Inspired by a document to support homeschoolers created several years ago by Apple Gifford, Director of the Learning Center and shared with the faculty, here are some quick tips on supporting educational engagement.
- Flexibility and Patience. This is a learning process for all of us. As carefully as we teachers are planning, we are well aware we will need to make adjustments en route. Similarly, each student will be adjusting to this new learning environment at different rates and in different ways. Flexibility and patience on the part of all of us – students, teachers, and families – will help us focus on working positively through the inevitable bumps both major and minor, be these technological, academic, and/or emotional.
- Organization. Each student will need to come up with a space for remote classes that is conducive to learning, and will need and/or seek different levels of support from parents depending on age and other factors. Getting this space organized will involve different devices depending on your location and quality of service, and may involve additional materials such as books, pens, paper, art supplies, and so on. Check to see what is in the background when your student is online as this will also be visible to others in the class. This remote learning space may or may not be able to double as a study space, but any study space you and/or your student design would have similar needs. Minimizing distractions is extremely important. Phones may help if students are forming study groups and genuinely focusing on their work; at the same time, some families may prefer/need to monitor or restrict phone usage.
- Comfort – both physical and emotional. Remote learning and study spaces should be as comfortable as possible. We will be working to integrate chances for exercise and active movement into the day, and this too can contribute to emotional health. Students will probably need frequent breaks. While teachers and advisors are always conscious of the need for emotional support, families obviously play the primary and most critical role here. The more students can relax and focus on their work, the more they will learn. At the same time, learning may periodically need to take a back seat to emotional needs or family responsibilities.
- Communication. If your student needs additional support in any way, especially academic and/or emotional, encourage them to reach out to their teachers or advisor. If you see stress building over a few days, or if you have other questions and thoughts, please feel free to reach out on your own to your student’s advisor.
We are working hard to ensure students’ academic, social, and emotional needs are being met to the best of our ability. We have a strong and close community, and look forward to partnering with you all to make this period of remote learning a success.