A few tips and reminders as we all embark on this new experience of “distant learning.” Though I completely agree with Gretchen’s and the Diocese decision, as it is for our safety and the safety of those in our community we hold so dear, I also completely realize that children with learning differences can be very sensitive to change in routine, the unknown of what is happening around them, and can get anxiety pretty easily when they feel out of control of their situation. With that said, distant learning will for sure be a wrench thrown into our kids lives to disrupt even the best scheduled family. So, I am providing you with some reminders and tips to hopefully make this experience as smooth as possible for your child these next couple of weeks.
- Your child has accommodations. Please use them. Even if they don’t usually use them in school, it will probably help during this time. For example: if your child usually doesn’t get worksheets etc. read to them, their mind will probably be wondering quite a bit and this will be very helpful to have them read it and hear it. Or if they are usually comfortable writing but seem overwhelmed, them dictating to you is just fine. These accommodations will keep some sort of normalcy in their life and will hopefully help with stress levels.
- If you would like another copy of your accommodations report let me know and I’d be happy to email it to you.
- If you have questions about any of the accommodations your child has or ones they can use to help and how to implement them at home, email me and I will be happy to discuss with you.
- If you see anxiety or frustration building in your child, it is okay to take a break and/or move on to a different subject for a while and then come back. Give them affirmations to reassure them that it’s okay to have these feelings and that nothing about this whole situation is normal, we just have to do the best we can.
- Now more than ever it is important to have a clean, organized, quiet spot for your child to do their work that is consistent every day.
- Have plenty of supplies on hand. Pencils, pens, computer, lined paper, graph paper, markers, colored pencils, ruler, note cards, etc. I find that Dollar Tree has all of this.
- Making a time frame for distant learning to occur every day at the same time will be helpful in keeping your child engaged, in a routine and getting the material finished. *Keep their school schedule the same for the order of subjects they daily.
- Your child will come home with oodles of materials. Help them separate it all out and get organized. This can be very overwhelming to see all that needs to be finished.
- Separate by subject first
- Separate by day.
- Then only keep out what needs to be done that day and put the rest of the materials away in a safe place where they won’t get lost or damaged.
- Make a visible list everyday of lessons that need to be finished. There is nothing more satisfying that scribbling off items that are complete and seeing your list get smaller.
- Use a timer! Figure out about how long an activity/lesson should take and set a timer. This lets the student know there is an end in sight and will help to keep them focused.
- Take lots of breaks to stretch, have a healthy snack, or get a drink.
- Go outside and get fresh air every single day! *Don’t forget to log your exercise time for Mr. Dahn! Log sheet is on his blog.
- Accommodations, use them! For example: if your child doesn’t usually use Learning Ally for text books but they are feeling overwhelmed, it is totally okay for them to start using it now. If you are not set up on Learning Ally and would like to be, send me an email and I can do that for you. (www.learningally.org)
- Use online resources. Khan academy, Shepard software, and our math book all have amazing resources. There are a lot of online resources, just make sure if you’re searching you are monitoring your child’s activity and that the source is reputable (not Wikipedia, etc.)
- Feel free to email your child’s teachers or me with questions/concerns. We are all available to help during regular school hours.
- As a parent, do your best to help. The teachers at STM all realize it has been many years since you have had to solve polynomial equations, know that facts of WWII, or notice what literary elements are present in a novel. Help your child where you can, but don’t stress if you can’t. Try the other resources and if it still doesn’t help, send their teacher a quick email saying you tried, it still wasn’t clear and they will take it from there.
There is a study menu on my blog for different ideas and ways how your child can study to keep things fresh. I will also post this letter to my blog for your reference.
Thank you so much for all the hard work these next couple of weeks you will be putting into your child’s education, above all the work you already do with them when they are in school. Again, please email me with any questions or concerns you have.
God Bless you and your family,