Thankful to Be Back to School

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the new school year. It might look different than it did last year, but we’re still so excited to be back, learning new things, and feeling that crisp autumn air. 

Though Thanksgiving is still a few months away, at Homeworks we’re feeling a lot of gratitude these days. Gratitude for teachers who are working wonders with their classes, whether in-person, hybrid, or entirely online. As always, they’re absolute champions, helping keep students on track. We’re grateful for parents who have become, unexpectedly, teachers themselves. You’re helping your kids learn lots of valuable life skills – flexibility, resilience, time-management, and many more – along with their algebra and geography. And we’re grateful for our students! They’re being asked to do something pretty odd (along with the rest of us) and they’re finding creative ways to learn in whatever environment they find themselves in this September. Thank you, all!

 

The learning environment might not be quite how we imagine a new school year, but students are learning a ton of new things just the same. Along with their academic classes, students this year are practicing skills that will serve them well in college and beyond. They’re getting to practice more autonomy in scheduling and taking more responsibility for their own learning. Though it might be challenging, they’re being asked to develop greater self-control and be flexible.  Digital and hybrid models of the classroom also allow students to figure out how they learn the best – maybe that means a standing desk or regular breaks for physical movement. Maybe it means listening to recorded lectures more than once, or working with synchronous and asynchronous classes to create their own ideal schedule. This school year, more than ever, is a time to help your students hone their executive functions.

 

At Homeworks, we have a few tips for making digital learning more successful for students. 

 

  • If possible, create a dedicated space for schoolwork. Talk with your student about how they learn and focus best. Maybe the answer is multiple smaller spaces – a desk area for watching synchronous classes and a comfy reading nook for homework, or a spot that lets them stand and fidget while they read. Finding the spaces to help your student differentiate between school and home can be really helpful. 
  • Stay interactive during your synchronous time in class. Raise your (virtual) hand. If your teacher asks for answers in the chat box, make sure to chime in – even if you feel like someone else probably knows. Finding ways to engage, in real time, is a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of classroom sessions.
  • Keep connected, with students and teachers. Attend virtual office hours, send emails with questions, create your own study groups. Many clubs and activities have started meeting online – encourage students to explore groups that interest them. While it can be hard to not be *in* school with your teachers and classmates, we can still find new ways to socialize.
  • Make a schedule, but be flexible. Sit down with students and help them create a schedule for their school days, whether in-person, hybrid, or exclusively distance learning. Work through the process of scheduling things with set times (classes, meetings, appointments, etc) and then put in things like homework, study groups, and other independent learning. Let older students decide how to distribute work and breaks (some like long-haul work sessions, others work best with shorter work times with small breaks). Students who learn to be good managers of their own time are at a serious advantage as they move on to college and the work world.

 

While the move to hybrid or online learning wasn’t something we anticipated, we’re making it work. As with any new project, it might not always go smoothly. Frustrations and setbacks can feel overwhelming. But remember that we’re all new to this – cut yourself (parents, teachers, and students too) some slack. We’re all in this together, and we’ve got your back. Homeworks is here, ready to help with tutoring, both virtually and in-home.

 

You can reach us at sarah@homeworksforstudents.com or call the office 612-871-2043. We’re here to help. 

 

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