During these unsettling times, we at Informed Literacy will strive to support parents, teachers, and children as we all grapple with long distance learning. We are facing uncharted waters in this new age of long distance learning and the learning curve is steep. Here are 5 Key takeaways:
- Be patient with yourself and others.
- Kids thrive on routine.
- Look for the silver lining.
- Communication is more important than ever.
- Some really good folks are stepping up and helping out.
This may be the toughest one for me, personally. While patient with my students, I am generally less so with myself. I feel most at ease when I’ve had time to research and process before trying out a new idea. This Corona Virus has taken that luxury away from me and, like it or not, I have to get up-to-speed about long distance learning and I have to do it fast! Mistakes are going to be made and I have to be patient with myself. Parents are going to make mistakes . Children are going to make mistakes. Technology is going to fail. When that happens, we all just need to take a deep breath and give it another go. That said, it’s a good reminder for parents and educators about how students may feel when they are learning something new and can help us be more empathetic.
Kids Thrive on Routine
There are many benefits to establishing a daily routine. First and foremost, it gives children a sense of stability. In these uncertain times, a consistent routine provides children with reassurance; something they can depend upon. Another reason for establishing a routine is that it can limit resistance, arguments, or negotiations. Take it from two experienced teachers and parents, once established, a routine makes for productive, engaged, and happy kiddos. For more information on the benefits of routines, check out this article.
Look for the Silver Lining
Here are some positive aspects to social distancing and learning at home:
- More time for free play: Multiple research studies show that children learn best through free play. This does not mean adult supervised/directed play. This means uninterrupted, child directed play. This article from the Official Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics goes into detail regarding the benefits of child directed play. So don’t feel guilty if your child isn’t spending 8 hours of the day studying. You can rest easy knowing that play is necessary for children of all ages. Not convinced? Watch this TED Talk.
- Opportunities to explore personal interests: Is your child interested in art? Here’s what my niece set up for her daughter – an on-line art lesson (provided by her art teacher), followed by a virtual tour of the Louvre, culminating with researching her favorite artist and writing a report. We’ll post follow-up blogs with ideas for self-directed learning, so be sure to check back often.
- Developing creativity and imagination: You are likely to hear cries of, “I’m bored,” or “There’s nothing to do!” Take heart in knowing that boredom often leads to the development of imagination and creativity. Please don’t feel compelled to rush in with solutions or electronic devices. It’s OK for your kids to be bored. They’ll figure it out! One thing you can do to save your own sanity is to brainstorm a list with your child(ren) before boredom hits. List all the things they can do that doesn’t involve electronics or a parent, and post it in plain sight. When you hear laments of boredom simply point to the list.
- Increased family time: As part of your daily routine, be sure to build in some family time. Family time can come in the form of cooking dinner together, story time, movie night, and game night. Celebrate the fact that your family can spend this time together.
Communication is More Important than Ever
Unfortunately, because social distancing is a must, we may not be able to spend time with loved-ones or friends. Thank goodness for technology. Here are a couple of possible ways to spend time with your peeps when you can’t be in the same room: Google Meet, Google Hangout, or Face-time. Our local yoga studio is conducting classes long distance using Zoom. A friend of ours organized a game of Kahoot between her son and his buddy. And don’t forget the phone. Our elderly relatives may not be up on the latest technology, but they know how to use a phone and they need to stay connected too. Staying connected is not only possible, but it is essential for our mental well-being.
Some Really Good Folks are Stepping Up and Helping Out
There are oodles of free offerings on the web. From NYC Library digital books, to virtual tours of National Parks and Monuments, to virtual tours of museums and historical venues. We’ll post follow-up blogs with links to some of these amazing resources. In the meantime, here are some of our favorites:
We’ll be back with more ideas to help you and your children navigate long distance learning. In the meantime, sharing is caring and many hands make light work. Please share some of your favorite resources, activities, or routines in the comments section below.
Stay safe and healthy!