATED: Kids at home? Here’s a list of online learning resources for all grades

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.

RELATED: Gov. Doug Ducey orders Arizona stay-at-home as number of coronavirus cases increases

MORE: Here is everything you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak in Arizona on March 31

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