Got to go back, back, back to virtual school again…
Remote learning and virtual classrooms are officially inevitable for most of the country.
But it’s OK. We got this💪
We’re pros at dealing with this by now. Well, not exactly and it’s daunting to deal with but we can take a cool, calm, and collected approach and let our own virtual reality set in.
While it’s not ideal for households and lifestyles, it’s all the more overwhelming for the innocent students who deserve a good education and much-needed social interaction.
The school year is upon us. It is an environment like never before, so it’s important to keep a clear head and stick to a plan the best you can. Encourage participation, attentiveness, and opportunity that can be instrumental and very beneficial with the right approach. Create a consistent schedule and instill responsibility in the virtual class setting.
It’s also key to recognize the pandemic is a hurdle no one could ever envision and everyone is scrambling to cope. We crave the day society will rebound and kids will be able to socialize and feel free again. But for now, while online, create an atmosphere and mindset to persevere. Students can at least be excited for some definitive duties and they can share the experience with friends, classmates, and like-minded kids.
An organized, disciplined routine is the ultimate goal day in and day out during these challenging times. Stay positive and understand these are uncertain times and everything doesn’t flow according to plan. 2020 has caused chaos and cancellations across the board. Our summers were essentially stolen from us – deprived of camp, vacations, large-scale festivities. Our kids are bored, hooked on electronics, and need school. It’s time to stimulate and give them back their zen vibes. But first, let’s talk about how to kickstart virtual.
Here are some key takeaways to kickstart these virtual days:
- Start the day right – wake up as if it’s a standard school day
- Get dressed, eggs for breakfast, brush teeth, family, etc = Fresh for first period
- Put on a favorite outfit, pack a fun lunch – I learned packing lunch in the morning takes the stress out of lunch, take advantage of being home but keep with the schedule as if your child was in school.
- Be On Time and Be Respectful.
- Just like in school if you’re tardy or causing a disruption, classmates take notice and respect dwindles. Stay on your toes and strive for success.
- Stow iphones, music, TVs (unless they are chrome capable!), etc – make your setting sincere
- Take regular breaks. Unplug through the day and avoid too much consecutive time on electronics.
- Prepare. Pack all snacks for the day! A healthy snack, drink plenty of water, and a balanced lunch.
- Let’s get physical. Find time for physical activity. The tools below can help you plan.Recess was created for a reason. Students need to detach digitally and mix in some exercise.
- Goals. Set daily and weekly goals. Remember, soon enough hopefully school and society will be back to reality. Prepare and practice the routine.
- Social! Make time to socialize, even if it’s virtually.
- Extra Credit. Kids may tend to go the bare minimum route with less teacher supervision and more hard-working parents giving them the freedom. Seek extra credit. Partake in voluntary activities, online learning tools, and group discussions.
- Book it. Read everyday.
- Balance. Make time to find a work-life balance. Take opportunities to socialize, even if it’s virtually. Schedule friends weekly for virtual dates!
- Approach the day with purpose – eat three meals, work hard to play hard, be kind and respectful, talk about your feelings.
- At night, relax and regroup with some leisure and letting-go time.
- Keep to a regular sleep schedule.
It can bring the family together and bring focus to the task at hand. This task of juggling careers, parenting, remote learning, and the paralyzing pandemic is not easy, and often not fun.
Here are a few important items to consider along with some fun ideas to change the monotony and challenge one another.
- Structure and Schedule
- In classroom settings, they are held accountable and can set good examples. They gravitate toward meeting the teacher’s expectations and staying on track with fellow classmates. Create a calendar and clear expectations for work and play. Start with a substantial selection of tasks and study material and make adjustments as you proceed. Documenting the day is a surefire method to help students get back in a routine. Weekly planners are great organizational tools for parents and students. Here’s one from Wide Open Schools.
- Paper is out and technology is in. But, sometimes having a printout for your K-5 grader can help. Here’s a free printout for daily routines I edited for my 3rd grader.
- A Remote Room is still a Live Setting!
- Let’s get physical and curate some decor for the classroom.
- Find some fun, funky supplies – pens, folders, notebooks, etc.
- Set the scene with efficient office supplies like a cool lamp, comfy headphones with microphone (I swear by Logitech, or a savvy keyboard accessory).
- Design your area with some artwork, posters, or pics.
- Lighting – an o-ring light is best in darker rooms with bad lighting.
- Be Ready To Learn.
- Avoid IT issues in advance and confirm your virtual classroom is ready to learn before day one.
- Wi-Fi connection, log-in access to school resources, audio/video, might be worth investing in a new device, printer, scanner, shredder, etc.
Tip: Make sure to test your Internet speeds weekly! Stay on top of your telecommunication companies. If yours is slow or isn’t working remember you have your iPhone hotspot!
- Set up weekly virtual play dates.
- With minimal extra-curricular activities going on, students still want to see their friends. Schedule virtual hangouts where they can hang, chat, play, even work on school projects together. Kids love the familiarity of seeing their friends and it maintains relationships for the parents at the same time.
- My son had weekly Zoom sessions with 3-4 members of his baseball team. Every Tuesday and Thursday turned into anytime anyone was free and had a kid who wanted to join. They would catch up about summer, school, siblings, sports, etc. Of course, there were times they played iPad or video games together and didn’t speak for what seemed like hours – but at least they were together!
12 Tools to Bring the Zen in Your K-5 Children:
- Zoom, Messenger for Kids, Houseparty, Playstation Plus, Nintendo Switch
As mentioned above, virtual play dates are an excellent way to get friends together. Especially if you have an only child, this tool is definitely a life savior for your child to see other kids.
Tip: Schedule these in your Google Calendar or iCalendar as a repeat calendar event, consistency is key!
- The Feelings Words Game:
This brought up some good discussions with my 3rd grader! It’s a positive program that makes you think and explains how emotions are expressed by similar students.
Click here for a great tool for when you just want to understand your kiddos emotions.
- Create a Gratitude Jar:
The main goal with this is the lesson to be learned. Students find the anticipation in attaining these moral messages. It can spark curiosity and create confidence. Parents can play the game along and benefit too. Who doesn’t at some point need to be reminded, “Attitude is everything. Pick a good one.”
How To: Cut plain paper into little squares or have a Post-It notepad next to a jar-like container labeled “Gratitude Jar.” Decorate the container with the student(s) as it’s a fun art activity while building anticipation.
As days go by, each family member can write messages or moments which make them thankful. Or add some humor, motivation, inside jokes, etc. or mottos or whatever. Lead by example and show the spirit and participation. It’s a fun family event to open the container and recap the writings.
Is a jar too much work? Try these FREE download printables from Denise Albright.
4. “My Feelings Journal”
A worthwhile, consistent way to record the remote learning experience and the mental and social challenges and circumstances they experience.
5. Family Bell
With so many moving parts these days, it can’t hurt to have a “Reminder System” on call for whom the ”bell” tolls.. Keep your family on track and organized with this gadget from Google that works wonders for the family. Connected via Speaker or Smart System, it can remind anyone at any time what‘s next on the agenda. A message will alert via Mobile, Home, or any Google Assistant.
Tip: Make your day smooth and seamless with this personal assistant advising when class starts, it’s break time, homework’s due, or it’s time for a virtual playdate with your BFF.
6. Slay your stress with My.Life App
Social Emotional Learning! Check in regularly with how kids are feeling and MyLife™ will recommend thought-provoking activities that cater to their emotions and well-being.
7. Yoga, Stories, and Fun with Sonic the Hedgehog vibes
Your kids will namast-aye in zen shape with Sonic the Hedgehog Vibes in this yoga video.
8. Chicken Soup for the Soul – Superheroes Edition
Have your kids learn about the good in humans in this edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It is free and has incredible worksheets and ebooks! Humane Heroes: FREE new series of grade-appropriate e-books and worksheets from Chicken Soup for the Soul and American Humane.
9. Step to Zen!
Print a calendar each month and get your family moving. Bring zen vibes while moving and grooving. Stay fit while staying home.
Downloand and print your Shape America August Calendar here.
10. Feel the flow with Gravitarium
This meditation app numbs the mind while contributing to sensory learning.
11. Let’s get physical!
Move and groove to some fun, physical educational activities for K-5.
12. Emotions & Self-Awareness for 3rd Graders
Attention parents! Here are some great tips on self-awareness, confidence and self control.
Stay consistent and collected. These are challenging times, but we’re all in this together — parents, students, families, school faculty and community. Stay calm, rely on each other, play your part, and hopefully the world will soon weather the storm.
Remote learning is a strange, evolving situation and frustrating on many levels, especially for parents. Take it in stride, remember it’s temporary, and be positive with a consistent routine that is easy to manage and worthwhile to follow.
Not virtual? If you are headed back to school, here’s a fun tool to learn how to social distance and how to wash hands.
Moms or Dads who need some last minute ideas? Join Facebook Groups like:
About the author: Navah Berg is a Digital Marketing professional with a twist of Social VR enthusiasm taking communication to the next level with true presence through Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and social media. Navah was on Virtual Umbrellas 2019 THE ALTERNATIVE TOP 50 VR PEOPLE TO FOLLOW list and was listed in Base Reality’s 25 Most Influential Women to Follow in VR in 2020. Follow Navah on Twitter at @navahk and through her Medium page.