5 Tips to Close the Gaps in Distance Learning

by Kimberley McGee
Close the gaps and give kids a boost in distance learning.
This school year is going to be completely different than you imagine, no matter how much you put plans in place. Distance learning has its challenges, for parents and kids. For families with students in special education programs or with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), the prospect of adapting the work and family schedules to at-home learning is yet another crisis brought on by COVID. As parents navigate the new school year’s added online components for distance learning, they are also having to help their child adjust, access curriculum and assignments independently or with limited support and find the individualized support that will help them succeed. I reached out to Dan Stock, co-director of Nevada Educational Advocacy and Tutoring (NEAT) Services LV, to ask what tips he had for parents, and kids, who are struggling with distance learning. NEAT opens its doors Aug. 24 with programs specifically designed to help  CCSD parents and kids who struggle with distance learning. The Homeschool Help Program has small class sizes to help children move forward each day in their studies.

Communicate with Your Child and the Teacher

Make a relationship with the teacher 1:1 to create a bond beyond the monitor and Canvas logins. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your child’s individualized education program, or IEP. Goals can be adjusted. The main goal is to continue to have the child move forward. Some skills may need to shift while the child is working in the home environment. They can advance in other skills and goals. Maybe the goals are moved from writing responses to responding in a video or through typing into the Chrome book.   Concentrate on what the child is doing well, not on what they are lacking. This isn’t easy for anyone, and kids feel that. Reinforce what they are doing well and offer encouragement whenever possible. Understand they are more than likely just as frustrated with the situation. Have a plan on those days when the child just can’t sit in on a lesson or pushes back on having to complete an assignment.  

Schedules for the Win

A parent can assist their child by setting up a schedule. A schedule is key in helping students be successful. Having a daily checklist or visual is a great option. Also, setting up a space where students are able to focus and remain attentive. This limits distractions. A parent should have open communication with their child’s teacher, making sure to ask questions when they are uncertain of how to access anything. Reach out for help or support from others, ask for help with resources.  

Distance Learning and IEP Considerations

  Be prepared to be more involved with your child’s school work. A tutor can be very helpful in taking up some of the slack in a safe manner during the COVID crisis. The schools are required to continue to provide services students with IEPs. Every child is entitled to FAPE, a Free, Appropriate Public Education. It is illegal under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to suspend special education courses or services.

Get Help When You Can

An Educational Therapist is trained to help students in areas where parents may be uncertain. They know curriculum and have different strategies for teaching students who may need more support in different areas. Students usually respond differently to teachers/tutors as well. During distance learning, students are having to rely on their parents more and it would be beneficial to have an additional person support. Educational Therapists also know how to break things down if steps are required, can assess where a student is, and can assist with meeting that need. NEAT is able to offer families 1:1 support, which is something that is not usually offered during school. In the 1:1 support, students are getting exactly what they need. Their learning is catered to them. NEAT is able to give students and parents the time they need to move through content, prior to continuing in their distance learning endeavors. Not only filling in the academic gaps, but also catering to the needs that the student may have in other areas, such as behavior, attending and organization. There is also convenience and flexibility that families definitely need right now because everyone is on a different schedule. NEAT can also help as a support between home and school.

Make Time for Giggles

Set aside social time. Kids need to get some face time with kids their age without having it assigned or as part of their school day. Downtime during the day can include checking in with friends via Zoom or getting outside to play with pets or simply get in a change of scenery. Set up a time for things to be completed and, once that time is over, move on. Don’t focus too long on one thing. Don’t spend hours hunched over homework. Play board games as a family to work on reading, math and language skills. It may be hard, but try to have fun! Learning at home is definitely difficult in many situations, so finding ways to make it fun will help elevate stress! NEAT Services LV for distance learning.

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Tutors in Las Vegas - Vegas Kids Zone August 22, 2020 - 7:54 pm

[…] Some prefer online while others are able to do 1:1 tutoring if necessary and precautions in place. NEAT Services is opening its Homeschool Help Center Aug. 24 for homeschoolers and distance learners. We have noted what area of town where […]

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