5 Tips for a Successful Distance Learning Experience
By: Stephanie Saavedra
As teachers and staff around the U.S. and world plan and prepare for distance learning, CCA high school English teacher and parent Stephanie Saavedra shares five helpful tips that will help parents create a productive educational environment for their child(ren). Remember, we are all in this together!
As teachers and staff around the U.S. and world plan and prepare to transition into distance learning, what tips and tricks do we, as parents, need to know? After interviewing a friend who’s been homeschooling for years and doing some research, I have compiled a few helpful tips for making sure our children are successful in distance learning.
Stick to a schedule
Have your child(ren) wake up and get dressed as if it were a normal school day. They don’t have to put on a uniform, but this does mean changing out of pajamas. (This is a good tip for adults who have to work remotely too!). Certain times should also be set aside during the day to do work for each class.
Create a learning space
Designate an area of your home (not their bedroom) for your child(ren) to complete schoolwork. This area should be away from distractions, have a place to sit with their work, and maybe include a white board calendar to stay on top of assignments. Kids should set aside time to complete their work in different learning environments — a creative space in your home, outdoors, etc. — to help break the monotony of sitting too long in one location.
A brain break should not involve spending time on a device.
Schoolwork should be done in an area where your child is supervised. If you will be required to go into work, programs like Family Link, Google Wifi, and Safe Browsing allow you to restrict technology as well as monitor their progress for the day. Make sure to give your child(ren) a quick call or Facetime to check in.
Talk to fellow parents and/or friends to make arrangements to monitor your child. Ask questions like:
Will anyone be working from home?
Is there a way you can split the responsibility throughout the week for a few of your children?
Does your child have a lot of the same classes as your friend’s child?
Is anyone willing to meet virtually via Facetime or Google Hangouts?
Most importantly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers and school for support. They are working above and beyond to ensure you and your family have an excellent distance learning experience despite the circumstances.
Make sure your child has scheduled times during the day for brain breaks. Research shows that children benefit from 3-5 minute breaks for every 10-15 minute block (for elementary students) and 20-30 minute block (for middle and high school students) of focused work. Have them take a walk, ride their bike, play basketball, or sit on the porch and enjoy some fresh air. A brain break should not involve spending time on a device.
Overall, create a learning space, stick to a schedule, hold your child(ren) accountable, find community, and encourage brain breaks so that you have a good base for starting this new endeavor in distance learning. Also know that you don’t have to be an expert at everything, so give grace as you receive grace — for yourself, your kid(s), those partnering with you in their education, and the people around you.
Distance learning ultimately builds character traits such as discipline, focus, and independent thinking.
Although this method of learning is new for many of us, it will serve your child(ren) well for the future, as many college students enroll in online classes at one point or another. Distance learning ultimately builds character traits such as discipline, focus, and independent thinking.
Most importantly, be at peace knowing that we serve a great God who empathizes with our weaknesses and gives us the strength we need to accomplish His good purposes. I want to leave you with this verse, and I pray that it will serve as an encouragement to you:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and because of this, we can “delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
Stephanie Saavedra has served as a high school English teacher at CCA for five years. Her husband oversees digital discipleship for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, and she has two children who attend CCA. In her free time, she loves to read, bake, and paint.
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