Overcoming the Challenges of Distance Learning

American children of all grade levels have struggled to remain engaged in their classwork for much of the previous school year, it’s not that they aren’t doing the work (in some cases), but more often than not that many students across the nation weren’t prepared at the time that schools were forced to close. Now as the school year is drawing to a close, and kids are gearing up for a long summer at home. Many parents and educators are scrambling for methods to help students be prepared for the next school year with a mountain of uncertainty as to how this pandemic will change education and how it will affect everyone involved. 

As a parent with 4 of my 9 children in high school and a preschooler, I certainly know of the stress these uncertainties can bring. It was a rough end to the school year here in the Pacific NW, where many students either were present for their online classes, but disengaged and others simply didn’t log in. That’s not to say these students were playing ‘hooky’ ( I know, no one’s used that word in a few decades lol), but many different factors serve to play a role in the disconnect.  

We must not forget that the home life of a good number of students’ doesn’t afford them to fully focus on their school work, this includes students from low income homeless, undocumented or with learning challenges, language barriers, unstable home lives, or limited access to technology. There are also students, who having never been homeschooled may find the challenge too much to quickly transition to, as well as those who have a family member who contracted COVID – 19. 

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Strategies for Distant Learning.

We’ve researched several strategies to help parents and educators help students re-engage in school and along with those strategies we’ll cover in future posts. We will also be providing links and other resources in the upcoming editions of our newsletter read further to add to your distance learning toolboxes. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Know your child as a learner.

Everyone learns differently and our children are no different, some are strong independent learners and unphased by distance learning while some who may struggle will need extra assistance. This is where our current technology is extremely helpful, a zoom (or other social videos) study session with their peers or classmates can give an extra boost in confidence as well as break the isolation that comes with distance learning at times.

For parents, this may take observing your child as a student in that setting. Without saying anything, just sit in on a class or two, observe if and how your child participates. It also helps to take notes, because for many of us parents we rarely have the opportunity to observe our children in a class. No, it’s not spying… well maybe just a little 🙂

 

 Take time for passion projects.

School itself can be a draining thing for children regardless of grade level. It can be even more draining as they are having to structure a school work mostly from home where they may not be able to meet all the demands required of them. To take the tension off a little and to keep their creative minds sharp devoting some free time to an educational passion project may be just the thing to blow off some steam. 

With today’s technology, there are many fun, and educational ways to do that. Say for example your child may be a gamer. Game streaming may be a fun and interactive introduction to video editing they, if they aren’t already involved could be introduced to. Just the idea of sharing a game they are interested in and editing it to showcase other skills may be the thing to create a passion for a new career choice they may want to look into for themselves. Who knows, parents; it might even end up being a hobby you’ll enjoy as well. I’m 42, and I’m rather enjoying having an adventure or even tell a good story. Check it out!

 

So let’s keep the conversation going, what are some methods you’ve found helpful in keeping your child in distance learning during this time? Feel free to comment below.

 

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