Making Distance Learning a Family Affair
Has the COVID-19 pandemic turned your house into a bustling workplace and classroom? Juggling personal and professional obligations always has been a tough assignment, but the range of activities currently happening under one roof for many families surpasses anything anyone could have imagined at the start of 2020.
A benefit of this unplanned scenario, though, is the opportunity to work on some important life skills. Adjusting to this year’s “new normal” requires teamwork, patience, and adaptability. Your family can survive and emerge stronger than ever!
Make succeeding at distance learning a family project. Here are four helpful tips
- Create an environment conducive to learning:
As much as possible, try to give each member of the household his or her own space. This action allows spreading out and keeps your Intro to Calculus homework from mixing in with your daughter’s multiplication worksheet.
While you may not be able to prevent the sounds of your neighbor cutting his grass, aim for as quiet of an atmosphere as possible. Close doors where family members are working. Turn off televisions to avoid distraction and temptation. Consider posting a “stop sign” that alerts others to not bother someone who is partaking in an online session. Attaching a post-it stating the time class ends tells others when it’s OK to come back.
- Centralize information
Writing information down in too many different places increases the chances of it getting lost or overlooked. Create a central calendar so that everyone can see the events taking place within the household. You’ll avoid scheduling your weekly vacuuming during your son’s English class, and your daughter can see when your spouse might be available to lend a hand with her history project. Make calendar-viewing easier by assigning a color to each family member.
Each person also should compile a main list of passwords that he or she uses. Keep it in a convenient, permanent place (such as posted next to the computer). You’ll avoid scrambling to remember which passwords go to which work-related or educational sites.
- Pay attention to tech needs
Another benefit of creating a master calendar is figuring out who needs to be online and when. If your household has more users than devices, this information is vital to getting everyone where they need to be without conflict.
Monitor connection issues, too. A home with many devices in use at the same time may result in slow online speed. Commit as a family to prioritizing school and work sessions, and save binge-watching Netflix or downloading a video game for a different time. Also, consider upping your Internet package during this period to better accommodate bandwidth needs.
- Keep living and learning
Finally, realize that we’re dealing with unprecedented circumstances. At the moment, life is stressful for virtually everyone. Mistakes will be made, and little choice exists other than to keep trying to do one’s best.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teachers, counselors, and other personnel at both your children’s school and your own can answer questions and help navigate rough waters. Likewise, turn to friends and classmates in similar situations for practical suggestions or simply a morale boost.
Work to be a good role model for your kids. As they see your dedication and positive attitude toward educational achievement even in the face of adversity, they’ll be inspired to follow your lead.
By Beth Hering