Stay-at-home orders and social distancing can be tough for everybody, but it’s especially hard on your kids! Every learner is different, and it is so important -now more than ever- that students are provided the best opportunity to learn. By designing and providing your student(s) an at-home distance learning schedule for them to follow, you’re only improving their productivity and therefore their success rate. This article will provide you with a few questions you should be asking while creating your child’s digital learning schedule.
What Time Does Your Student Tend to Wake Up?
Are they an early riser or do they like to sleep in? Although your child might be forced to get up early to go to school, being in the physical building can play a huge role in their productivity. If they naturally tend to sleep in, let them wake up a little later and start their schedule then. If they are, in fact, an early riser then maybe they can start their school day a tad earlier.
How Does Your Student’s Daily Routine Normally Go? And Can We Mirror This In Their Distance Learning Schedule?
It’s nice to have flexibility now that we’re home, but generally, a routine of some sort is created because it is what helps us feel our best. For example, when I used to go to work every day at the school building I had a set schedule; I woke up early, went to the school to workout, showered and got ready for the day in my office, and ate breakfast as I welcomed students at the door. I’ve been allowing myself to sleep in at home, however, I’m still working out and showering to start my school day. I first check in to my e-mail and student work while eating breakfast… it’s what helps me feel ready for my day.
With this being said, try to keep them on a regular sleep schedule during the school week. This will definitely help to keep their normal school-day schedule as regular as possible. This will only help to increase your students during the ‘school day’.
When Does Your Student Have Live Lessons or Meetings?
Does your child have a specific time they must be present for a google meet or zoom lesson? If this is the case – put these times into their schedule first and fill the rest around it. If your student has simply been provided work to complete on their own, switch up when they work on each class throughout the week.
How Long Should My Student be Working Each Day?
Younger students will inevitably be doing less work per day than students in older grades. This is another reason why a distance learning schedule is so important – it will really help us stay on track with the times our students should be completing work. The school district that I work for has suggested these time frames for our kiddos. Follow this guideline to make sure your student isn’t under or overworking themselves.
What Time Does Your Student Become Hungry?
All school-aged children should eat breakfast and lunch at some point in their school day. Make sure this is on their schedule so it doesn’t get overlooked. Properly fueling your body means properly fueling your brain! Snacks are also encouraged throughout the school day and beyond. Keep a healthy snack or two at their working space so they can fuel themselves without having to even get up. Some of my favorite healthy snacks to munch on while grading/creating lessons are clementines, carrots and hummus, and protein/granola bars. It’s important your student isn’t running on empty or lacking nutrients.
When Does Your Student Become Antsy?
The schedule might change with time and experience. If your student is losing focus around the same time every day, add a brain break in there. You can tie a special area project in at this time if it’s something they enjoy. For example, if your kiddo loves art then schedule this as their art time. Or, if they’re big into computers, you could consider signing them up for this free code camp to give them some extra training beyond school and, potentially, set them on the path to their future career. By scheduling in something you know they enjoy, they’ll be taking a break from the school work they might be less interested in but they will still be getting work done. If that’s not working take a break from working entirely; take 30-45 minutes to go outside and get some fresh air if possible or do whatever it is that will help your child be more successful in their next half of the day.
Does Your State Require Physical Education?
Physical activity is key. There are so many amazing benefits of Physical Education – exercise releases endorphins which help an individual to feel good. In this time of social distancing, good feelings are hard to come by. With that being said, you should try and go above and beyond the required Phys Ed time or activity when possible. Work physical activity into the schedule, a 15-minute walk/jog here, 20 minutes of Zumba there, maybe a little yoga, or team sports if that’s a possibility at your house.
I don’t say this just because I am a Phys Ed teacher, I say this because I am hyperaware of the benefits of moving on young brains and bodies. Your student should be receiving 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous Physical Activity a day – more on that can be found on my teacher YouTube channel where I also share secondary-level appropriate workouts and playlists. Another great way to get outside and active would be to find a nearby local or National Park that’s open and explore!
Does Your Student Miss Their Social Interactions?
Schedule face time chats with their friends during lunch, or to work together on similar work. This will definitely boost morale and help your student to feel a sense of normalcy – if they were at school they would be talking to friends while completing work and eating lunch anyways. Do you live near some friends? Maybe you can go for a socially distanced walk, or play ball with clean hands from a distance. These little things can make a massive difference.
If your student is missing a particular teacher, reach out to them. I’ve contacted students whom I know are struggling with social distancing to offer up google meet times. 10 minutes of catching up, face to face, albeit digital, can go a really long way. Your child’s educators would love to help! I know my school counselor and social worker have been hosting short google meets for groups of friends to catch up and chat about their social distancing experience in their presence; reach out to someone and ask for guidance!
Is Your District Doing Any Fun Community Building?
I know my district is doing different themes each day/week and calling them spirit weeks. Families can send in their photos to be shared on our district pages. This gives the kiddos something to look forward to each day – make time in their schedule to be creative in whatever topic their school has chosen for the day/week.
One of my favorite mama’s to follow on Instagram had an AWESOME space-themed day!
If their district isn’t on this train, create a theme for the week in your home! It will be fun for all. You could do a Disney-themed week, intergalactic, international, or anything else you can think of. Watch a movie that falls into the theme on one night, try and cook a meal or treat that matches the theme on another, or create a craft, whatever you do, make some fun out it! It’ll be a welcome fun distraction for all parties.
Is Your Student An Athlete Who’s Missing Their Spring Season?
This is tough. I am a teacher and a coach and I’m missing my athletes hard right now… I can’t even fathom what they’re feeling missing an entire season of their High School Athletic career. If this is true for your student, be sure to schedule time in their day to dedicate to their craft. Whether they play a sport, an instrument, maybe they’re a member of the drama club or had a big technology competition coming. Make time for those things each day. If not for anything else, it will help them realize that you feel for them.
This time can include practice. I’ve been sending my runners (I coach Track and Field) workouts – some of which can be found on my YouTube channel linked above. The coaches have held google meets so everyone could see and talk with one another. Other teams in my district have created fun video compilations of each athlete completing a skill from their sport. The possibilities are truly endless and can really boost morale!
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel during digital learning. Chances are, your child’s teacher is doing the legwork and they’re simply hoping for your support. Create a distance learning schedule for your student and do your best to stick to it. If you’re looking for resources, I’ve included a chart that might help you out.
Perfect Distance Learning Schedule Resources
|K-12||Virtual Field Trips||Google Expeditions|
|K-12||Music||Chrome Music Lab|
|K-12||Music||Classics For Kids|
|Primary||Phys Ed||Cosmic Yoga|
|Primary||Phys Ed||Go Noodle|
|Primary||Social Studies||PBS Kids|
|Primary||All Subjects||Mr. Nussbaum|
|Seconday||Phys Ed||Yoga with Adriene|
|Secondary||Phys Ed||Live Love Party Zumba|
|Secondary||Social Studies||National Geographic|