Totally Candid Distance Learning Advice from LA Teachers

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Normally it’s just kids who get back-to-school jitters. But this year, with LA schools going virtual, parents are feeling plenty of their own anxiety. To help prepare you for all the at-home learning, we talked to a few Los Angeles teachers, who revealed their insider tips. Keep calm and read on!

Stick to Traditions

"Parents should be treating this as the beginning of any other school year," says third grade teacher Katherine Stott. "Take first day of school pictures, get some new school supplies/outfits and get excited!" Making school feel as normal and familiar as possible will help young kids acclimate to the change.

photo: istock

Maximize Your Mornings

Kiddos should show up for virtual learning just as they would for a regular day of in-person learning, says third grade teacher Gabrielle Radonsky. She recommends waking up at least a half hour before school starts, so kids have plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed, comb their hair and brush teeth, and come prepared to their meeting. 

If there's time, Ms. Stott suggests trying get out and take a walk around the neighborhood before the distance learning begins. "This will make school feel more like school," she says. 

Get into the Zone

It's important for kids to have a designated school zone for online learning. Kindergarten teacher Jocelyn Bresnick says that a child's workspace should be "away from distractions, other people, food and toys."

One spot to avoid? "The bed," says fifth grade teacher Anastasia Theo. "You would be surprised how many students join lessons form there!" You want your child to be sitting up, alert and engaged. 

A final piece of advice from Ms. Radonsky: "Keep the space consistent even if it's the dining room table." 

Listen Up

If there are multiple children, plus mom and dad all working at home, it can be hard for kids to tune out distractions. Ms. Theo recommends getting kid-friendly headphones to "reduce background noise and help students focus." 

Give Some Space

While it may be tempting to hover over kids during their virtual lessons, it's better to take a step back. "Parents should not be part of the lesson; they should check in with their child after the lesson just like they would when their child gets home from school," says Ms. Theo. She suggests asking your child to show you their work for the day, or start a discussion about what they learned. 

Say Yes, But...

When it comes to sidestepping schoolwork, kids are mini masterminds. As Ms. Bresnick tells us, she lives by this strategy: Say yes, but on your terms. For example, she explains, if your child asks, Can I have a snack?, reply with, Yes! After you finish this last page.

Stay Positive

"Remember that this is new for everyone and try to be positive," encourages Ms. Theo. "Kids are more likely to look at this negatively if they are constantly hearing their parents complain about it."

featured photo: Julia Cameron via Pexels

–Shannan Rouss


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