Making it Work: The Distance Learning Checklist

Learning from home can seem appealing when one thinks of unrushed mornings, working in pajamas, and getting up to move around whenever desired. However, while some of the options surrounding distance learning seem amazing, it’s important to give thought as to how well it is working for you. The following checklist is intended to assist your child(ren) and you in making the most of learning in these unusual times and to feel comfortable reaching out to your school if you find that things are not working smoothly.  

We encourage parents to take some time to consider how learning from home is working for the family and for each child. At PCA, we’re committed to partnering with parents, so we want to hear from parents about concerns related to any of the checklist items below. Regardless of where your child attends school, we recommend that you consider the below checklist items and reach out to the school administrators or teachers if you’re in need of support. 

MAKING IT WORK: Evaluate your child’s daily schedule and process to ensure that all the right elements are in place to make distance learning work.

  • Is your child able to plan the day, being sure to add fun activities in the plan? While daily routines are important, variety throughout the week is not only the “spice of life,” it is essential for learning. The brain needs novelty and students need choice for motivation.
  • Does your child take regular breaks? The brain must consolidate information in order to retain it; literally, the brain must “take a walk.” Resting the brain for 10 minutes helps consolidate knowledge.
  • Does your child take time for recall? The brain learns through practiced recall, but in our online environment, our learners are receiving mostly input. Take time to ask questions such as “Compare what you learned yesterday to what you learned today” or “If you could study anything you wanted, what would it be?”
  • Does your child save his/her work often? At PCA, we use Microsoft Teams, which saves work automatically at regular intervals. If you’re not using an online platform that automatically saves, be sure to encourage students to save work regularly! Lost work is most frustrating!
  • Is there a limit to the amount of online work? While the New Hampshire Department of Education says students in Grades 1 – 6 should be learning 5.75 hours per day and those in grades 7-12 should be learning 6 hours per day, that is counting all learning time (e.g., reading, memorizing, drawing, etc.). Help monitor your child’s screen-time and encourage learning that may look a little different. 

If you can check most of these, you are making it work! If you cannot, please contact us; we want to help.  

IS IT WORKING FOR YOUR CHILD(REN)? It’s also important to evaluate your child’s situation and accessibility to resources to ensure that your child is equipped to tackle distance learning.

  • Is your child readily completing work without needing others to motivate or assist? 
  • In developmentally appropriate ways, can he or she access necessary information, use the Internet, and respond to questions with age-appropriate supervision?  
  • Is your son or daughter doing okay with spending so much time learning alone?  
  • Does your son or daughter show engagement in the virtual learning process?  

If you can check these, your child is making this temporary period of online learning work and that is great! 

If you cannot check many of these, noting that there are struggles with focus, mismatch of learning style, or executive skills, please contact your school to discuss options. PCA families may call 603-742-3617 or discuss concerns directly with each child’s teacher.  

To download a printable version of this checklist, click here.

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