Learning this month looks a little bit different than it did last month. Not only for Kirby Hall School, but for schools all around the city, United States, and world. Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, families are sheltered in place at home while students are learning how to navigate new ways to, well, learn.
Whether you refer to it as distance learning, online or virtual learning, e-learning, or remote schooling–the concept is the same. Teachers and students are physically separated from each other during instruction.
While this is nothing new for college communities that have been offering university degrees online for years, this is largely uncharted waters for the majority of students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
Kirby Hall rolled out our distance learning program on March 23 immediately following Spring Break. Our faculty have been successfully holding their regular classes via Zoom and exchanging assignments over Google classroom for 3rd Grade and higher.
Younger grades, Primer through 2nd Grade, are benefiting from a combination of printed packets, materials provided on Google classroom, and Zoom gatherings where they are able to ask questions of their teachers and converse with classmates.
The opportunity to complete schoolwork and activities that are familiar and being able to connect with teachers and classmates online can be extremely comforting to a child during these challenging times.
Here are some ways that parents can help students maximize their distance learning:
- Stick to a schedule.
Adopt a similar (but slightly looser) school week schedule, with regular bedtimes and wake-up hours. Make sure students attend online classes regularly.
- Establish a designated space for learning.
Bedroom desk, kitchen table, or quiet hallway nook? Wherever your child feels comfortable and is able to be productive will work. Limit distractions such as television and pets as much as possible.
- Take advantage of teachers’ online office hours.
If teachers are available outside of their scheduled lessons with the entire class, be sure to have your student check in frequently and contact them with questions or any confusion regarding assignments.
- Supplement as needed.
Some children might benefit from additional schoolwork outside of what their classes are currently able to offer during this transitional time. There are a wealth of resources online to tap into if your child needs something more challenging. Some good ones are: Scholastic Learning at Home, AP Central, Khan Academy, and Ted Ed.
- Finally, be flexible.
Adapting to a new way of school is not only challenging for students, but for teachers as well. Not everything will go according to plan everyday in their online classrooms or at home, so teach your child to expect some hiccups along the way and extend a little grace to everyone involved–teachers trying to teach, classmates who may need something repeated a few times, and especially parents who are juggling their careers remotely now too.
Also, don’t forget to let your kid still be a kid. Let them have ‘recess’ and run around outside in the spring sunshine, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and play video games. Allowing them an escape to do what they love outside of their virtual classroom will help them stay focused when they need to be.
Kirby Hall School is a private college-preparatory school located in Central Austin offering a challenging curriculum with small class sizes in a loving, nurturing environment for students in Pre-K4 through 12th grade. To learn more about Kirby Hall in Austin, Texas, please visit us here.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and we welcome questions about admissions at anytime, even while we are closed for distance learning. Please contact: [email protected].