OHIO — Online or remote learning may not feel like school, but it still is.
“The same expectations that we had when we were in the classroom, those are the same expectations that we have for online learning,” said Kathi Howard-Primes, CEO of Momentuum Tutoring in Cleveland.
With the new school year fast approaching, establishing a routine early can help prepare students and parents to best succeed in this virtual learning environment.
“We want you to be on time and treat this just like if you had to get up and go to school, so if your class starts at nine, we want you to be ready to go at nine o’clock. We want you to dress appropriately,” said Howard-Primes.
Howard-Primes made a list of tips for parents and students to help them succeed in learning online. She emphasizes that parents and students need to get organized, create a designated learning space, and take breaks to stretch, or even dance during the day — make it fun.
“A learning space could be just a wall and this is your section and I was thinking, wouldn't it be nice even if you had a collapsible desk, TV tray, keep it simple, but just you know that is the space for learning. And when you're creating that learning space, make sure your student has the supplies he or she needs, so when class starts, online learning starts, your student is not running around trying to figure out where are my pencils, where’s my crayons, where’s my makers,” said Howard-Primes.
The Ohio Department of Education offers many resources online for educators, parents, and students.
“We have a reset and restart page specific to helping districts and educators for remote learning or the blended approach. You know, with remote education there’s just so many different strategies, but the reality is that the teachers know what they’re doing, they understand the curriculum, they understand the standards, they understand good instruction. It’s just how do we shift it for that remote environment to support our students,” said Sherry Birchem, from the Ohio Department of Education.
Birchem said parents need to find what works best for their kids. Try and fail, and then try again.
“There’s a little bit of a tough love that comes in there and where you have to let your child do that productive struggle of figuring out that if they don't turn in a couple of assignments, it’s going to reflect on their grades and they’re going to need to figure it out,” said Birchem.
Having three kids herself, she said she has anxiety going into the school year, but urges parents to utilize resources.
“You can go onto our site and find some really high-quality instructional resources, whether it's the Smithsonian, COSI, the Ohio Historical Society. Want to make sure that people know about INFOhio. INFOhio is a free resource for all Ohio educators, parents, and students,” said Birchem.
Birchem said learning online will help students learn key life skills like time management and adaptability, which will make them better prepared for college or a job — a positive to this new normal.
“As a student, what a great way to empower, to gain leadership in your own world, and to own your education. So, as a parent, encourage your child to own it. If they’re younger, create a schedule with what to do that week and let the child cross it off, and praise them,” said Birchem.
Meeting your new teacher through a computer screen isn’t the same as meeting them with arms open and a smile in normal times, but Howard-Primes and Birchem say we have to make the most of the current situation.
“For our students to keep up, we’re going to have to work hard, we’re going to have to all pull together as a community, as a village, and work hard,” said Howard-Primes.
“Parents, take a deep breath. It will be okay. Your child will learn, your teachers want to hear from you. Communicate with your teachers, and we’ve got it, we've got it. We can do it, Ohio,” added Birchem.