7 Virtual School Tips for Schooling Your Child from Home
In light of Covid, most schools across the country have made the switch from kids attending school, to kids attending virtual school from home. Or distance learning.
This looks different for everyone.
For some kids it's attending their classes live online via Zoom, or even through Facebook's new Messenger Rooms, with their teacher and the rest of their classmates.
For others, it's one-on-one live instruction through Facetime or Skype with their teacher.
And for some it's watching pre-recorded video courses and completing workbooks and packets of materials.
Regardless as to how your child is virtual schooling, or distance learning, there are a few things you can do to ensure their success and your sanity!
Is Virtual Schooling the Same as Homeschooling?
Before we jump in, I want to preface that virtual schooling or distance learning, as it's currently mandated by our government - for those that attend a "traditional" brick and mortar public school or private school - is not at all the same as real homeschooling.
As a homeschool mom I can fully attest to this.
We're going into our 6th year of real homeschooling. This is our choice, not a government mandate.
I've homeschooled my daughter through elementary school. Through middle school. And I'm now homeshooling her though high school.
Without getting into the actual semantics of it all, in a nutshell, kids that are currently being mandated to attend school from home are doing so by force, not by choice.
As a homeschooling mom, I have personally chosen to homeschool my daughter.
I choose her curriculum. I choose how we homeschool. I choose where we homeschool. I choose when we homeschool. I create the syllabus. I create the daily work flow and tasks. I assign the work and I assign the grades. Basically, I call 100% of the shots when it comes to my daughter's education.
So no, virtual schooling... distance learning... as currently mandated by the government, is not the same as real homeschooling.
However, regardless of our differences, one thing is the same, there are things you can do at home to make your child's virtual schooling / distancing learning experience both comfortable and successful! And, keep your sanity intact while doing so!
My 7 Virtual School Tips will definitely help you to successfully school from home for as long as you have to do so.
Let's get into in..
My 7 Virtual School Tips for Schooling Your Child from Home
1. Be Positive
The best thing you can do for yourself and your child is to remain positive.
You may love having them at home during this time, or you may not.
They may love the opportunity to attend school from home, or they may not.
Regardless, it's always better to make the best out of what you have then to make the worst out of what you don't.
2. Have a Designated School Space
Choose a space in your home and designate it as their school space.
It can be an actual room, or the dining room table. A desk in their bedroom, or a nook in the kitchen.
Giving them their own designated space makes the experience more personal and keeps their school work and school supplies confined to just one area instead of having everything strewn all over the house. <--- See, helping you with your sanity!
Having a designated space to do school helps to build structure and routine. They know when they sit down at this space it's to do school.
3. Have Good Lighting
Make sure the area is bright and inviting, with good task lighting.
One of my favorite desk lamps is the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp. You can get it on Amazon.
With over 4,400 4.5 out of 5 star reviews, it's one of the best! My daughter has this one on her desk.
4. Have a Schedule
This is a great time to set and enforce good habits.
Order your child a planner off of Amazon.
This 2020-2021 Academic Weekly & Monthly Planner has over 5,200 5 star reviews on Amazon and comes in multiple colors!
Or, if you have a younger child, print out calendar pages free online and create a planner for them.
Sit down with your child and discuss their school schedule.
What days are they attending virtual school?
What time do they start?
What time do they end?
Is there anything going on during the school day that has to be scheduled in (doctors appointments, IEP meetings, etc...?
Do they have any big projects assigned?
What about extra curricular activities: online fitness classes, dance classes, martial arts, chess club, book club, after school zoom social with their friends?
Will they have homework?
Get this all down in their planner.
Decide on a wake up time and a bed time - schedule those.
Then hold your child accountable to their daily schedule.
In these uncertain times, where they may be feeling scared, angry, hurt, confused... having a set plan will help them feel more secure and confident.
When they know the parameters of what's expected of them each school day, it will help keep them focused and on task.
And, it will help you to keep your sanity while you're navigating what you need to do in a day while they school virtually from home.
5. Get Dressed
You wouldn't send your child to school in their pajamas, so don't let them attend virtual school from home while still wearing them.
Keep their morning routine the same as you would if they were to attend their brick and mortar school: get dressed, brush their teeth & hair, make their bed, have breakfast... all before they start school for the day.
This will help set a better tone for the day, instead of them just rolling into their school schedule from bed.
I like to have a pajama day as a reward. More on rewards, next...
6. Have Surprise Rewards
It's nice to surprise your kid with a little something-something for a job well done!
You can reward things like... not bitching about virtual schooling for the day. Completing a task. Starting school on time. Doing well on an assignment or a test. Staying focused, Or just because...
Things like leaving them a little note, putting fun stickers on their work... taking them to get their favorite treat or snack.
Taking away one of their dreaded chores for the day. Let them wear their pajamas to school for a day.
If they play a video game, giving them extra time... Whatever works for you and your child.
7. Have Open Discussions
Use this time to explore with them. You'll often find while schooling that one topic leads to a question about another. Go down that rabbit hole together. Explore, discuss... this is a great time to really connect with your kid.
What are they into? What are they struggling with? What do they want to know more about? What are they shying away from?
Being a kid is all about self discovery. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to be a part of that journey!
Those are my 7 virtual school tips for schooling your child from home.
I have one bonus tip for you... tip #8... patience! Have patience. Your kid is going to be fine as are you.
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