Virtual learning environment is not something a year ago we ever thought would be a thing. Yet, hello here we are! After 9 months of moving from the class to a virtual classroom – we are sharing 10 tips to help parents stay sane while kids are remote learning.
Before I say anything else, I’m just going to drop this funny homeschool meme here.
Public Schools Moving to Online Learning
Back in March 2020, like many kids – our public school was shut down for in-classroom learning and moved to a virtual learning environment. With a high-risk husband and a few other factors – we continued the remote learning experience into the fall of 2020 with our 4 kids.
Fast forward, we are now on the cusp of starting the second semester online. Oh the things we have learned! Trying to juggle 3 businesses and a husband who works full time at home has been interesting to say the least.
Though, it’s actually working well for us – now. This hasn’t always been a thing I could call a success, but all things considered we are making it happen.
In an effort to help any parents struggling with virtual learning or online school – I thought maybe sharing what has worked well for us could provide some value (at least, that’s my hope!)
Virtual Learning Tips
As with all things, finding your family’s groove and what works best for you is essential. But here are some things that have worked well for us. Here are 10 virtual learning tips.
Creating a Virtual Learning Environment for Each Child
Our house is by no means huge, but when this fall school semester rolled around – we knew we needed to make space for each child in regards to their virtual learning environment.
We got created and found a space so that each kid has a setup just for their remote schooling work.
This does mean that for now we are breaking our rule of no screens in the bedroom with our older 2 teens. But sometimes rules change – you know especially in a pandemic when there are 6 people working at the same time.
For our 2 youngest sons, we needed them somewhat close in proximity to us.
Folding Wall Desk
In a corner in our living room, we were able to put in a foldable wall desk using these brackets from Amazon and a cheap desktop from Ikea. For under $40 – we have a desk that folds down to the wall – should we need this space. Honestly, we haven’t needed the space until Christmas – but it’s a simple verstaile desk option.
Our son wiggles so we bought him a wobble chair on Amazon and now have an order in for a second because it works so well!
For our youngest, we put a desk in the corner of our kitchen. He has since made his gamer setup – so yes his workstation is covered in LEDs and our kitchen corner has a weird glow. But we made it work!
Check out our favorite home office desks.
Fidgets and Sensory Toys
Something that has helped with our 2 youngest (1 has adhd and another is high functioning autistic) is FIDGETS / sensory toys. These are amazing to help keep kids busy while trying to focus during zoom calls and remote learning teaching sessions.
I bought this bag of fidgets on Amazon and it’s lasted us several month.
Helping your kids get their school supplies organized with file organizers and such will only help you! As a very unorganized mom, this was hard for me but realized early on this was completely necessary for sanity!
Make sure your kids know where the pencil, pen and art stash is kept. The more they know and are organized, the less they will bug you while you are trying to work!
Using Alexa as a School Bell
With 4 different schedules – trying to keep up with everything was obnoxious.
Each child has an Amazon Echo Dot device so each has Alexa setup alarms setup that can act as a school bell to make sure that they are in the right class at the right time.
No Screen Time Until Work is Done
Our kids virtual learning schedule is all over the place. Often if their work is done, since many teachers are teaching both online and in-person at the same time (GOD BLESS, THEM!) kids will get off of school if they are done with their work.
We have taken screen time away with the exception of the iPad and Oculus Quest 2. No in-between Among Us games until the school day is officially over or Roblox – both of those tend to cause a lot of yelling at the screen which isn’t good – you know, with 6 people working in a house!
Thank God for fresh air, right? In the spring of 2020, we didn’t require the kids to get outside since everything new was happening. One new requirement is that each kid MUST get outside everyday.
While the schools may not currently require recess, this mom does! This might mean running around our pasture, playing on the tire swing or walking the dog. It really is just a matter of taking a mental break, enjoying the fresh air and releasing that energy.
Sleep is Plentiful
Oh the beauty of sleep. Something we are so appreciative of is not having to wake up so early in the morning on school days to get out the door to go to school.
With remote learning, the kids just need to be awake and somewhat dressed (more on that next) – 15-20 minutes before class starts to each and make sure they are ready for the day.
Clothing is Required
As silly as it sounds, I do have one child – no names mentioned – that would go to school without a shirt if not prompted to PUT A SHIRT ON. Same goes with pants. He would be happy to attend a virtual class just in his underwear.
Nope, not happening kid – clothing is required for online learning. Pajama pants are ok, but real clothes would be idea.
Lunches Made Easy
MOM, I AM HUNGRY! Those words, us mamas know all too well. Lunch is put out between 12 – 1pm. One of the things that I have done while remote learning is create kid snack boards.
The snack boards are like a charcuterie for kids. They offer a lunch option and snacks. You know a smorgasbord that they graze on until dinner. This has been a total parent win and the kids love it.
Communicating with Teachers
With the craziness of life – something I slacked on but quickly shifted was communicating with the teachers. Out of sight, out of mind – right? Yeah, try to not be like I was!
Drop a line to your kids’ teacher every few weeks to check-in. He or she will appreciate the open line of communication and this is just another way to help your kids thrive in the virtual learning environment!
Keep Devices Charged
Each night, part of the bedtime routine is now asking the kids to make sure that their school devices are charged for the next day.
Make the Best of It
This is all a whirlwind of crazy. Do your best to make the best of it. Just know that you attitude can help shape how your child perceives a situation. This is also just a good life lesson.
We can do hard things, but we can also learn and grow because of hard things.
I hope these virtual learning tips provided you some form of helpfulness. This crap can’t last forever. Your kids will someday return to normal(ish). Just exhale the bad and soak in what you can of the good.
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