7 Tips for a Successful Remote Learning Process

The 2020-21 school year has begun or is about to begin for millions of students across the United States. Many school districts are using a blended or hybrid learning model, and some are all virtual learning, at least through the first quarter or semester of the school year. Concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in crowded school buildings with poor ventilation and inadequate hygiene and sanitation mean that students will be spending a majority or even all of their instructional time at home instead of in a classroom. Education experts offer these tips for parents to get their home ready for remote learning for the upcoming school year.

1. Set Up a Dedicated Learning Space

Just like you shouldn't check your work email in your bedroom, your kids shouldn't be doing their learning in their bedrooms. If possible, set up a learning area somewhere other than your child's bedroom. This might be at the kitchen or dining room table, a corner of the living room. If this isn't possible, a small desk or table in your child's room should accommodate a Chromebook or laptop, mouse, paper and a book. Consider a small set of drawers on wheels to store writing utensils, art supplies, paper or notebooks and folders. This could be color-coded for different subjects.

2. Create a Charging Station and Storage Area for Tech

Remote learning relies on Chromebooks or laptops. These devices will need to be charged. It's a good idea to charge them overnight so they're ready for a full day of learning the next day. Consider charging devices on the dining room table overnight. This avoids a glowing light in the child's bedroom when they're trying to sleep. Set up a place to store the Chromebooks or laptops for the weekends and days off school. Keep the charging cables and adapters in this place.

3. Teach Kids Internet Safety

If you have a kindergartener, they might not be aware of how Zoom meetings work or how Google Classroom functions. Internet safety is an important part of this. You'll want to make sure that nothing in your house shows where you live. For example, many people have artwork that includes their house number, last name or other identifying details. Zoom hacks are common, and you don't want unauthorized individuals being able to see what's in your child's room.

4. Remind Kids That They're Being Recorded

Remind kids they're being recorded in Zoom meetings with their teachers and classmates. They'll need to get dressed. The area where they learn should be tidy, but it doesn't have to be perfectly clean. Anything you, your child or anyone else in the home says or does in the vicinity of the laptop or Chromebook could be recorded during a live Zoom meeting.

5. Monitor Children During Learning

Many parents are dealing with trying to work from home and monitor their child's learning. This puts you in a tough spot, and you can't do it all. When possible, check in to see how your child's doing. They should have short breaks between subjects or meetings, which is a good time to see how their day is going. Watch for unusual popups on the technology or any other devices attempting to connect to your home's Wi-Fi.

6. Keep Personal Items Out of the Learning Area

During live meetings on Zoom, other people can see into your home. Try to keep personal items out of the line of vision. Some kids have been bullied because of living in a small apartment or having a messy room or messy house. You could always hang a curtain behind your child or situate your child in front of a closed door so that other participants can't see personal items or messy areas of your house.

7. Prepare Supplies the Night Before

Mornings are hectic whether you're driving to work and school or working and learning from home. Keeping supplies organized and preparing them the night before helps prevent a morning panic. If your child will need to show an art project during their morning Zoom meeting with their art teacher, have it ready by their learning area. Once a week, check to make sure that your child has enough supplies. Keep the IT help desk number on hand in case you have any problems with Chromebooks or laptops provided by your child's school.

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