We know Distance Learning is not always easy.

In fact, sometimes it’s downright difficult! In an effort to help families and kids finish the school year strong, we want to share these resources with you and your family.

These great tips can help your kids to stay motivated, as well as offer important information for parents about following up with their children’s assignments and behaviors.

The following information is a list of different questions provided by parents and other educators which are answered by Michelle Villa, who was a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District for many years. She is now one of the Primary Intervention Coordinators for LAUSD.

Distance Learning Tips For You & Your Family!

The children need your support; however, they need to work independently. Best to take the “fly on the wall” approach to allow your children to “productively struggle” so that they can get the most out of their learning experience. They will need to have a quiet space, if possible, and a desk or even a shoe box with their learning materials inside (whiteboard, dry erase markers and eraser, pens, pencils and paper, markers, a calculator, if allowed, and Math manipulatives – these could be counting materials, such as, beans, coins, cubes, blocks, etc.).

As stated above, kids need your help with logging on (depending on their ages and familiarity with technology). They need access to their materials, but really need to try to work on their own. It is very good for the parents to see the lessons, if possible, to be able to help the with homework and learn the various strategies for problem-solving when they are off-screen. That is a great time for you to be familiar with the strategies and allow them to try different approaches. Giving them the answers does not allow for growth and learning. However, we do use the “I do,” “We do,” “You do” strategy: This is where you model the activity by doing one or two examples, then you do a couple together, and then you gradually release them to do the problems on their own.

Be sure to log in to the learning platforms and check for notes/updates and assignments. They should all be posted each week. LAUSD uses Schoology where you can see when assignments are due, graded assignments, and communicate with teachers. Many teachers also use the Remind App, where you can communicate directly with them and ask questions. You may wish to schedule a time each week where you go on your students’ platforms and review with them. I do that with my teenager, every Sunday we look at his assignments and his grades for the past week and touch bases. Also, you can check in by attending their daily office hours, once a week.

Talk to your child, talk to your child’s teacher. Depending on your child’s level of feeling overwhelmed you may wish to ask their teacher to modify the work and expectations. Teachers can’t always tell if something is bothering your child, especially during distance learning. Some teachers have 26 students in little squares and can only see 1/2 the class at a time and must switch the page to see the rest.

Communicating with them, helping the kids organize their materials so that they are prepared for the lessons, sticking to a regular sleeping routine, having books ready and homework and assignments done on time, and letting them know if your children are experiencing any home problems, etc. We had a little girl who would not turn on her camera or microphone (we are not allowed to require them to turn on their cameras), however, we do have to give grades for participation. When we reached out to the family, we learned that they lost their rental due to the shutdowns and were living in their car. She was embarrassed to turn on her camera, but it was also loud, and she did not want her classmates to hear her outside in the street. Of course, once her teacher learned her situation, many accommodations were made.

It is very important to take brain breaks (which teachers should build in) and when they have a break (recess and lunch) get up and move. Put on some dance music, run to the corner and back, move, move, move.  The last thing they need is more screen time, such as watching TV or playing video games during their breaks. Getting a few minutes of fresh air will help them to focus for their next lessons.

Mental health. Maybe setting up some zoom play dates or zoom calls where they can see their friends and stay connected, the best they can. Again, after class, try to get out of the house and go on a family walk or play a board game in the evening.

Try to have some fun when school is out. Minimize screen time and increase family engagement. Reassure them that this too shall pass and that they will be back to school with their friends and teachers soon. Count your blessings with them. Some good things about being home: I get to be with my pets, I get to sleep in a little bit longer than usual. Make a blessing list. Set goals with rewards like going to the park, driving to the beach or the snow, spending time cooking or baking together, or doing an art project. Allow time for creativity. If your child is reading a story, act it out, change the ending of the story, have them sit in the author’s chair and interview them as an author, interview them as a character, asking them why they did such and such.  It can be really fun, and they will learn the story much better.