Set Up a Dedicated Desk Space
While practicing distance learning, having a space just for school makes it feel like when you’re there, you’re there to learn. Set it up with all the essentials—pens, notebook, computer, tablet. You can even place a hook near the space so your student can hang their bookbag. We all have limited space, but if you can keep this space to just schoolwork, even better. Being in the space feels like a classroom.
Make a School “Bell” to Go Off Between “Classes”
The bell is one of the most iconic parts of the school experience. It tells you to head to class, when you can be in the hall with friends, and finally when your day is done. Set up alarms to go off before and after your student’s activity changes to recreate this effect. This can make the virtual school experience feel more normal. It also reinforces using time management at home, even though it’s technically for school. You can extend this practice into the weekends, setting alarms before a chore like cleaning and to end the task. Turn it into a competition to see who can get more done during the task time!
Helps Students Set Up Zoom Lunches with Their Friends
Being with friends is likely the thing your student misses the most. Help them set up a Zoom meeting during their lunch time so they can sit at their “lunch table” with everyone they would usually see. Social growth is a huge topic of discussion for removing the classroom environment this fall. If you’re in a socially distanced community, you could also help arrange a weekly picnic lunch with students in the neighborhood. Have the children bring their own blankets and lunches and spread out six feet apart. Any way your student can connect with their friends while safely social distancing will help to stave off those feelings of social isolation.
Recreate a Morning “Commute”
Having a morning routine is often important for students to reinforce time management. Whether your student rode the bus, walked to school, or you dropped them off, this was a time to prepare mentally for the day and is even more important now while classes are virtual. Have your student walk around the block before setting down to their “classroom” or start a new morning ritual such as chores or a guided meditation before class starts.
Pencils Down Time
In the “new” normal, while we are all still staying home, it can be easy to just keep working for parents and students alike. Set a strict pencils down time at the end of the day to recreate that feeling of when the final bell rings, and students can stampede the halls. Sure, there may still be homework that needs to be done, but it can wait 30 minutes to an hour. That end of the day bell and social relaxation are too essential!
Have you created a new ritual or found a tip or trick to make your student feel like home is more school-like? Share in the comments, we'd love to hear what you've tried!