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Parent Pointers: 3 Tips For Creating a Productive Distance Learning Environment

As the school year comes to an early end for some, students may not be the only ones looking forward to summer break. We see you, parents. We know you’ve been working hard to ensure your children continue to learn and have a sense of normalcy—even on the least normal days.

I, like many of you, have been juggling many day jobs—one being my role here at Instructure, and the others range from being a parent, teacher, and sometimes counselor in my own home. While we are busy wearing many hats to ensure the academic success of our children, it’s important to remember that they are also struggling to separate school from home.

We recently connected with over 1,000 parents of K-12 students to see how they are coping with the continuance of remote learning. The results were not surprising to many of us, especially those of us with students at home. In a recent live stream session, we discussed the findings: An overwhelming majority of parents are struggling to keep students focused and on task during the day, many of them are feeling torn between work and home life, and some shared that they have not received clear instructions from teachers, making homework even more difficult to navigate.

As we wrap up this eventful year, the question still remains: When will students be going back to school? To help you finish out the year strong, and prepare for the unknowns of next year, we are sharing three helpful tips for facilitating remote learning.

#1 Create space for learning

It’s safe to say that all students behave differently at school than they do at home. At school, they have a dedicated space for learning, and learning only. This can be challenging to create in the home, especially with limited funds, space, and time. However, choosing a table, corner, or room in your home that is for daily learning activities can help students separate themselves from the often relaxed nature that comes along with being at home.

#2 Stick to a daily schedule 

Children have a 2-5 minute attention span for every year they are old, meaning that the average 8-year old may only have the ability to remain focused on instruction for 20 minutes at a time. Although this can be frustrating to us as parents, it is important to remember this is by no fault of their own. To set you and your child up for success, create a daily learning schedule that fits comfortably into your routine. By sticking to a consistent schedule, you can clearly communicate your expectations with your children, and build in frequent breaks to get the most out of their attention span. This also allows more time and flexibility for you to balance your roles between parent and teacher.

#3 Maintain consistent communication

Perhaps the most important thing we can do as parents right now is to have frequent conversations with our kids about what is happening in the world today. The more we can discuss the changes we are experiencing and help our children make sense of it all, the better. For many students, this is their first time communicating with teachers and other students virtually, which can present a unique learning curve. To help them ease into this transition, ensure that you too are communicating regularly with teachers to stay in the loop. If you haven’t already, ask your children’s teacher(s) their preferred method of communication so you know how and when to reach them. 

If we didn’t all see it before, we now know just how challenging it is to be a teacher. That being said, sending a small thank you to the educators in your life might go a long way. It’s important to remember that even teachers have students at home, and we are all in this together.

On behalf of all us at Instructure, we want to thank all of the parents out there for everything they are doing to ensure learning continues. We know it’s not easy, and we are here to support you.

To review our recent survey results and get more helpful tips for supporting your remote learners, download the infographic below.

Download the Infographic