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Little girl at home doing virtual learning

Virtual Learning: How to Make It Work

from building in breaks to asking for help

If your child is learning virtually right now, you’ve been going at it for what probably feels like 956 weeks between spring and fall. For every family that’s really in the groove of virtual school, there are probably more families who have gotten out of the groove or never found it in the first place.

We connected with experts from the Leadership Academy Network—a unique partnership between Fort Worth ISD and Texas Wesleyan University, with four elementary campuses and one middle school—to find out how virtual learning can be a smoother experience for kids and parents.

Lea Anne Roach, assistant principal at the Leadership Academy at Forest Oak Middle School, says families of young scholars (how the Leadership Academy Network refers to students) shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

“We’ve all been through a lot,” Roach notes. “Your child’s teachers understand what you are facing, and they are working overtime to make this work.”

Roach offers these tips to guide your approach to virtual learning:

Plug in to social media. Many schools are using social media—including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube—to communicate. Find out what channels your child’s school is using to help students and parents stay on top of things. If you don’t have an account, consider establishing one so you don’t miss any important info.

Understand that there is no wrong space for learning. Don’t worry that you lack the perfect space in your home. The important thing is that your child feels comfortable and can focus. Try to limit distractions, and make sure the technology is charged up and ready to use.

Consistency is key. If kids have a schedule, they will be more successful. Set aside time each day that is strictly for educational purposes—even if that is when you finish your own workday. Help your child keep track of assignments.

Encourage your student. It’s the teacher’s job to pull your child in, but you can support them by finding something your child loves about school and engaging them in conversation. When parents get involved in the learning process and offer support and encouragement, students benefit.

Look for small-group opportunities. If your child’s school doesn’t offer small-group learning opportunities, you might form a virtual study group with your child’s classmates. Virtual learning can be isolating, so it’s important to connect with others when possible.

Take a brain break. Everyone needs a break now and then. Build flexibility in your child’s daily schedule so they can walk away for a bit, then come back refreshed and ready to learn. The little break will help you regroup too, Mom.

Build relationships with the school. “Asking for help is seriously underrated,” Roach says. When you get frustrated or run into a roadblock, connect with the teacher or call the school office to see how they can help support your child’s needs.

“You may not be able to physically walk into your child’s school, but there are many resources available and a lot of people who want to help,” says Priscila Dilley, senior administrator of Leadership Academy Network. “Many teachers are parents themselves, and we understand the challenges parents and students are facing firsthand. Let’s make this work together.”

Image courtesy of iStock.