Transitioning to online learning can be quite an adjustment for both kids and parents. As we venture into this uncharted territory, know that you don’t have to do this perfectly. This is an unusual situation; do the best you can, and your child will be perfectly fine. Here are a few tips for online learning in elementary school and making this work for your family.
Read more about our transition to online classes: HLS Online Learning Schedule and Details
7 Tips for Online Learning in Elementary School
1. Schedule your day
Write out a schedule to follow during the day. Set aside dedicated study times to work on homework and the hour your kid has class on Zoom.
Make time to do something active with your child, whether it’s playing ball in the backyard, walking or riding bikes around the block, or doing yoga or a fun fitness video indoors. Remember that kids get recess every day at school, so give them a way to get out some energy at home!
Aside from assigned homework, plan extra activities, either digitally with apps like Duolingo (and other Spanish language learning apps) and Education.com, or without electronics. Get your children involved in the science of the kitchen. Take a virtual field trip. Do some of the experiments in the science books. Or write a story with these tips from Kate DiCamillo.
2. Write down goals for the day
Mrs. Carnoali has fifth and sixth graders write down their goals each day as part of their blogging assignment. This can help them stay on track and stay engaged with their classwork.
For younger kids, sticking with a regular schedule will help them stay on track—it’s not as necessary to set specific goals as consistency is more important.
3. Set up a dedicated study area
Set up a quiet designated work area for your child. Ideally, it won’t be in the main traffic area of your house, especially if you have other kids at home. Many students will need a parent’s guidance, so don’t set up the study area in a bedroom where your child is alone. If your child is younger, be in the same room as them to ensure they know what’s going on and are staying focused on the teacher.
Have a computer set up at the right height for your kid so they can see their teacher and the teacher can see them. Make sure your child has their homework or books nearby in case they are discussed in class.
Set aside a part of each day for reading. Read books together—print books, audiobooks, ebooks on an ereading device. Read to younger kids and have them practice their reading, too. Read together as a family and then talk about the story.
Fifth and sixth grade will have a novel unit for which they will be responsible. Discuss and come up with a creative project for them to do in response to the novel.
5. Use earbuds for older kids
Have a pair of earbuds ready for older kids’ classes on Zoom, preferably ones with a microphone. Earbuds improve the sound and audio quality on Zoom and let the other people in your home concentrate on their work without being distracted.
6. Encourage older kids to take notes
It can be tough to stay engaged sometimes when kids are watching class lessons on the computer. Writing down notes can be a helpful way to remember information better and stay engaged with the virtual class. Plus, kids can look back at their notes after class is over and they’re working on their homework.
For younger kids, consider taking notes on the class in case your child has questions after the class time. To help your little ones remember what the teacher talked about, listen along with the lesson, and then talk to your kid about it after class. Ask them questions about what they learned. Repeating and explaining the info back to you helps kids process it and remember it better.
7. Ask the teacher questions!
Fifth and sixth graders can text Mrs. C with questions throughout the day and use Kidblog. Mrs. C usually sends out Reminds to her class as she thinks of things throughout the day.
Mrs. Montoya, Miss Pope, and Mrs. Stutzman use both text and Remind to communicate with parents. Mrs. Montoya just set up a new blog site for her students as well.
If you have questions about your kid’s assignments or activities, text or call your child’s teacher! Parent-teacher communication is more important than ever as we don’t have those opportunities for face-to-face conversations each day at school. Teachers are more than happy to answer questions and help you navigate this new world of online learning in elementary school.