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Tips for parents as students begin distance learning

"I think the big thing is to just kind of have realistic expectations."

MINNEAPOLIS — After a rough start to distance learning in Minnesota, it appears day two was much smoother.

On Monday, several school districts reported problems stemming from issues with two popular e-learning providers: Schoology and Seesaw.

"This is going to be a process. It's not going to start off well right away," said Waleid Hassan, a 7th grade math teacher at North View Middle School in Brooklyn Park. "Today was much smoother."

"I think the big thing is to just kind of have realistic expectations," said Amy Nelson, a former teacher and the vice president of the Minnesota PTA.

She and Hassan say one of the most important things parents can do to help their kids learn at home is to establish a routine.

"It's been very hard for them to establish a routine, so they can get into a flow of things, so they can make the most of this online learning experience. That's probably the biggest challenge in all of this," Hassan said. 

Nelson also wants parents to know that there will be an adjustment period. 

"You know, the first six weeks of school are a time where teachers are building routines and building relationships with their students. So that's really what parents are kind of doing right now is working on that timeline," she said, noting that it likely won't take a full six weeks to establish a routine at home. 

Nelson and Hassan both said not to expect that your child will have a full eight hour day of schoolwork. Nelson said that's not realistic, and the time spent on classwork should vary by age.

"Think of it as kind of like homework that kids have, you know the younger the kids, the less homework they should have," she said.

"A lot of [distance learning] is just about maintaining those relationships with people outside of the home," Hassan said.

Parents should also remember that this isn't a normal situation and everyone, parents include, should just focus on doing their best. 

"We can only focus on what we can control," Hassan said. "Right now, all I can focus on is trying to give my students the best learning I can give them and being in touch with them as best as I can." 

Governor Walz says distance learning is authorized through at least May 4. The Commissioner of Education has the authority to extend that, if needed.

Education Minnesota has resources for parents, educators, and students here

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