Tips for parents during distance learning

Updated: March 30, 2020 06:20 PM

Instead of being at Bay View Elementary in Proctor, like normal, Thereasa Hansmeier began her day at her home, with a video message for her 5th graders. "I'm going to start with my normal greeting. I miss you guys already," she said to them.


Her kids were logging into Google Classroom to see that message.

They and hundreds of thousands of students across the country are doing distance learning. That means they are taking up their pencils and tablets at the dining room table or bedroom.

Everyone is a little worried about this. Hansmeier has some advice. "Take it one step at a time. Not even one day at a time. Literally, one step at a time. We do not expect perfection. We are all learning this. We expect issues and problems. Please rely on us teachers. Contact us over and over again," she shared.

She and her colleagues know that parents are trying to work from home, are laid off, or are feeling overwhelmed. Not everything has to be by the book .

This was one unique idea that worked for Hansmeier and her family. "We worked on sight words. Instead of him reading them through to me. I put them on Post-it notes. He read them to me, and I got to shoot them with a Nerf gun, and vice-versa. Get a little creative. Think of what the kids want to do during the day, and see if you can use that," she said.

Also, she wants parents to remember kids are very capable of doing things on their own when they are in the classrooms. "You'll be amazed what your kids can do."

As for fellow teachers, she encourages you to take breaks as well, and take care of yourself and your own families.

In her video message, she asked her kids to be easy on their parents. "This is not something they are used to either. You can help by doing your best also."

Parents reported some glitches with the online school programs, likely due to so many people trying to use it at the same time.

Other tips from online schooling leaders:

1) Focusing on the basics at first: rest, food, exercise and relationships.

2) Don't worry about schoolwork being done perfectly.

3) If you are also working from home, schedule time with heavy interaction with your kids before you ask them to do an activity by themselves.

4) Take breaks outside.

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