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How to set your kids up for distance learning success

Educators share their tips to help parents make the most of their student's at-home learning experience.

MINNEAPOLIS — The usual excitement surrounding the start of a new school year has quickly turned to anxiety for some parents because of hybrid and distance learning classes.

Whatever your circumstances, it’s important to prepare adequately and be organized so that everyone is set up for a successful school year. To ease some of that concern we had educators share their ideas on how to get the most out of your child when they’re not in the classroom.

First, create a learning command center. It doesn’t have to be a fancy desk setup, it can something as simple as the kitchen table. Just make sure it’s a designated area where your child works on classes and has a laptop, pens, paper, all necessary supplies within reach. 

Maya Kruger of St. Anthony Middle School says it's important to have a planning calendar in plain view. “Having an easily visible planner that’s not a burden to add to, so you can put your assignments and due dates in there and you’re not holding it all up here.”

With the change to distance or hybrid learning, it’s important to make sure your child isn’t depressed about not going to school every day.

RELATED: Parent panel discusses the new school year

Megan Hall of Open World Learning Community in St. Paul says build excitement and inspire positivity within your child. “Some of that wonderful... regular, normal back to school excitement is still in the air and we can feed that with our kids. And be like, 'You’re so excited to log on because there’s going to be a lot more video chats, a lot more synchronous learning this fall.'”

Even though students have the option of starting on-line work at any time, don’t underestimate the power of keeping a routine. Kruger feels if the amount of decisions students have to make is limited, it creates situations and circumstances where the smart choice is the easy choice.

“Have a set time to wake up every morning and take the choice out of what class to start with. It’s a consistent order for classes that you go through every day, so you don’t have to make that decision of where I start, what do I do first," she said.

Make sure you sit down with your child and help them understand the on-line model. “We’re organizing every class basically the same way, so if you can work your way through one class you can work your way through all of them,” said Hall. Once that’s done, she stresses the importance of teaching kids to create a ‘to-do’ list to work through each day. 

“Step one is figure out what the heck my kid has to do to get his classwork done and then step two is believe in him and be that warm, kind presence.”

Make sure the work area is distraction free. That includes phones. 

“It’s way easier and less stressful for them if we put those things away so they don’t have to make the decision to not check it. It’s not the stress of knowing it’s there and they can’t, it’s making it easy to sit and do school," said Kruger.

And make sure there's some sort of fun or celebration when the day's lesson is complete. It could be playing your favorite song, getting up for a snack or checking that phone.