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Learning from Home

These are exceptional times and while it’s important for children to keep learning, there is no expectation that the pace and rigour of a normal school day be duplicated at home. Teachers will continue to provide instruction and parent/caregiver involvement will depend on the age and ability of the child and the time that parents/caregivers are able to give. Every family will determine what works best for them in discussion with their children’s teachers. Make use of what you have available and don’t worry that your child is missing out if you don’t have the latest technology. Simple everyday items and activities offer great learning opportunities.

+ Technology information for parents

The District offers students a variety of technologies to support their learning experience including a VSB student user email account and access to online resources. Parents can find more information on those technologies and how to access them in this guide.

+ Parent contact information

It is important that your child’s school has accurate and current contact information for you on file. If you have had a change in address, email, phone information or emergency contacts you should contact your school to provide updated details.

Similarly, if there have been any changes regarding key information for your child such as custodial arrangements, pick‐up arrangements or medical conditions please contact your school to update that information as well.

+ Routine

Disruptions in routines can be stressful. A regular schedule helps maintain a sense of normalcy and stability. As a family, it's good to set up a weekday schedule including:

  • regular bedtime, wake-up and meal times
  • getting dressed and ready for school (even though they’re at home)
  • time for learning
  • time for breaks
  • daily physical activity
  • daily communication with friends and family

+ Space to work

Setting up home learning space to work can help children focus. If possible, the space should include:

  • a quiet atmosphere
  • good lighting
  • a desk or table at a comfortable height for your child
  • a storage basket or bin to keep supplies (paper, pens, pencils, markers, books, etc.)
  • access to a computer/tablet or other smart device if possible

+ Helping your child

How much involvement you have will depend on your child’s age and needs. Following are suggestions designed for specific age and grade levels. General suggestions for children of all ages include:

  • Let your child see you’re interested in what they’re doing, and be positive and cheerful in your approach.
  • Encourage positive communication with the child (to give and accept instructions).
  • Encourage the development of good work habits and help your child take pride in work well done.
  • Be patient with your child and yourself. This is a new experience for everyone and will take some time to adjust to. The most important thing is for your child to feel safe, loved and supported.

+ Elementary Years

  • Your child’s teacher(s) will be connecting with you regularly with lessons and assignments.
  • When discussing schoolwork, try to keep the conversation lively and interesting. You want your child to be calm, alert and focused, not bored or over stimulated.
  • Gauge how your child is doing —physical activity time can be good after each learning activity or following an extended work period.
  • Take breaks when needed. These may be frequent depending on whether you see your child becoming frustrated or tired. When that happens, it’s okay to step away and come back to the work later.
  • Offer praise and encouragement for things well done and for perseverance; and special praise for improvement over previous efforts. Do not make unfavourable comments. Constructive suggestions, gently shared, are supportive. Overall negative judgments don’t work.

+ Middle Years

Here are a few things to keep in mind while helping your child become an independent learner:

  • Your child’s teacher(s) will be connecting with you and/or your child with lessons and assignments. Work with the teacher to understand your appropriate level of involvement.
  • Help your child organize, prioritize and schedule coursework, assignments, etc.
  • Help your child stay connected to the teacher on a regular basis; communicate directly with teachers as needed.
  • Encourage your child to seek your assistance when needed.
  • The middle years (Grades 6-9) are increasingly social times for your child. Consider creating opportunities for them to socialize remotely. For example, Dungeons and Dragons, Battleship, Checkers, Chess and many other games can be played online or through video chat.

+ Secondary School

Most teenagers in the senior grades can work directly with their teachers on what they need to do without any direct help from parents/caregivers. They will most likely be missing the social engagement of school:

  • Encourage them to keep up with friends and family (virtually).
  • Listen when your teenager wants to talk. Encourage them to figure out approaches and solutions to what they’re working on.

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