When the COVID-19 pandemic began, parents, instructors, and students had to figure out how to use remote learning. For the future school years, here are 7 tips for parents in preparing their children for online and blended learning.

National school districts are rushing to finalize their plans for the 2020-2021 school year as the summer months wind down. With the looming danger of COVID-19, some students have returned to the classroom. Some went with virtual learning or “hybrid learning,” a combination of online and in-person instruction tailored to each student. Your child’s school year may look very different in each of these scenarios.

The first thing parents (and kids) should do when planning for the future is to take a step back and realize that nothing will ever be the same as the spring semester just completed. We were all stunned into silence and had to reply as quickly as possible. Educators and parents alike can benefit greatly from the advances in knowledge that have been made in recent years. By learning from that experience, every one of us can better ourselves in the future.

This year’s school year is just around the corner, and parents and children alike should take these seven steps to get ready.

1. Formal Reflection on the Past Year

Self-reflection should be a priority for everyone, including children and their parents. What worked and what didn’t? You can ask your students to generate a list or sketch of what worked and didn’t. Talking to your student about returning to school now will help them mentally prepare for it.

Having this time to ponder during a less stressful summer vacation might also be beneficial. As a result of having taken a year off from school, students will be better prepared to deal with the concerns they encountered last year, as well as the challenges and expectations they face in the future.

2. Increase the number of opportunities for social learning.

There is no doubt in many parents’ minds that raising a child is a team effort. If parents want to help their children be better prepared for the 2020-2021 school year, they should do everything to help them connect with other students and make new friends. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance.

Working with the school to find an older student who can help your virtual child tutor in a specific subject, or encouraging your child to do their schoolwork with pals via FaceTime or Zoom. You can organize weekly homework or study dates with other parents and students by reaching out to each other. Students will miss out on valuable social interactions if distance education continues. There is a lack of social connection even with hybrid learning, which incorporates classroom time.

3. Help Your Children Designate a Space for Working.

Parents and children may have had to improvise a homework area last year as schools quickly switched to online learning. It’s never too early to assist your children in setting up a learning space that is dedicated and conducive to concentrated and practical study.

Because so many parents now work from home and so many children are learning in virtual classrooms, the term “home” has taken on new meanings as both a place to live and learn. Separate work areas for parents and children can help eliminate distractions, stress, and conflict in the workplace.

There are three types of spaces that parents should aim to create for their children, which can be nearby or split away. If you want to study and tutor in a more formal setting, pick a room with a regular desk (a kitchen table also works). Make a cozy reading corner and a space where youngsters can spread out and work on school assignments like crafts (that can be done using a dining table or a folding table). With this goal in mind, you should strive to establish the most conducive learning environment possible.

4. As much as possible, try to get your body moving.

Since there were many restrictions and social segregation measures in place, including things like closed summer programs, this summer was no less unusual than last year’s school year. The IDEAL School of Manhattan is a K-12 independent inclusion school in New York City under the leadership of educator Janet Wolfe. She encourages parents to do everything to keep their children actively engaged in creative and entertaining activities. Since studies have shown that exercise and fitness can boost academic achievement, it is worth noting.

Over the summer, the more physically active youngsters are, the more prepared they will be for the new school year to begin. Many children were less involved in the spring than they usually are, making this more of a concern now than in the past. As a starting point, she recommends basic activities like going for a walk every day or participating in family yoga.

This goes hand-in-hand with minimizing the amount of time spent in front of the computer. Many children’s excessive use of technology has been exacerbated by the lack of other, more interactive social options that have been available since March. It will be easier for youngsters to participate socially and academically at the beginning of the school year if we limit their screen time now.

5. Set aside time each day to practice reading and math.

You may strengthen critical thinking abilities and prevent summer slides by reading every day, whether aloud or on your own time. The summer slide is expected to become even more prevalent in the following year.

Consider both fiction and nonfiction, as well as trips to places where you can read. One of the best ways for parents and children to build critical reading skills in older children is by reading a news article together every day and discussing it. Weekly library outings can help create an eagerness to study, as well as cultivate curiosity. While many specific summer programs have yet to reopen, this activity can fill in the gaps in your child’s weekly schedule.

It would help to encourage pupils to practice their arithmetic facts and skills. A grocery list based on weekly menus and a budget could work better for youngsters than a workbook. As a way to practice literacy, financial literacy, and executive functioning abilities, as well as reinforce basic math concepts, this is an excellent activity for students.

6. Engage in a Purposeful Project of Your Design

Begin a meaningful project to help your child get into a fresh, productive mindset. Building a website or publicizing their work of art can be examples of this. Student interests and community service should come together in this project. Start an environmental science-related website, for example, with tips on how to live more sustainably at home if you’re interested, such as: In the college admissions process, efforts like these can help older students stand out.

We should investigate online volunteering options at sites like VolunteerMatch.org and DoSomething.org. Kids should think about ways to help the elderly in their neighborhood, such as organizing a food or supplies drive or delivering food to them. Taking a break from the monotony of virtual or hybrid learning and making a difference for others at this challenging time gives students a chance to recharge their spirit and energy for the upcoming school year.

7. Communication is a two-way street.

When children can express their feelings, both happy and negative, they are better able to deal with the challenges of the new school year. Inquire about how they are feeling by asking open-ended questions. What piques their interest? What’s the matter with them? Talk to your children about how the school will be different in the fall to be mentally and socially prepared for the upcoming changes.

The primary line is that they should freely communicate their fears and anxieties. We presume that our children know that we are always available to help them. Are there for them, but open dialogues are easy and natural reminders of the stability we as adults can offer in times of crisis.

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