While students and teachers are enjoying what’s left of summer break, parents are trying to picture what school will be like in the fall.
Seymour Community School Corp. believes the most effective instruction for a child happens in the classroom, Superintendent Brandon Harpe said.
Families that do not feel comfortable sending their children back to school, however, will have the option to continue with online learning.
A new study from Gallup found 56% of American parents found remote learning was difficult for their household, including 16% who described it as very difficult.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]
On the opposite side, 44% said remote learning was easy, including 8% who said it was very easy for their family.
For those parents who are struggling with eLearning and looking for ways to help their students succeed, there are some helpful tips available.
Amanda Newby, a special needs teacher at Brownstown Central Middle School, shared some of those tips for parents.
"Make a schedule for school time and stick to it," she said. "Designate a spot or room of the house as the school area and have all the supplies you’ll need there handy."
Newby said it’s also a good idea to limit distractions when your child is doing schoolwork and set short-term work goals and then reward yourself when you reach them.
"Set a timer to your optimal amount of work time," she said. "When the timer goes off, take a break, stand and stretch, walk in place."
Newby said if you’re a kid in age or at heart, consider a Brainbreak on YouTube at m.youtube.com/watch?v=EsNQ_5KnFiA.
"Don’t wait until the last minute to complete work," Newby said. "Get right in there and find out what you don’t know or understand and then ask questions for clarification."
She said if you don’t understand the way your teacher is explaining things, ask them to explain in a different way or Google search the topic to find out more.
"Remember that your teachers are there for you," Newby said. "They care about your health, emotional well-being and your learning."
Rebecca Gramuglia, a consumer expert at TopCashback.com, shares five ways to make remote learning more effective.
- Upgrade internet provider. With millions of people working and learning from home, some may experience computer problems. Frequently reset the router for speed issues, and if the problems persist, try upgrading the internet.
- New laptop/electronics. Upgrading electronics before school begins can prove helpful to ensure a student has the best laptop and gadgets to make learning easier.
- Set up a classroom area at home. Many adults have a specific area at home where they can work and get some quiet time, and it’s important that you create a similar space for your child.
- Trust the teachers. Before providing your child with supplemental work, stick to what the teacher requires. Trust that educators are providing your children with all they need.
- Purchase face masks/protective gear. Whether a child will be heading into school full time or part time, obtain a few comfortable face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves now rather than later. Remember to practice safety protocols while at home so they become habits.
Retired English teacher Berna Jones taught for 19 years at Seymour Middle School and one year at Seymour High School.
She said if the teacher schedules class times or meetings, students should not miss those sessions.
"Last year, the sessions were posted on Google Classroom, but some of the kids would miss those," Jones said.
She said it’s also beneficial for the kids to form online study groups. Kids who are in the same class with the same teacher should set up times to study together and ask questions, just like if they were in the classroom.
Seymour High School science teacher Brad Cobb has taught at the school for six years, and before that, he taught at Seymour Middle School for 10 years.
He knows remote learning can be difficult.
"I’ve taken online classes when getting my master’s degree, and it is easy to get sidetracked, distracted and/or uninterested," Cobb said. "I find that there has to be a schedule. There must be a display of discipline to focus specifically on the task at hand."
Cobb said students have been conditioned for the regular classroom. They know to come in and prepare themselves for a lecture or note-taking and then have a lab or assignment to complete.
"They have to get in that same mindset at home. They need a specific place to spend their day ‘in class’ at home," he said. "However, they do need to jump up and move around every hour."
He said students can maybe take a quick walk, like they are on a passing period. They also need 30 minutes or so to recharge for lunch.
"They can leave the study spot, eat lunch, text their friends — oh sorry, Snapchat their friends," Cobb said. "They need a routine and need to stick to it every day."
Some of Cobb’s tips for parents are to communicate with teachers and administrators.
"We as educators love our jobs and the kids. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be doing this. It’s crazy hard, exhausting and frustrating at times," Cobb said. "Parents, if you are struggling, let us know. It is a cliche, but we are all in this together."
He said to work with your student and make a schedule. Hold them to that schedule and don’t let them off of it. If they were at school normally, they wouldn’t get to watch TV or play video games during school hours.
"They definitely shouldn’t be doing that during remote learning time, either," Cobb said. "That is for after school and when homework is done."
When students get stressed, think about what they did when it was a normal school year and the kids got stressed out.
"We took breaks and maybe played a game. Maybe we gave them some video game time," Cobb said. "We let them veg out with a movie and eat some popcorn, go on a bike ride, etc."
Cobb said they need to break away from the thing that is stressing them out, leave the world behind and recharge. He also said one of the most important things is routine, routine, routine.