As students begin a new adventure of remote learning at home, it can be helpful to have some guidelines and strategies in place to ensure they’re set up for success. Below are five tips from academic support teachers at The Ellis School to help you and your family navigate distance learning. Keep in mind that this shift to remote learning is new for everyone involved and there will be an adjustment period. Give yourself and your child grace in the wake of this new normal and refer to these helpful tips when you need additional ideas or support.
1. Create a Workspace That Facilitates Online Learning Success
Whether it’s a spot on the dining room table or a makeshift desk in their room, setting your child up with a designated workspace will help them get their work done. Find a flat surface, clear it off, and equip the space with the necessary supplies, but also suggest your child make the space their own by adding art or photos to make it even more welcoming. When class is in session, encourage your child to wear headphones to tune into the instruction and block out the background noise. And if your child is old enough to have a phone, suggest they leave it in another room while they work. The fewer distractions, the better!
2. Have Accountability Checkpoints
The traditional school schedule is difficult to replicate at home, so build in some checkpoints throughout the day to make sure your child is on track. Depending on their age, encourage your child to estimate the amount of time it will take for them to complete an assignment and then have them designate a time to get said assignment done. Be sure to prioritize breaks (grab a snack, go for a walk, play with your pet) so they don’t burn out.
3. Find Ways to Collaborate
Traditionally, school is a place where socialization and collaboration are etched into every class period. When you’re learning at home, fostering that same sense of community should remain a priority so your child can continue to learn with and from their classmates. Participate in online meetings, set up virtual play dates if possible, and encourage your child to reach out to their peers so they can tap them as resources and study partners when they need help.
4. Speak Up When Something Isn’t Working
If your child is old enough to advocate for themselves, advise them to reach out to their teachers for support if they’re struggling with a concept or assignment. If they're in elementary school and need your help, if possible contact their teacher and let them know your child is having a difficult time. This is uncharted territory for both students and teachers, so many teachers are offering office hours or additional help behind-the-scenes to ensure their students stay on track. While some students may grow to love online learning, others may have a harder time acclimating to this format—and that’s okay!
5. Consider Different Learning Styles
If your child learns best using visual formats, a helpful tip for them is to write notes by hand and print out the necessary documents for an assignment instead of relying on their screen for everything. If they learn best by listening, encourage them to build time into their schedule to play and replay audio- and video-based course content as needed. Another helpful tip is to ask your child to determine when they feel most productive. In the morning, after lunch, or later in the day? This is the time you should remind your child to complete their most taxing tasks.
Distance learning isn’t just for students. Our Enrollment Management team is working remotely as well, and they’re ready to connect by phone or video conference to answer your questions about admission and Tailored Tuition; tell you all about our students, teachers, and programs just as they would on a campus tour; and help you think through how to explore a new school for your daughter during this unusual time. We hope you will join us for some remote learning about everything that makes Ellis an extraordinary school community.