By Jennifer Burkart
Success will look very different from family to family. The variables of parent work load, connectivity, and child engagement and stamina are as varied as a snowflake. Try not to compare yourself to others. And please, don’t judge others. That being said, a few ideas that might help.
Create a Routine Children thrive on routines, schedules and rituals — especially when they are reinforced in an engaging way. If the school doesn’t set up a specific schedule, set your own daily schedule with breaks, songs, snacks, etc.
Set up a Learning Space When possible, organizing a space for online learning may help support this routine and structure. That being said, it is essential to stay flexible. Children may prefer to read on the couch, sprawl out on the floor when they draw or sit on the front porch for some fresh air.
Recognize Stamina You don’t begin a marathon running 26.2 miles. We build up to developing our stamina over time. When your child begins online learning, it is important to be attuned to their attention span. It’s OK to leave an online meeting and make it your goal to stay a few minutes longer the next time. Taking breaks, especially outside, can reset their entire day.
Work with Your Strengths Distance learning does not need to all stem from what is pushed out from your school via a device. Each and every one of us has gifts, talents and interests that we can share with our children. Love to run? Maybe your child wants to do the first time around the block with you. Baking, singing, dancing, building, painting, sewing or plumbing together gives your child more chances to learn. This is an amazing opportunity to share the world with our littles.
Believe in Yourself and Believe in Your Child The field of education is unanimous on very few things but this, if you believe in yourself AND believe in your child, great things will transpire. This may seem woo-woo, but it’s backed by solid research and has the single most impactful effect size. No more tips, just that. We got this.
Jennifer Burkart is an Instructional Specialist in the Beaverton School District, Adjunct Professor for Lewis & Clark College & Founder of PDX Literacy Consultants. In her work, she coordinates PreK-2 curriculum and instruction, specializes in effective reading intervention systems and designs staff development experiences. When not on a Zoom call, she can be found surfing, hiking, rafting or camping around the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. Best reached at firstname.lastname@example.org