By Stephanie Cruz
Distance Learning is a thing now. Pretty much the entire country has turned to virtual instruction and for a lot of us, teachers included, it’s an entirely new world in education!
In my regular classroom, I am very organized, my students are very organized (largely due to my influence), and things are basically smooth sailing for the better part of our time together. However, in this virtual classroom, I have very limited control over the amount of organization in their lives, none of us teachers do. So, I made my peace with it and left it alone until a dear friend of mine reached out to me in desperate need of guidance. It turns out that she was completely overwhelmed not just with the work assigned but with how to take control of the situation in general. She had no idea where to start. Enter Ms. Cruz.
What Distance Learning is Not
Distance learning is not homeschool. With homeschooling, you sign up for it. You make plans, you choose a curriculum, and then you go to town. Distance learning isn’t that cut and dry. You’re basically overseeing your child as their classroom teacher educates them from a remote location. Notice how I said overseeing. Many parents feel pressure to be super involved in their child’s daily distance learning; which can become more of a stressor for the student than helpful to them.
Under normal circumstances, your child probably does not have you looking over their shoulder in their physical classrooms every day. Therefore, if you’re doing that now in their digital classroom, it can place unnecessary weight on their shoulders when they already have this whole new dimension of learning to deal with.
Getting Organization Started for Distance Learning
To help with organization, I have provided a link to some useful PDFs at the bottom of this post. There are detailed directions for use on each PDF page.
- Sit down with your child and access the assignments listed on their digital learning platform.
- Set a schedule with them, blocking off certain times of the day for certain subjects and/or tasks. If they have them, include home chores here too. If everyone is home, everyone should be contributing!
- Set up a daily checklist for the tasks/assignments they will need to complete every day.
- Make a separate list of weekly assignments, these are activities that are not assigned daily, for them to check off as they are completed throughout the week.
- Stick to the schedule you made and hold your child accountable.
You’ve Organized Your Child’s Distance Learning Schedule, Now What?
- Unless you want to, there is no need to complete all the assignments immediately. Especially if a teacher has assigned an entire week’s worth of work at once. First, figure out how many assignments there are. Then, split them up by the appropriate number of days they have that class or subject.
- As long as they remain focused when they’re working, let them take a break when their allotted time is over. Now, if they are off task, hold them accountable to complete their work. Don’t let them take advantage of you or the situation. It can be hard for your child to understand that the school literally IS at home now.
- Spread the work out (like on the sample checklist) so that they don’t get overwhelmed. They might not like doing all this work, especially from home, and that’s ok. But it still needs to get done. Let them know that by sticking to the schedule you made together they’ll actually be ‘going to school’ for a much shorter amount of time!
- Understand that lessons are taught differently now then when you were in school. This means, whatever you do, do not complete your child’s work for them. It is a disservice to them as a learner. If you are struggling to understand the lesson, contact your student’s teacher for help. Don’t do it for them.
Things to Remember While Distance Learning
- You are their guide, not their partner. If they mess up, so what, they’ll get better. Give them time to learn and grow before you jump in.
- Let them problem solve. If they are having trouble with something, have them walk you through it to get to an answer, don’t just do it for them.
- Lastly, have them SHOW you their completed work for the week (before it’s due), to make sure everything was completed correctly or to the best of their ability.
While distance learning has taken hold of our communities with the speed of wildfire, there are still ways that we can help our children shine brightly.
Click the link to find the printable checklists: https://mscruzin.ck.page/73e607f542
Copyright 2020 Ms. Cruzin’ LLC