8 Ways Parents Can Help Children During COVID-19 Distance Learning

By Dave Janosz, on March 15th, 2020

1. Get to know the “how” – Get to know how your school is doing their distance learning. Reread messages from the school and get to know the structures for learning and support. Many schools are online, many are sending paper home, many are mixed. Be responsible to know what’s been made available and how it’s structured. Expect to see different things than you are used to seeing in terms of how school is now happening.

2. Organize home workspace for learning – Give quiet comfortable space and privacy, just as you do for homework, but also recognize this is very different from homework. Dedicate each child if you have more than one affected his or her own workspace. No older or younger siblings if possible, no pets.

3. Know how they are using tech – If technology is involved, make sure they stay on task. If you don’t have enough computers in the house and more of your kids need to use a shared computer, communicate this with the school and also check to see if the school is making provisions to issue tech during this time. Monitor but trust your children in doing their work. Continue to use parental controls if you are used to using them, but don’t feel the need to implement new controls.

4. Check in about workload – Be prepared for changing workloads as teachers generally aren’t used to teaching this way. Some might give too much work for the expected time, some too little, and the tendency might be toward too much as teachers post material. Communicate with your child and your child’s teachers if you have concerns. If you have concerns about the work, approach teachers with empathy. Ask your children if they are getting breaks – not all of school is uptime everyday and kids and adolescents need time to decompress even during school time.

5. Be intimate about school – If you have to work, check in with kids at home frequently. Ask questions beyond “how is it going?”

6. Check grades – Follow grades and standards progress more closely to see if there are changes that might be unexpected. Again, communicate with your child and their teachers if you have concerns.

7. Use school based supports – Continue to rely on school supports including counselors, nurses, child study team, administrators and others.

8. Check in emotionally – Perhaps most importantly, kids will be missing the social and emotional aspect of school during this time. Be aware of this and supportive. Expect them to miss their friends and daily routine, so make sure to give them time to connect with friends virtually even if they normally aren’t allowed to use FaceTime, texting, and other apps.

Sample Daily Plan adapted from Khan Academy:

8am - 9amWake up, make your bed, eat breakfast and get ready for an awesome day! And yes, change out of PJs :)
9am - 9:40amLet’s start strong with some serious math brain training. Remember your brain is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets!Khan Academy math practice. Depending on level, one of the following courses are likely appropriate:One practice that we’ve seen teachers and students use to great effect is to start, regardless of age, on Kindergarten and then move to 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.

Course challenges and unit tests can be used to accelerate through material. If you don’t have too many gaps, you should be able to get through a previous year’s content in 1-3 hours. If you do have gaps, it may take a bit longer, but that is good! This is your chance to fill in those gaps that might otherwise hold you back in the future.

9:40am - 10amGo for walk/run. YouTube JustDance/workouts if weather is bad. Maybe 15 minutes of Yoga with Adrien?
10am - 11amReading time. Here is a list of good books for grades 6-8: http://www.ala.org/alsc/sites/ala.org.alsc/files/content/compubs/booklists/summer/alsc-2019-summer-reading-list-grades6-8cor.pdf
11am - 11:20amPhys Ed.- Walk/run outside if possible.
11:20am - 12pmWorld Language or Elective
12pm - 1pmLunch - Listen to an educational podcast! TryRadioLabIf you like science,Forever Ago if you like history, or Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girlsif you like biographies
1pm - 2pmScience and social studies. Khan Academy high school biology could be used. Do research on what a virus is and how it spreads. Keep track of the news and how the various countries are responding to the pandemic. Khan Academy resources:
2:30pm-3:30pmEnrichment/ House Chores
3:30pm-9pmrelax, go outside, work on passions, time with family.
9-10pmLights out, time to sleep!