So your school has announced that they will make part of the school week remote learning, and they may have even provided a daily schedule. This means your school schedule is set, right? Not exactly. If you want to give your students the best possible experience (especially the youngest students) you’ll need to plan each weekday around their online schooling schedule.
What Typically Happens
A typical remote learning day probably looks like this: one online meeting around 9, another at 11, and then a third in the afternoon. The child most likely will find a way to occupy their time up until around 8:45 and then log in. After that meeting, they will complete any assigned work. Sometimes that will last until 11 and other times they will rush through it, and find some other type of recreational activity to until 11. When that is complete, they will have their lunch, perhaps play outside and then return at some point for the afternoon session. When this session is over, they hurry through homework and the school day is over. It typically feels a little chaotic, rushed and not incredibly productive. Everyone is simply happy to have made it through the day.
What Should Happen
Rather than making children just log into their school sessions, approach the entire day with structure and a purpose. Here are some great ways to get started!
Create a Morning Routine – Eliminate that chaotic feeling while your children rush to log in to their first class. Establish a wake-up time and breakfast time while setting milestones for morning activities.
Officially Start and End the Day – Start your family’s day with the pledge of allegiance, prayer, meditation time, goal sharing or other activity that officially starts the day. Conclude the school day with a similar activity. This will make the day feel more defined and productive and will also make down time more relaxing and enjoyable.
Have A Plan to Allocate Open Time – Kids are geniuses when it comes to wasting time. A few minutes on TV or TikTok can quickly turn into hours that are wasted. Actively schedule and plan time for other activities that they enjoy such as drawing, music, yoga, dance and more.
Give Lunch a Specific Beginning and Ending Time – Just like when they are at school, lunch should have a specific beginning time and end time. It can be a time to wind down and relax, but it should not stretch out into an activity that claims time that can be used for other things.
Set Screen Time Limits – TV’s, phones, tablets and laptops seem like a great way to keep kids occupied, but this often becomes mindless entertainment. Setting time limits for screen time on any devices build healthy habits for both parents and children.
Designate Specific Reading Times – Fill your child’s world with books! Trade with other families (books can be easily sanitized), look for online used book stores, check with your local church, etc. Give your children the goal of reading for a certain number of minutes each day, and keep track with a simple chart. Even if they are not reading yet, designate a time that is dedicated to looking through books.
Add Some Specific Weekly or Monthly Variation – Add a trip to the park, a walk around the block, a phone call to a grandparent; the options are endless. Schedule these for particular times for the week or month. Doing so maintains the structure of your weekday schedule while breaking up the monotony.
Oops – We Got Off Schedule! What to Do – If you deviate from the schedule, plan to make up the time. Imagine that you have a pediatrician visit. What happens to the activities that were planned for the day? In most remote learning situations those become lost, “Oh, well” moments. Wrong! If you missed reading time, plan to make it up later in the day or at specific time later in the week.
Remember, having a schedule or rhythm to the day makes children feel grounded, safe, and secure.
Ready to jump into virtual school? Check out our selection of remote learning essentials to create the workspace your child needs here.