Well, it's official: distance learning is really happening this school year for most families. Maybe it's not quite what you wanted or expected, but it is coming soon. Here are some tips to help you stay balanced, so you can thrive!
Set Up Your Home Classroom
Before the pandemic, your child was most likely going to school in a preschool, elementary, middle, or high school classroom. That environment was set-up to support learning. When your child entered that space, it sent a clear message that learning would take place there. That is what you are trying to replicate at home.
Find a space in your home that is quiet, has limited visual distractions, is organized, & has natural light if possible. A home office, dining room, basement, or a playroom are some common areas where I have helped clients’ set-up their home classrooms. But, the options are endless. If you will be working from home, you may need to set up a work station for yourself in the same area to help your child stay on task & to answer questions as they arise.
Consistency is key with children, so try to have school in your home classroom every day to help them understand that they need to follow your school rules when they are there.
Follow a Daily Schedule
Children thrive on routine & structure! Try to establish a daily morning routine to set your child up for success at school. Wake at the same time, eat at the same time, complete self-care at the same time, then enter your home classroom at the same time each day.
Children are used to following daily schedules at school. It helps them relax & get ready to learn when they know what is expected of them & they know what will happen next. Most adults feel more focused when they follow a schedule as well, so it can be good for both of you!
You child’s teacher will most likely set the daily school schedule or you may need to take on that responsibility. You will learn this during the first week or two of school. Either way, print out a copy of the schedule & go over it with your child at the beginning of the school day, so they know what will be happening.
Take Movement Breaks Throughout the Day
Everyone needs movement in order to focus & stay healthy. According to the CDC, incorporating movement into your child’s school day may also help reduce disruptive behavior, increase motivation, & improve academic performance. Plus, it adds some fun, variety to your day.
Some movement ideas for your home classroom space are yoga, jumping jacks, jogging in place, jumping on a mini trampoline, push-ups, sit-ups, or dancing. During recess & PE you can go for a bike ride, walk, hike, play soccer, run, or set-up an obstacle course. This movement will help you unwind & boost your energy as well, so have some fun together!
Keep All Your Passwords Together
There are so many passwords that you will need to keep track of for distance learning! There will likely be a password for your child’s electronic device, a password for the learning platform, a password for each learning app, a password for Google Classrooms, etc.
It will save you so much time if you keep all usernames & passwords in one place. If you like paper, write them down & hang them on the wall in your home classroom. If you like technology, download a password app like, LastPass, & enter in all of your usernames & passwords there. Believe me, the last thing you want to be doing is searching for passwords when your child is supposed to be in a virtual meeting with their teacher & peers!
Be Kind to Yourself
The most important piece of advice that I can give you, is to be kind to yourself. This is a strange time & distance learning may be new for you. Heck, it’s new for me too! Be patient with yourself, speak kindly to yourself, & make sure you schedule some time to care for yourself. It can be challenging to keep track of all the things.
I will be on this journey with you. I will post tips for you on my Facebook & Instagram pages as the year unfolds. If you need help setting up your home classroom, I offer Distance Learning Home Organization Sessions. We can do this together!
Sarah Larsen helps people experience the freedom that comes with having an organized home & life.