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Remote Learning Recommendations for Parents
1. Establish routines and expectations
Parents need to establish routines and expectations from the start. VIS encourages parents to set regular hours for their children’s school work. Help students get up, get dressed and ready to learn at a reasonable time. Keep normal bedtime routines. Adjust schedules to meet everyone’s needs and be flexible.
2. Define a physical workspace at home
Your family’s regular homework space might not be suitable for extended periods. Set up a space/location where your child will learn most of the time. It is important that this space be in a family/public space, not in a child’s bedroom. (This may not be the case for students in upper grades). It should be a space that can be quiet, free from distractions and have good internet connection.
3. Stay in touch
Teachers will communicate with parents regularly through email and/or our online platforms. The frequency and detail of these communications will be determined by your children’s ages, maturity, and their degree of independence. If you have any questions or concerns please email your child’s teacher/s.
4. Begin and end each day with a check in
Parents are encouraged to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. In the morning, you might ask:
What are you learning today?
What are your learning targets or goals?
How will you spend your time?
What resources do you need?
What support do you need?
This brief grounding conversation matters. It allows children to process the instructions they’ve received from their teachers. It helps them organize themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with parents (that’s normal!), but they should nevertheless. Parents should establish these check-ins as regular parts of each day. Not all students thrive in a distance learning environment; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines need to be established early, before students fall behind or begin to struggle.
5.Take an active role in helping your child process and own their learning
In the course of a regular school day at VIS, your child engages with other students or adults dozens if not hundreds of times. These social interactions include turning to a peer to exchange a thought or idea, participating in discussions, asking questions for clarification, collaborating on group projects, and countless other moments. While some of these social interactions will be recreated on virtual platforms, others will not. Human beings learn best when they have opportunities to process their learning with others. Parents should regularly engage with their children about what they’re learning. However, it’s important that your child own their learning; encourage your child to reach out to their teacher, or communicate to the teacher yourself if/when they are struggling.
6. Establish time for quiet and reflection
For families with children of different ages, and parents who may also be unexpectedly working from home more often, it’s good to build in some time for peace and quiet. There may be times when siblings need to work in different rooms to avoid distraction. Many families will need to negotiate access to devices, priorities for wi-fi bandwidth and schedules throughout the day.
7. Encourage physical activity and exercise
Make sure your children remember to move and exercise. This is vitally important to their health, wellbeing, and to their learning. VIS physical education teachers will recommend activities or exercises, but it is important for parents to model and encourage exercise. Think also about how your children can pitch in more around the house with chores or other responsibilities.
8. Remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry
It is imperative for parents to help their children manage the worry, anxiety, and range of emotions they may experience. Difficult though it may be, do your best not to transfer your stress or worry to your children. They will be out of sorts, whether they admit it or not, and need as much normal routine as parents can provide. Please reach out to your child’s teachers should he/she experience high levels of stress or worry.
9. Monitor time on screen and online
VIS does not want its students staring at computer screens for 7–8 hours a day. We ask that parents remember teachers are working to find the right balance between online and offline learning experiences. We do this intentionally to allow them time to work but also to take a break from the device. Teachers and support staff will periodically check in with you to assess what you’re seeing at home and what we need to adjust. We thank you in advance for your patience and partnership!
10. Connecting safely with friends
Help your children maintain contact with friends through social media and other online technologies. VIS asks parents to monitor their children’s use of social media. Remind your child to be polite, respectful, and appropriate in their communications and to represent your family’s values in their interactions with others. Promote kindness and positive interactions.