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  • Writer's pictureCathy Keller

Successful Remote Learning

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

I know that remote learning was a struggle for many families. It's SO hard to be pulled in so many directions and we were all stressed out by this giant upheaval in our lives, being stuck at home, the unknown, not to mention layoffs, illness, and deaths in the family.

I think the biggest shift for me was realizing that I was SO LUCKY to be able to stay at home. The mindshift that I wasn't STUCK at home but that I was SAFER at home made everything feel possible. I find that mindshift KEY to succes and the basis of everything else. We also got into a bit of a groove and created some structure and space to set us up for success.

Structure and space are the two most important ideas to help productivity. I'll talk about Structure today because I think it's the biggest key. Stay tuned for space tips on Monday!

Structure: Make a Plan

If a student is under 12 or older but struggles with organization, do this first thing in the morning over breakfast. If they're over 12 or so, they should be able to do it themselves.

Step 1: Make a list of everything to accomplish that day. (Parents, feel free to add chores to this list)

Step 2: Estimate how long each task will take and write that next to the task.

Step 3: Schedule things that need to happen at particular times, like class video calls.

Step 4: Schedule the easiest fastest thing first thing in the morning to feel a sense of accomplishment..

Step 5: Schedule the hardest thing second. You'll feel so much more prepared to tackle the rest with that out of the way!

Step 6: Fill in other things in the open time slots.

You can just write these down in order on a checklist, or you can try something called "timeblocking." This TikTok video explains it really well, and I liked her design so much I downloaded it and printed it on a notepad for myself. (I wish I could just use digital checklists, and I use Google Keep for a lot, but in the end I'm a paper and pen kind of person.) I'm going to get one for my freshman son if switch to remote learning.

For my 9 year olds, I am using something similar, but they need more help keeping track of time but they don't need to manage their time as strictly. Also, they need a big fat visual reminder of what comes next. So I designed this poster and printed one for each of them a 16 x 20 laminated poster. We'll help them fill it out every morning with a dry erase marker and then they can check off tasks as they finish them.

Click HERE download a free printable checklist. I made this into a poster for each of my kids at VistaPrint. You can also make it a paper notepad, if you think that would be easier for your kids (you may have to tinker with the dimensions if you do this). I'll also write a time of any video calls in the comment section and have them set a reminder on Alexa to keep track of time.

PRO TIP: I left a blank notes section at the bottom where I plan to write times when we're unavailable. My husband and I will both have video conferences that can't be interrupted, and the kids can use that time to read, do screen time, have "recess" outside, whatever.

I don't know about you, but when I sit down to work, I have a little routine. I get a cup of tea, a small bowl of munchies (sometimes healthy, sometimes not), warm slippers, my glasses, and a good pen. It has become like a little routine that gets me pumped up to work. The little treats (the snacks, the tea, the pen I like) help get me excited to accomplish things.

What worked well for you or your kids during remote learning last spring? Please share in the comments!

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