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Supporting Instruction at Home

← HCPSS 2020-2021 School Year

As we support learning through virtual instruction, the following tips and suggestions are offered to support families in transitioning to a home-based learning environment. Your child’s teachers will be providing specific instruction, learning activities, and assignments that will take the place of classroom learning experiences .

Apoyando la Instrucción en la Casa

A mother working on homework with her student while the father works alongside them on his laptop.

Create a Schedule

Tips for Success

  • Maintain regular daily routines and encourage your student to share when the schedule is working or not working for them.
  • Create a daily schedule that includes time for:
    • A consistent time for starting and ending the “school” day
    • Breakfast & lunch at the “usual” time
    • Accessing instruction by teachers
    • Completing assignments
    • Routines for getting outside and moving during breaks (recess)
    • Taking “brain breaks” from instructional tasks
    • Adequate sleep.
  • Help your student set alarms to remind them of when they need to be online to access the instruction provided by teachers.
  • Post the schedule in a spot that is easy to see.
  • When possible, balance screen time for learning with other resources such as books, printed materials and games.
  • Make time for your student to experience “social” interaction with peers.
  • Make time for digital “recess” (time away from digital devices).

Questions

Questions to Ask Your Student(s)

  • What time of day are you finding is your “best” time of day for doing schoolwork?
  • How do you want to fit in breaks?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Taking into consideration the HCPSS Continuity of Learning expectations and schedules, how can you create a schedule that works for multiple students in the home?
  • What are ways to create a schedule that balances school, work and family time?
  • What are some things that you need to build into your own schedule to maintain a healthy balance?

A Healthy Learning Environment

Tips for Success

  • Reassure your student(s) that although this learning at home experience is new for everyone, you are there to support them and help them be successful.
  • Limit distractions (other devices) and create a space for completing school work that is separate from where eating and play occur, as much as possible.
  • Work together to create a space that is comfortable, quiet, and dedicated to learning during instructional time.
  • Work with your student(s) to make the environment meet their needs such as space to stand and listen to online instruction versus sitting still.
  • If possible, set aside an area to house instructional materials and resources. (paper, writing tools, books, notebooks, resources provided by HCPSS).
  • Help family members find ways to help each other learn, study and practice.
  • Turn the television off during times set aside for learning.

Questions

Questions to Ask Your Student(s)

  • What helps you to focus and do your best?
  • How often would you like me to check on you?
  • Where and how would you like to set up your learning space?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What are some routines or rituals that can help your family signal the start and end of the ‘school day’?
  • How can the family work together to create an environment that is positive and as stress-free as possible?
  • How can you connect with a friend or relative today? (consider virtual meetings, phone calls, mail, etc)

Transition to Virtual Instruction

Tips for Success

  • Keep in touch with other families for community reminders, check-ins, sharing of best practices, and motivation.
  • Make use of the “Discussion Boards,” points of contact, and parent materials provided by teachers in Canvas.
  • Reinforce boundaries and expectations for learning in the home.
  • Agree on incentives for desired/healthy behaviors.
  • Help your student work in Canvas or connect him/her with someone who can assist.
  • If possible, provide headphones or earbuds when students are participating in online instruction.
  • Make sure your student knows how to turn on closed captioning for audio/video online resources.
  • Provide a space for charging devices used for learning.
  • Review the expectations for online etiquette as shared by teachers.
  • Allow time to review your child’s tasks and assignments to support their understanding of new skills and content.
  • Assist your student in accessing any Help resources needed.
  • Encourage your student to keep their skills and learning fresh by accessing optional materials and assignments provided by the teacher.

Questions

Questions to Ask Your Student(s)

  • What parts of Canvas are you used to and what is new for you?
  • What assignments are you worried about from before virtual instruction started?
  • What has helped you stay organized in the past?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What does school-related stress usually look like for your student and how might it look different right now?
  • Who are other adults in your child’s life that can help support them in instruction or during stress? Which grandparents, family members, or friends can they connect with online who can provide support?

Instruction

Tips for Success

  • Remind your student(s) that they are still responsible for learning, although they are not at school.
  • Check in with your student about the learning goals teachers posted for the week.
  • Keep in mind that the way your student may be learning some subjects will differ from your own learning experience. Check out the teacher’s resources for background information on the content.
  • Help your student plan how they will complete assignments such as brainstorming ideas before writing or rephrasing the directions, writing the steps they will take.
  • When offering feedback or advice to your student, consider using sentences/questions that invite them to do the thinking such as:
    • Tell me more about this topic.
    • Which strategy did you use here?
    • Let’s take a closer look at this one.
    • How could we think about this differently?
    • Teach me what you were doing here.
  • Try to avoid being too quick to provide answers–allowing students to struggle somewhat and persevere through challenges is a key part of learning.
  • When your student appears frustrated, try this five-step approach:
    • Review and explain the directions.
    • Clarify the expectations for the final product or assignment.
    • Break down the task into chunks or steps.
    • Explain new vocabulary.
    • Help them develop a plan for completion with time to check in with you.

Questions

Questions to Ask Your Student(s)

  • What parts of online learning are difficult for you? Easy?
  • What was the most interesting part of your day today? Why?
  • What assignments do you have due this week and by when? What do you need in order to complete these assignments?
  • What went well for you today? What do you want to do better tomorrow?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • In what ways can I model patience and perseverance in the learning process?
  • What specific behaviors, efforts, or accomplishments can I compliment today?