Parent’s Guide to Home Distance LearningMarch 20, 2020
Because of the developing situation, many schools are in the process of transitioning to virtual learning, while others are still developing a plan of action to move forward in educating kids. We know that helping children learn at home can be a daunting task, and just the thought of distance learning can seem like a pain.
Kids Academy wants to let you know that we are here to support you every step of the way. Keep reading to find out what you can do to keep your kids’ skills sharp, and together we’ll ace this home distance learning process from start to finish.
The Role of Parents
With schools closed, many parents are being forced to work at home alongside their children. Take a look at the checklist below to see more about what the role of a parent might look like during this time of need:
- Manage your expectations
Accept that school testing schedules will be cancelled or postponed, your day-to-day routine will be temporarily changed, and the usual lessons your child experiences at school may not be perfectly duplicated at home. The difference between learning at home and learning at school might seem like a huge one, but anything your child does academically will help move your child forward regardless.
- Check your email for updates from your child’s school
As schools shut down and turn to distance learning, don’t forget to check for updates from your local school district. Ask for specific recommendations for activities and ask your teacher about the Kids Academy Talented and Gifted app, which can be used by teachers to assign and track student work and progress. Remember to share any updates from the teacher directly with your kids, as they will be happy to hear from them!
- Create a new “normal”, at least for now
Teachers begin every school year with the basics of setting up a classroom routine. As a parent, it’s likely that your household also has a routine that your family already has in place. But now that school is out prematurely, your usual daily agenda will also need to change to accommodate the new learn-from-home schedule. With that in mind, try to create a new normal, so your child knows what to expect each day.
At Kids Academy, it’s our mission to close learning gaps and prevent learning disruptions in this time of crisis. We’re offering families, teachers, schools, and districts a 50% off all membership plans for our Talented and Gifted app.
Tips for Parents
Of course, the ultimate goal in all of this is to help your child succeed in learning. With that goal in mind, we have a few simple tips to help you get through the next few weeks:
- Create a dedicated classroom space within your home
Whether your child is in preschool or middle school, create a space within your home that your family can use as a dedicated learning space. Clean out the home office or set up a desk in your child’s room where lessons and activities can be carried out. Make this space as comfortable as possible by adding bean bag chairs for a reading nook and allow kids to personalize the space with their artwork or completed assignments.
- Create a schedule that includes academic time
We already talked about creating a new normal above, but don’t forget that kids need structure, and that includes incorporated dedicated time into each day for learning. Depending on your family’s work schedule or other responsibilities, create a schedule for weekdays that includes time throughout the day for learning. To make your plan, think about the times you think your child is most likely to give his or her best work and attention. For most children, this means that late morning and early afternoon are the most optimal times for schoolwork.
- Take breaks throughout the day
You might have heard your child’s teachers talk about giving students “brain breaks”, which basically amounts to letting kids rest in between challenging activities. Studies have shown that students have and attention span of about 3-5 minutes per year of a child’s age. That means if your child is 4 years old, he or she probably has between 12-20 minutes of concentration before shutting down or falling out of focus. That’s why it’s so important to schedule learning activities for short bursts of time throughout the day, and to give kids ample brain breaks where they do something fun or physical to keep them energized.
- Take full advantage of online learning
YouTube and video games are great for entertainment, but there are plenty of online resources ranging from interactive books to games. At Kids Academy, we have a comprehensive all-in-one learning app that is standards-aligned and offers a plethora of lessons, games, videos, and much more over subjects found across the curriculum for grades PK-3.
- Don’t forget about off-screen activities
In today’s digital age, you may have a ton of tech tools, but lack in resources to use off-screen. As always, it’s important to give students real practice with hands-on learning activities, especially when it comes to writing. Kids Academy has prepared thousands of free, printable worksheets that parents can download for use at home and off-screen.
- Team up with other parents
Communicate with parents from your child’s school to see how you can help each other get through this challenging time. While some locations may be under a shelter in place, if your community allows, you may be interested in meeting with other parents to arrange for small classes. If this isn’t a possibility, use Skype or FaceTime to connect with other parents, share ideas, and to let little ones socialize with the friends they surely miss dearly.
- Don’t forget to read
Studies consistently show that the best way for kids to improve reading skills is to simply read some more! If you’re stuck at home without a large library of options, check out the resources offered by your local library. Of course, your library is likely shut down for the time being. However, many are offering curbside services, and most allow patrons access to online materials through apps such as OverDrive or Libby.
Remote learning can be a challenge, but Kids Academy is here to make the transition just a little bit easier. If you know of any other parents who can benefit from a digital learning platform, please take a moment to share this information with a friend so we can all work together to keep all children learning and growing to their fullest potential.