When August and September rolls around, many of us parents look forward to coming back to the school year. But with COVID-19 still being a major issue for many of us, our school year is going to look a little different. Learning remotely is now a reality for not just our kids but also for us parents and even teaching professionals.
A lot of us are not sure when things will become normal again. Our kids learning remotely might not go anywhere anytime soon. Many of our kids in school are not accustomed to learning online or being at home full-time during the school year. We are all being asked to quickly adjust to this new type of schooling.
While many of us are learning to adjust and figure out the best ways for our kids to be successful and get a good education (our schools and their staff included!), there are some ways we can help as parents to lessen the stress of school and being at home more bearable (and even enjoyable!)
Here are some distance learning tips for teenagers so they can be more successful as they adjust to learning online and being at home.
Tip #1: Set the Expectations Early
One really important step you need to do is setting clear expectations early on with your teens when it comes to distance learning. If your teen kids are already in school and struggling, you can use this step and reset. Sit your teen down and talk to them about the expectations you have for them when it comes to their school work.
You can make a list of expectations so you both can refer back to them at a later time if needed. Some expectations you might want to include is having a set schedule your teen does their school work, meeting deadlines to the best of their ability, try their best, communicating with you and their teachers if they need help.
This is also another great time to talk about what their goals might be. If you have a high schooler ask them what are their goals after graduating. Do they want to go to college? Do they want to work? Go to a trade school? If you are able to get an idea of what their thoughts are after graduating high school then you can help them set up realistic goals now.
Tip #2: Create a Workspace
An intentional workspace for your teen can help them be more successful while doing their school online. If you don’t have a home office that’s okay, you can adapt and use a room to makeshift an office for them during their school hours. You can even use the same room if you are also required to work remotely from work too. It’s a great way to “supervise” your child so they are not distracted during their set schedule to complete their work.
Make sure their dedicated workspace has a lot of light, quiet, and comfortable.
Tip #3: Stick to a Daily Routine
Creating a daily routine when it comes to doing their distance learning can really help your teenagers be more successful. Depending on your teen’s style of learning and personality, every one of their daily routines is going to be different. Make sure you are realistic when talking to your teenager about setting up a daily routine that will help them.
Don’t fill their entire day with school work. You want to try to space things out so they are not overwhelmed. They will also need to have breaks so they are not zoning out from learning. Make sure they are taking breaks from staring at the screens too long and are fueling themselves with snacks and eating a good breakfast and lunch.
Tip #4: Limit Distractions
Distractions are going to be all-around your teen while they are at home. While setting up a workspace will help limit some of these there is still another major distraction – phones. Phones are a distraction for all of us, not just our kids.
Ask your teenager to leave their phone in another room while they are working on school work. If you are working remotely with them in the same room then model this by doing the same thing if possible (unless your work requires you to use it).
Tip #5: Be Patient
We need to remind ourselves to be patient during this time. The current shift to remote learning is new not only for our kids going to school and parents, but also for our teachers. There are many educational professionals trying to prepare technology and materials to help ensure your children will get a good education while learning remotely.
It may take a few adjustments to meet the needs of all of the students and to get a better grasp on who is going to need more help and who isn’t. Figuring everything out and what kind of methods work online may take some time. So let’s be patient during this time and give everyone some grace as we all adjust during this time.
Tip #6: Check on Their Grades
Check with your teenager’s school to see if there is a way to monitor their grades online. It can be a good way to see how your child is doing, but you may need to be realistic with expecting how frequently their grades are updated.
Some teachers are good about updating grades daily while others do them weekly. If you would like a clear idea then speak to each of your teenager’s teachers by sending them an email and asking how frequently they update their student’s grades.
Tip #7: Communicate With Their Teacher
I have always thought open communication with my children’s teachers is imperative for their educational success. This is no different while they learn from home. You want to give your teenager the benefit of the doubt for being responsible and accountable for their school work, but distancing learning is a new territory for your teenager.
Any support you can give your child at home will help them and that means keeping an open communication with their teachers. Don’t be afraid to reach out and hesitate to ask questions.
Tip #8: Reward Them for Their Hard Work
Rewarding your child for their hard work during this time can really be motivating for them to do well in their schoolwork. If your teenager is doing a good job with their schoolwork then reward them with fun activities, free time, or something else that can boost their confidence.
Tip #9: Make Time for Fun
Your teen kids are missing out on socializing with all their friends at school, which means being stuck at home all the time is going to get old fast. One way you can help with this is by making time for fun, especially as a family.
Spend time together as a family by doing some fun activities. You can watch a movie or have a game night together. Sit down together as a family and have dinner (start doing this if you haven’t or aren’t anymore!).