How to Adapt - and Succeed - this School Year

September 28, 2020

What a way to start the school year, eh? Current circumstances have completely upended the classroom for teachers and students alike. Many schools have moved to remote learning systems and virtual classes, requiring an all-new approach to academics for learners young and old.
Learning opportunities can take many forms, but even with the latest technology, settling into a school mindset at home can prove to be a significant challenge. So as the school year gains momentum, we came up with some quick tips to help your family balance living, working, and learning at home together.

 ​Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

Designate a Study Station:
Many of us grew up doing homework at the kitchen table. This is a tried and true method - parents can answer questions and kids are away from distracting toys and screens. But for everyday schoolwork and Zoom calls, a cluttered common space is less than ideal. Children benefit from having a consistently quiet spot in the home where they can follow their learn-from-home routine. Younger children need a space for hands-on-learning tools, worksheets and art supplies. Older students may need a full home computer setup. Remote classes require access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet, as well as a reliable internet connection. Many students also incorporate other tech accessories, like wireless headphones, into their learning. A private desk space can be personalized with framed artwork, photos of friends, and colorful lights to make studying more relaxing and fun.

 ​Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Structure Your Days:
Sticking to a schedule is helpful for everyone: working parents need to be able to plan ahead, and students need some of the boundaries like they had when they were still in a regular classroom. Your child’s school may have a schedule and guidance as to when/how homework should be turned in. Help your student plan out their day and discuss how much time their projects should take. Encourage them to keep a daily planner to track assignments, or write their daily lessons on a calendar where they can easily follow along. Breaks to stand up and move around are equally as important. Practice skills around the house together, make lunch, or go for a walk around the neighborhood to look at nature and get some fresh air.

Let Your Home Help Out:
You’ve got enough on your plate to worry about, and while worrying about the kids at-home education should be top of mind, it shouldn’t consume all of your time. That’s where your home automation system can help. Your Smart Home Pro—or you yourself using When>>Then Personalization—can set a “School” scene that turns off TV’s, boots up computers, and flashes the lights to notify the kids it’s time to log into school. All from the push of a button, or a few taps on your phone, so you can get the kids going even when you’re away from home. You can use your home automation system to check in on the kids using your mobile device from down the hallway or downtown, too. Just a few taps and you can ring every touchscreen in the house and communicate face-to-face with the kids to make sure they're staying on task even when you can't be there in person. 

Living is Learning:
The entire school experience has completely changed. And when things don’t feel “normal” it’s easy to lose motivation and focus. Don’t be discouraged if your child has a hard time sitting down for hours in front of a computer screen. As we navigate this difficult and unusual year, it’s important to remember that learning is not separate from living, and there are many lessons to be found in the world around us. Visiting the local library, volunteering at a food pantry, or writing letters to elders are excellent ways to nurture your child’s curiosity and compassion and incorporate learning in day-to-day life. The boundaries of the “classroom” are limited only by your imagination.





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