Hey parents! Any others in camp virtual learning?! When our district offered this choice, despite my husband and I knowing it was the absolute right decision for our family, the time prior, during, and after making the decision felt slightly overwhelming and I couldn’t kick the feeling of, “what did we just get ourselves into?”
Now, here we are two weeks in. We’re not experts by any means and have many more days ahead of us, but I thought I’d share what’s been helpful for our family.
Virtual Learning Space
You do NOT need a fancy space or all new things, however, setting up a designated space where learning happens helps our family prepare both mentally and emotionally. I want to give my kids with a sense of excitement as they headed into the school year, just like any other year! We have a partially finished basement where their playroom is. With a little rearranging, we made space for two small desks and chairs. We want them to each have their own space and make it fun for them to set up their learning area. If you don’t have space or can’t purchase desks, you can still designate a spot for learning in your home. I’ve seen families use their dining room tables. It’s amazing what we can make work when it comes right down to it!
Virtual Learning Supplies
Here are just a few other things we have found helpful in creating a learning area in our home:
These rolling carts are an amazing way to organize all the learning things! It’s especially helpful if you don’t have desks or are tight on space! We had 3 of these in our playroom and I just reorganized and designated one for their school things.
Caddy for supplies This one was completely extra but so fun to put together! I ordered these bins from Amazon and then threw in what we already mostly had. These sit on their desks and they put their pencils/pens, etc in them.
Headphones with microphone Because our learning space is shared by two children, with my husband working from home nearby, headphones are a must. These work well and my kids tell me they’re comfortable!
Blue light glasses These might be a total fake and make no difference, but I figured since they will be on their computers for long stretches, blue light glasses might be helpful. I found some on Amazon, and they’ve used them ever since!
Things for the adults managing the virtual learning
Strong cup of coffee- mostly kidding but also, not.
Patience and grace- for your kids, their school/teachers, and mostly for YOU
Flexibility. Whether it’s WIFI problems or technical difficulties, this year calls for us to be more flexible than ever and roll with the punches.
Organizing schedules. We have two virtual learners and two parents working from home. Coordinating and organizing schedules has been imperative. My husband and I both have iPhones, so sync our calendars together but there are apps and email services that also provide this service. We have the kid’s schedule on our calendar, along with each of their times they need to be logged on for a meeting or direct teaching lesson.
Laminator. This one is TOTALLY extra (coming from an ex education major and mom who used to work in child care centers throughout college and early adulthood) but hear me out. This thing has been so helpful! I laminated each of the kid’s schedules to post by their desk. I also laminated a calendar and weather chart that is also by their desks, and I think it will be so helpful in the future, too.
Sense of humor. I think this goes without saying, but kids are funny. And hearing/seeing kids interact virtually creates some humorous moments. Like the kid who forgot he wasn’t on mute to a kid falling asleep on his bed during a Zoom meeting, to a rowdy toddler getting into the Zoom meeting. When you think about it, it’s all actually very funny. We’ve had more than a few laughs already at small mishaps that happen during a Zoom class meeting. So, bring that sense of humor during these unknown times and laugh through it!
So, all my virtual learning parents, I salute you and I’m here right alongside you. We’re definitely in this together and navigating unchartered waters! Solidarity and I hope you and your kids have a great year despite some challenges!
How is virtual learning going for you?
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