Supporting Your Child During Remote Learning

September 17, 2020


Dear Parents:


The administrative team wanted to take a moment and send a message to parents about remote learning. Before getting into specifics, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your understanding in this incredibly challenging situation. The school and family partnership is extremely important during this time. Please know that the Oglesby Faculty & Staff are working extremely hard to ensure that your child has a quality remote learning experience. With that being said please know that there are a couple of things that will not be tolerated and may cause your child to be removed from the Oglesby remote learning program. First and foremost I will not allow any member of the Oglesby Faculty or Staff to be disrespected. In the case that you have a concern please immediately contact administration so that we can work to address


Below are some very important ideas that we want parents to understand about remote learning:


  • Remote Learning is not intended to replicate what happens at school. During traditional learning, the teacher is present and learning takes place in a very structured environment. We have many additional layers of support to help students learn. No matter how well intentioned parents are, it would not be fair to expect that parents will suddenly become teachers without the appropriate background and training nor do we expect them to. 
  • Allow your child to navigate remote learning. Smaller children may need more support in the beginning but gradually release the support. Teachers understand that this is new to everyone. 

10 Remote Learning Tips For Parents

Bare Minimum: These are intended to be a set of basic tips that are true for most remote learning situations.

  1. Set (and keep) a schedule The closer this is to a ‘school schedule,’ the easier it will likely be on everyone. You obviously can (and probably should) revise whatever you come up with at first to fit your circumstance at home (your work schedule, sleeping schedules, etc.). But once you’ve got something that works, stick to it. And this almost certainly means to use some sort of timer to at least clarify how much time is being spent on what.

 

  1. Make sure they have any materials necessary to complete all assignments

Whether its pencil and paper, a stable WiFi connection, log-in information for all accounts, a PDF reader, or note-taking apps or reading strategies–whatever they need to get the work done.

 

  1. Provide an environment conducive to learning

This isn’t always easy. If they’re too isolated, it’s difficult to check in with them. If they’re at the kitchen table, depending on the child or their environment, they may be too distracted. This is even more challenging when everyone is home and the house is full.

Background noise can help, as can music. I also use this app myself to keep me from needlessly scrolling social media or checking for messages too frequently.

 

  1. Create a daily plan

Creating a daily plan isn’t just a matter of scheduling. A daily plan looks at the schedule and then identifies to-do items for that day and combines the two for a specific plan for that specific day.

 

  1. Don’t teach–help them understand

Helping students understand is one of the more obvious remote learning tips for parents. This could be the topic for an entire book because how this happens is complicated and varies greatly from student to student and grade level to grade level and content area to content area.

Imagine the parent of a second-grade student helping them complete an essay on their favorite cookie versus the parent of a high school senior helping them with a Calculus problem or an analysis of Shakespearean versus Petrarchan meter. The former is a matter of sitting with your child, while the latter is going to likely require that you learn alongside your child–or even learn it first yourself and then review it with them after.

The bottom line is that helping your child understand the content is definitely part of the ‘bare minimum’ range of tips.

 

  1. Make sure all work is completed

And any work that remains incomplete is incomplete for a good reason and has a time-bound, actionable next-step (e.g., email the teacher asking for clarification on step 3 of the activity so that you can turn it in tomorrow by noon).

 

  1. Help them check messages and communicate with school

Check for messages daily from teachers and other students and make sure to reply to any messages that require one.

 

  1. Keep in mind that it’s about the child, not the work

This can be difficult for some parents to keep in mind when there is so much pressure (on everyone) to complete the work. And further, this is obviously a parenting philosophy–for some families, it very well may be a matter of discipline to do what you’re told and ‘do well in school.’ If that’s true, this tip may not be useful.

But if you believe that assignments should serve the child rather than the child serve the assignments–or that this is at least partly true–then don’t over-emphasize ‘getting everything done’ over the well-being (not to mention creative genius and curiosity and intrinsic motivation) of your child.

 

  1. Learn to identify the barriers

This is something teachers have to learn early on in their careers–how to pinpoint exactly what’s happening or going wrong (not unlike an automotive mechanic or NASA engineers or computer coder. Diagnostic teaching is one approach that can help here but the big idea is to identify precisely why your child might be struggling: Is it focus? Motivation? Too much or too little structure? Do they need a hug or finger-wagging or for you to sit with them?

And if it’s a knowledge deficit, exactly what do they not understand? When students say, ‘I don’t get it,’ the first step is to identify exactly what ‘it’ is–and this isn’t always easy. Most students don’t know what they don’t know. That’s why you (and an internet full of resources) are there to help them make this an especially powerful remote learning tip for parents.

 

  1. Use school resources

Contact your child’s school, as well as the local school district and state education resources for support. This is especially critical if your child has an IEP or 504 plan and requires additional support and services at school.

 

 

Reminders/Updates:

 

  1. Food Distribution happens daily from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
  2. Contact the main office for username and passwords
  3. Main office can also assist with logging into Google Classrooms.
  4. Technology is available to students who have not received it.


In conclusion, we wanted to share some key points so that you have a better understanding about remote learning at Oglesby. We are committed to learning and changing as we go to best serve your children, and we appreciate your patience through this journey. Be well.