Most Northeast Ohio schools have unveiled reopening plans that include some form of remote learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some students are starting their first nine weeks online, while others are returning to a hybrid in-person and online curriculum. Parents and kids already experienced online learning last school quarter, but no one had time to prepare.
With school almost here in this new environment, Jeanette Brossmann, communication studies department chair and professor at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, shares how parents can create an at-home, kid-friendly learning space.
Dedicate one area in the home to your child’s learning
Choosing a dedicated space for your child to work gets tricky. Often, parents have children work at the kitchen table; however, when it’s meal time the kids have to move the work out the way. It’s better to find an area that doesn’t have to be used for multiple purposes. This way their materials are always in one place and are not disrupted by the family. To maximize your child’s focus, select a workspace located in an area with minimal distractions. Also, stay away from the TV, video games and toys. Your child will learn more quickly and effectively in a distraction-free zone.
Get them in the back-to-school mindset
Find or buy back-to school supplies off the list, even if your family will be doing school at home, to help get into the “normal” school mindset. Also, Brossmann says let your child make the workspace creative and cool. Keep the area stocked with bottled water, paper, pencils, crayons, highlighters, erasers and so on. It’ll be fun and your kid will take personal pride in the space. Don’t forget to have your student create, design and post a daily work schedule that also includes break times.Teach your kid that keeping the workspace organized will save time. Organization eliminates wasting time looking for items needed. Every time your child gets up to look for an item, it can break a train of thought that might have led to understanding an idea or concept.
Position the workspace in an area where you can monitor your child.
Designate a space that allows you to clearly see that your child is on task rather than being drawn into activities instead of television or their smart devices. Sure you can reduce the noise distractions if your child is working in the bedroom with the door closed, but you can’t easily check on him or her.
Get Kids’ Tech Straight
In the new online learning environment, most kids will need some basics besides pen and paper. For starters, they’ll need a laptop, tablet or computer that allows them to learn easily with any other distractions. Here are some ways to set up for back-to-school technology.
Family Controls — Before the school year begins, check your family controls on the smart device or through your internet provider. Are there ways to limit distractions during school hours? For example, new Apple products have a screentime monitor built-in. Also, look for the Google Chrome Screentime Extension app or the Google Family Link app to monitor screentime on those devices. Some internet providers help parents monitor devices with services like Verizon Smart Family.
Internet Providers — For those seeking internet access, providers like Cox have a Connect2Compete program through September 30 for the first two months free and $9.95 per month access for those who qualify. AT&T and other internet providers also offer low-cost options.
Online Classrooms — Most schools use Google Classroom or other online learning applications. As schools introduce their plans for the school year, have the kids get an early start on how to use the technology by logging in to all their school accounts. For parents, check out the short video tutorials on Google Classroom for Parents on YouTube.com, if that’s the preferred method for their school.
Find internet access options and other helpful learning links at education.ohio.gov/topics/student-supports/coronavirus.