Back to School: Transitioning from the classroom to virtual learning at home

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:27 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some Mississippi students will attend school this year through virtual instruction.

This is uncharted territory for students and parents, but 3 is On Your Side to help families navigate this new territory and make the transition from the classroom to your at-home learning environment a smooth one.

Russ Booth, a school counselor at Clinton's Eastside Elementary, said it all begins with a solid sleep schedule. Set firm times on bedtimes and when it's time to wake up, he said it can help set your student up for a good day.

Next, create a designated workspace for your child and yourself.

“If you’re trying to do things for your job and are trying to be professional, that kind of gives boundaries for the children so they’re not interfering with your work responsibilities,” Booth said. “It also lets them focus a little bit more if there’s less going on around them.”

You’ll also want to make a schedule, and make sure it’s visible. Whether you write it out or print it out, Booth says it’s a good idea so everyone at home knows what’s happening that day.

He also suggests carving out some time for a little fun.

“If they play a musical instrument, let them have some time with that,” Booth said. “If they’re artistic, let them draw or paint. Make sure they’re getting time outside for some part of the day, whether that’s just walking around the neighborhood or playing out in the yard.”

Booth said it’s also important for parents to make sure they give themselves a break as well.

“You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can really help your children,” Booth said. “So, make sure you’re taking breaks and decompressing, de-stressing, and doing those types of things.”

Instead of having the usual big meet and greet on the first day of school or reconnecting with friends, some students will be completing the semester from home.

If your student feels like they’re missing out on experiences they may typically have at school, Clinton Junior High School Principal Tamika Billings suggests talking to them about what will be different this time.

“Prepare students for what that will look like at the beginning of the school year,” Billings said. “Going back at the beginning, this won’t be like a normal school year but we’re going to do our best to make sure that we help the students.”

Billings said communication is key between educators and families, and that teachers will be communicating with parents daily to make sure students’ needs are being addressed.

Some parents might be concerned about how much screen time their student is getting but Billings says it’s a good idea to break it up because too much screen time isn’t a good thing.

“The things that have been great for some of our students is to have at least an hour away a day,” Billings said. “If you have a cell phone or if you’re not doing work, just have an hour or 2 away from that screen time to just have with yourself, if you’re reading or if you’re socializing with people in your home.”

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