Remote Learning During COVID-19
August 20, 2020
BY: Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich
Welcome Back to School! Please turn on your webcam.
Even with a late Labor Day on Monday, September 7th, August is when our thoughts traditionally turn to back-to-school. Of course, this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, more and more schools in New Jersey are starting either with a hybrid of in-person and online learning or, increasingly, fully remote.
In my blog posts, we try to keep you up-to-date, and I’ve blogged previously about back-to-school in the COVID-19 era here. Now that we know, however, that so many districts are opening fully remote, it’s worth looking at how we can prepare better for remote learning (which is still applicable to the hybrid model), especially if you’re a divorced co-parent.
(For this blog post I reference an article from The New York Times, “How to Proactively Prepare for Distance Learning,” by Jenny Anderson.)
- Check-in with your co-parent. No one can do any school year alone, but 2020 truly is different— you’re going to need help. Check-in with your co-parent, and remember to tag-team. If your children are going to school for in-person learning on some days, make sure you know who’s doing the dropping-off and picking-up. On remote learning days, who’s helping with homework? Who’s making sure online learning is being kept up with? Better to ask these questions now. Use a calendar to make a schedule before school officially starts.
- Get your tech ready! How’s your Wi-Fi? (One tip we often forget about is to delete stored Wi-Fi networks/passwords on your device.) Do you have the right chargers? Do you need a Wi-Fi extender? Is it possible to have the right tech at each home, so your child doesn’t worry about leaving it at your co-parent’s house? Tech should definitely be addressed with plenty of time to go— and here’s an area where your child may know more than you!
- Form a learning pod. This suggestion may be somewhat controversial; a recent New York Times article looked at what to do when your family is priced out of learning pods. However, a learning pod can be done simply and remotely, and cost-efficiently— even if you can’t afford (or don’t want to spend the extra money on) a private teacher or tutor. Consider teaming up with the parents of a couple of your children’s classmates to form a learning pod. This can be valuable to students to stay on track and help each other— either remotely or via social distance— and, perhaps best of all, it means you could have some after-school free time yourself.
- Consult the teachers. Be kind, and be patient— teachers in the coronavirus classroom era are charged with an impossible task, teaching both remotely and in-person— all while making sure everyone stays safe. Be sure to check in with your children’s teachers, though— they’re the ones who know best about how your child is doing, and what you and your co-parent should focus on at home with them.
- Shut the screens off! With so much online learning and staring at a variety of screens— plus after-school television, video games, and YouTube shorts— it’s important to make sure every child spends time without a screen every day.
We know it’s going to be a different— and challenging— school year, but we also know that, with preparation and a can-do attitude, children will learn this year, and stay safe. And we’ll be here with tips, ideas, and thoughts throughout the school year.
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