We are happy to provide two different educational options for students and their parents to choose from during this new age of COVID-19. We understand that deciding whether to send your student back to the classroom is a very personal decision for everyone, and we respect the decision that feels safest to you. Families who have opted for online education during the 2020-2021 school year may be wondering how you’re going to ensure that your child’s education stays on track without the physical presence of a professional teacher.
At St. Barnabas School, in addition to inviting students back to campus this fall, we have offered a Digital Live Synchronous Learning Program for those who are not ready to return to campus. From the safety of their homes, these students can live stream their classroom and progress through their school day with their classmates. Should the school be required to shut down again, the entire student body will be able to continue learning with this system.
Students who are participating in this synchronous education program are well-supported by their teachers but still need the support of their parents. Here are some concrete ways that you can support your child’s online education this fall.
Create A Learning Zone
Imagine how frustrating it would be to work at a desk in an office surrounded by all of your favorite things. Perhaps you’re really into Books and every shelf had stacks of all of your favorite authors, wouldn’t it be difficult to focus on work? Now imagine your elementary school student sitting at a desk surrounded by all of her favorite toys. Her Barbie collection on the shelf beside her, her favorite stuffed animal sitting on her bed, the unfinished puzzle spread out across the floor, it’s not a space conducive to working.
Online education is an incredible resource, but it isn’t perfect. One of the major downsides of online education is the teachers’ inability to control the environment around the student. This is where you come in. If you want your child to give the same level of focus and energy to their school day as they would in a traditional classroom setting you must prepare them for success by creating an environment to promote learning.
Ultimately, their bedroom may not be the best place to work. Carve out a quiet, engaging space in your home that promotes focus and supports your child’s online education.
Creating a learning zone as we mentioned above will go a long way toward reducing your child’s distractions. It’s also important to be aware of other distractions. Younger siblings, the morning news on the television in the next room, a window facing the street with cars driving by, or even your family pet can make it difficult to focus on school.
It’s virtually impossible to create a perfect space, but as you learn to navigate your child’s education online be aware of these small things that may make it difficult for her to be as productive and focused during the day as you know she’s capable of. One very important factor may be removing any unnecessary technology like iPads and cell phones.
Stay Connected With The Teacher
The great thing about our synchronous learning education system is that it allows your child to progress through the school year at the same pace and in the same class as their peers. This is not homeschooling, and while your presence and participation are critical, you’re not in this alone. Make a point to remain connected with your child’s teacher throughout this whole process. The teacher can tell you where your child is lagging, and you may be able to provide insight as to the areas where your child feels most frustrated. Our goal is to provide your student with the best education possible in a manner that you feel is safest for your family. Let go of the idea that you need to do this alone, your student’s education will thrive when you have a strong connection with her teacher.
Encourage Your Child To Remain Active
Do you know how exhausting it is to sit at your computer for six hours a day? Of course, you do! Adults do this at work all the time. However your child is not used to this method of education, so it’s important to remind them to get up and move their bodies at regular increments during the day. Start the day with a family walk and intentionally schedule physical activities into their day so that you can ensure they’re getting just as much movement as they would if they were in the classroom with their friends. Remember, your children need at least an hour a day of moderate to intense physical activity to stay healthy.
Be Present Through The Process
You are a great parent and we know that you are doing your best to support your child’s education. One of the most powerful things you can do is just be present. Of course, you are physically present, but also remember that your child is navigating something new and awkward. This is a moment where they could use a little extra moral support. Do your best to check in regularly during the day, encourage their good behavior, and celebrate their small successes. Engaged parenting has a significant impact on student success.
At the end of the day, we all need to remember that we are figuring this out as we go along. Your children have never learned this way, we have never taught this way, and you have never had to parent through a school year like this. We know that the students at Saint Barnabas School are exceptional, and together with you their parents we can help them get the best education possible this year. If your family is struggling through this online education journey contact our office today for more support.