Let’s face it: we don’t like it (most of us). Not one bit. Not you, not your child, and especially not your child’s teacher. Humans are designed for real-deal interaction, not this computer stuff. Nevertheless, those aggravating buzzwords of 2020/21 keep rearing their ugly heads – these times are “unprecedented” so “be prepared to pivot”! We must give each other grace. Teachers are working extended hours and ingesting record amounts of caffeine in an attempt to make online learning as seamless as possible. Caregivers are juggling online classroom meetings, arranging childcare, and attempting to complete their own work tasks. The house is a disaster, and some days, nobody gets out of their pajama bottoms. Be kind. Soon enough we’ll all get back to those good old “precedented” times, and online learning will be a distant memory. Until then…help is here! So before you try uploading that next activity to Seesaw, let’s chat about what you can do to simplify things at home.
You are the coach. Simply provide encouragement, model organizational strategies, and monitor progress. Do not expect perfection. We’re all outside of our comfort zones.
Set-up a “Zoom Zone” within your home. This space should be well-lit, quiet, and stocked with necessary supplies. Remove any distracting object that your child can be tempted to wave in front of the camera during online meetings (yes, that includes pets!).
Give Choices: This is especially relevant with younger children. As with any non-preferred task, the more a child feels in control of the situation, the more successful he/she will be. “Would you like to start with this Math activity, or your spelling words?”
Ensure your child takes necessary “brain breaks” that always involve movement. The frequency of these breaks depends on both age and individual need – usually about 3-5 minutes of work time per year of a child’s age. For example, if your child is 8 years old, this is about a half hour of sustained work. Let your child set the timer. This promotes a feeling of independence and ownership over his/her learning. When it’s time for a break, get a breath of fresh air. This will help to promote oxygen flow through the blood and increase serotonin levels. Serotonin = happy feelings! On the chance there is a Saskatchewan spring snowstorm in the works, get your moves flowing with a dance break from www.gonoodle.com.
Don’t be shy. Communicate with you child’s teacher and let him/her know how things are going at home. If you cannot finish the assigned work or make a meeting time, just a simple heads-up is helpful. Teachers love their students. They understand that there will be refusals, and even colossal meltdowns. They are happy to answer questions and squeeze in a one-on-one conversation with a student when necessary. EVERYONE is trying to navigate this uncharted territory.
Use positive reinforcement for task completion – whether this is verbal praise, a token system, or a little treat!
Hang in there, Coach! You’ve got this!
Written by Educational Strategist/Tutor with Wildflowers, Kimberly Desautels