So you’ve decided you will be going the distance learning route but now, you need to know how to prepare for distance learning this back to school season. I mean it’s something we never anticipated so of course we need to figure this out together.
So after a few months of practice ourselves, discussing my ideas with my 7-year old son (yup, he helped me with these), and doing research of my own… I have laid out all the tips below.
These tips on how to prepare for distance learning are ones you can start doing right away so that you can set up your kids for a successful school semester.
[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
What is distance learning?
But before we go onto the tips, let’s cover our extreme basics to make sure we’re all on the same page about what distance learning is. So what exactly is distance learning… is it the same as online classes?
The answer is no. Here’s how Britannica Encyclopedia explains distance learning: “form of education in which the main elements include physical separation of teachers and students during instruction and the use of various technologies to facilitate communication.”
In short, distance learning means there is absolutely no in-person interaction between the students and teachers. Online classes are sometimes a hybrid model with the potential possibility of having some sort of in-person interaction.
But thanks to COVID, distance learning seems to the the primary method of teaching this fall. So let’s help you and your kids prepare for this huge change with these tips below.
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How To Prepare Your Child for Distance Learning
Like I said, this is going to be quite a big change for us all. So let’s get a head start and start preparing for the fall semester a bit early. We weren’t this fortunate back in March, but we can take what we learned and have a much better fresh start to the semester.
So here are ways on how to prepare your child for distance learning.
Explain the situation to them
Kids like to know what’s going on. So if your kids are in school, it means they are old enough to learn and understand what is going on. I’m usually very honest with my son and although he asks a lot of questions, he understands the situation.
So once you’ve 100% decided that distance learning will be your way to go, sit them down and explain it to your children. They will appreciate you letting them know now instead of it being a surprise the week before school starts.
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Setup a working station
To help set them up for success. it’s important that they have their own working station. By having one, it’ll somewhat help replicate what they have in school. It’s also their own space and once they’re in it, it means it’s time to focus on school.
Their working station can be something as simple as a spot on the dining room table or even their own kid desk. Currently, my son has been using the far end of the dining room table when doing his work.
However, we are strongly considering grabbing this Adjustable Wooden Kid Desk here since distance learning will now be a long-term thing for us. We believe it will help him take more responsibility and ownership during school as he’ll have a desk area to call his own.
Test out all the tech
While it’s still summer, it would be a good idea to make sure all the laptops or tablets are working. This way, you can fix anything that needs to be fixed ahead of time so you’re not worrying about it when the demand is much higher.
And if you haven’t grabbed your new tech for the year yet, you can visit the Best Buy Back-to-School deals here to see what’s on sale. Though I will say that electronics have been low on stock due to all the unexpected distance learning. So you may have to check back frequently and make sure you do so wayy before the school year starts.
Start doing workbooks now
Yup, what better way to prepare for distance learning than by practicing it ahead of time. Plus I’m a strong believer that kids should still do educational work throughout the summer. No not everyday or for multiple hours a day, but enough to keep their young brains learning.
So for a few hours a week, sit your child down at their designated workstation and assign them some workbook pages to complete. Below are some of our favorite workbooks for kids that we use over the summer. It helps him stay away from the screens and keeps his brain learning even during the break.
Practice their reading
Similarly to the above, it’s important for children to continue practicing their reading. But in this case, it’s for a slightly different reason than you think.
Yes, it’s to keep our little munchkins smart but it’ll also help them be able to read their own assignments. So whenever distance learning has started, you won’t have to continuously go over to read them the instructions every 30 minutes.
By improving their reading skills over the summer, it’ll not only be helping them but helping you as well!
Related Post: Tips to Start Reading with Your Children
Practice their typing skills
Once again, it’s all about trying to make things as easy as possible for when distance learning starts. So another thing we have our son doing over the summer is practicing his typing skills. Thankfully, his school had recommended Typing Club for Juniors and is the site we’ve been using.
This will again, not only improve their typing skills but it may actually help them navigate through their distance learning a bit quicker. Another perk is the fact that your kids may feel like “big kids” when they type (especially if they watch you work and type all the time).
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Create a plan and schedule
And lastly, create a plan and schedule out the daily routine for your kids. They LOVE to know the “plan” and what’s going to happen every single hour from now. So to avoid being unprepared when the “what do I do next?” or “what now?’ questions come along, create a plan.
In this plan / schedule, make sure you include in breaks for your kids and yourself. I highly recommend you take a few minutes to spend with them during these breaks if you will be with them at home. But no, not to check their work, nope. Just be with them, play with them or read to them for 5-10 minutes.
Trust me, you’ll both feel much better and refreshed after spending those few minutes together before getting back to work.
How To Prepare Yourself for Distance Learning
If you plan on being home with your children while they do their distance learning, there are some things you might want to do yourself to help you prepare as well.
And if you’re a working mama like me, then you definitely want to make sure that you prepare as much as you can. Working from home and helping your children with their distance learning will definitely be a challenge for us all.
So here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for distance learning.
Brain dump and prepare ahead of time
Similarly to the above, you want to be as prepared as possible. But something that may help you come up with a solid schedule is to brain dump your thoughts into a journal. If you’ve never heard about this before, you can head over to this how to brain dump post here.
But essentially, this is a way to get all your thoughts out at the beginning of the each month. Trust me, I’ve been doing this and its truly a huge help and helps me start out the month in a productive way.
Understand patience will be needed
Yup, lots of patience will be required as you all go through this next challenging phase. So this summer, prepare yourself for what’s to come. Understand that this is something new for them just like it is for you too.
It will be frustrating and it will not be easy. Just remember to be there for them. There will likely be lots of trial and error involved so you will need to have patience for that as well. But don’t worry, you’ll find your routine soon enough.
Take care of yourself throughout the process
Like I said, it’s not going to be easy but as long as our babies are healthy, it’ll be worth it. But make sure you take care of yourself along the way as well. Adding distance learning to your already long list of things to do could definitely take a toll on you.
But you don’t have to let it. Don’t get to the working mom burnout phase. Instead, prevent it by practicing self care a few times a week. Because hey, how can you truly be there and care for your family in the way you really want without caring for yourself first?
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Feeling More Prepared Mama?
I sure do hope so! I hope these tips on how to prepare for distance learning will make a positive impact for your family this fall. But if you feel like you’re still needing a bit more advice, I’m all ears!
So what are your thoughts on this whole distance learning situation? Did these tips or have any of your own I should add to this list? Drop a comment below and let me know!
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