Preparing for a Virtual School Year in 3 Easy Steps
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The news that Durham Public Schools (DPS)- and many others- will be starting the school year virtually, left many of us relieved, many of us stressed- and most of us a confusing mixture of both! Never fear, we’ve gathered expert tips on how to prepare yourself and your children for the virtual learning ahead. Breathe and remember- you ARE a SUPER PARENT!
Step One: Process Emotions
Process your emotions about the new school year being virtual.
Let your children process their emotions about virtual learning.
Step Two: Make a Family Plan
Take time to reflect on last semester.
Take advantage of whatever tools and resources your school and school district are offering.
Plan for what you can.
Try to make a space for learning.
Gather the necessary school supplies for your children.
- A computer: DPS and many other schools are providing Chromebooks for each student. It will be distributed by your school, so reach out to them if you haven’t heard about when to pick them up.
- Internet access: DPS and many other schools will be providing Hot Spots to families who need help with maintaining Internet at home. Ask your child’s school about this.
- Headphones: If you have several kids learning at home and not a lot of space, you might want to consider getting each of them a set of headphones so they can listen to their classes and participate in Zoom discussions without distracting your other children.
Step Three: Maintain Communication & Emotional Support
Communicate with your child’s teachers.
Just because classes will be virtual, doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to your child’s teacher to check on how your youngster is doing – it’s actually even more important than ever that you develop good communication with your student’s teachers to support your child’s virtual learning. Make sure you are aware of how your child’s teacher(s) plan to communicate with you. Have them share your student’s course calendar and any upcoming tests and projects, especially the ones that require advanced preparation.
Maintain a separation of school, homework, and fun time.
If you are working from home, you know the importance of separating work and home space. Kids who sit in the same spot all day for school may need some variety as they transition from ‘school time’ to ‘homework time’ and then to reading or other recreational activities. Take some time with your student(s) to create a list of fun, relaxing activities you can do once they are done with their school work each day (maybe even away from the screens!!) so that they can have some time to relax, have fun, and have something to look forward to. Activities that you can do as a family are always great – even 15 minutes together can make a big difference – think of it as quality versus quantity!
Don’t forget to give yourself some slack.
We all know that virtual learning isn’t going to be perfect, but it is the best option we have right now. You and your child will get through it. And remember, this nine weeks is going to be so much better than when the schools shut down suddenly in the spring. You’ve learned a lot, and the schools have had more time to plan and prepare.