Help Kids Prepare For An Online Semester This Fall
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Fall School Year Tips For Home Bound Students

Although heavily encouraged to open by the executive branch of the United States government, school superintendents from across the country share a common belief that it is simply not safe to reopen their schools at this point, as the coronavirus continues to spread at high rates, and no vaccine is expected for many months. Some schools are conducting their education practices with a compromise that sends a fraction (generally 1/5th) of the students to the classroom one day per week so they can get the necessary extra help that is easier in one-on-one settings while spending the other four days in the now-familiar online classroom setting.

A handful of school districts are completely opening, but for those students, gaining a competitive edge for learning will probably be the least of their problems for a while, as they navigate a highly regulated, and very novel school environment that does, indeed, have a constant fear in the air, with the coronavirus still heavily reported in the news and very much still affecting people the same way it was at the start of school closures in March.

No matter what route your local education leadership organizations choose, some form of online learning will almost certainly be involved, and here are 5 tips to help kids be better prepared for another online semester.

1. Make It A School Day

It may seem silly on the surface to think about going through a morning routine to “get ready” to sit in your room and look at a computer monitor, but it’s actually quite an effective means for helping students stay focused [1] and achieve at high levels. Encourage your youngsters to get up, take a shower, eat some breakfast, and even get dressed to impress. This gets the mind and body “ready to go” much better than turning off an alarm and on a computer in one motion.

 2. Schedule Fun, Too

As kids’ schedules now revolve, once again, around a computer screen, it’s important to make sure that the computer screen isn’t only for school. Talking to other parents and setting up virtual hangouts with their students can help the psyche stay high, as well as interest levels in their computer-based learning [2]. There are plenty of online versions of games that can be played via screen sharing technology…and good ol’ video games with chat features certainly suffice as fun, too.

3. Mute Watch!

Though a minor step(s) throughout the school day, a student can save themselves a lot of potential embarrassment by practicing their mute button prowess and ensuring they know to check that it’s off before doing anything that will make noise the entire group can hear. Embarrassment can lead to anxiety, and anxiety can lead to massive drops in focus and determination, so make sure to help your kids set themselves up for success.

4. Schedule Time Away From The Screen

A great way to break up the school day is by ensuring time away from the screen for an outdoor recess. Recess can be effective at getting your child ready to sit and focus in front of the screen for the remainder of the day.

More than ever, it is important to step away from technology and unplug for a couple of hours. Take a family hike or play outside to release some energy. Encouraging creative endeavors such as a home art class, music lessons, or writing can be therapeutic for your child and hone in talents away from the harming blue light of a computer screen.

5. Prepare For Mishaps

Anytime technology becomes a must-have for any form of communication, the odds of something going wrong with said technology seem to multiply by 100. Though probably not true, that same “oh no” mindset should be kept at bay when (most likely, if) anything goes wrong with connectivity in the digital classroom. Teachers are recording their online lessons now, so staying calm, fixing the issue, jumping back in whenever possible, and reaching out to teachers after the class session, should not be anything worth worrying about!

As the world continues to move toward a more remote workplace setup, these online classes are molding practices found in the modern workplace, so giving your kids tips an pointers that may not be directly related to the class they are in, can help them get an edge on the next chapter, just as these tips mentioned here will help them get an edge on the digital classroom setting.

References:

[1] The Shift to Remote Learning: The Human Element

[2] Applying Best Practice Online Learning, Teaching, and Support to Intensive Online Environments: An Integrative Review

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