How to build a virtual classroom and structure your children’s day

Originally published by Fox News

The COVID-19 pandemic is sparking school closures all across the United States. It’s impacting more than 37 million public school students in at least 37 States so far. So how can parents create a virtual school day at home? 

Fox News spoke with the Director of Leadership Development at K12 online schooling, Joel Medley and his children Brandt and Campbell. 

Joel offered some practical virtual learning tips for parents to help ensure that their students don’t fall behind in their education while they’re at home for the next few weeks:

He recommends several things that he uses with his own children all the time:

1. Set up a space devoted solely to academics

The first is to make sure that you set up a space that is purely devoted to education. This room should be separated from all other distractions. 

2. Create a schedule together

The second tip is to build the schedule of your day with your children. You know your children better than anyone, so work with them to figure out what their passions are and make learning an exciting thing for them. 

Joel knows that his children love history and language arts, so he puts those classes at the beginning of the day to hook them. This gives them momentum to start their day off well and puts them in the right mindset to learn. 

3. Show and tell

Kids have a knack for telling you that they’ve done some work, but anyone who’s been a parent for a period of time knows that, sometimes, that doesn’t mean they’ve done all the work that they’re supposed to do. 

Thus, having your kids to actually show you the work they’re doing helps encourage them to do it whole-heartedly and ensures that they’re getting the most out of their lessons.  

4. Resist the urge to help immediately

It’s natural as a parent to want to help our kids when we see that they’re struggling with something. This is a good thing to do, but it’s important for students to work through their educational problems on their own. It’s okay to let them wrestle with a difficult math problem. That’s how they learn. 

You can certainly provide a guiding hand, but when you do come alongside to help them, don’t take over the problem. Rather, ask them good questions that lead them to correct answer. Then, not only do they get to come to the conclusion on their own, but you get the joy of being able to see them work.

When is the best time to do homework and how long should students work? 

Joel’s children do school work for about six hours a day throughout the week. Some days are longer because there could be a struggle with some of the classes. 

And the best time to do it, really, it’s up to them and you. You know your children best, so structure their day at times when they’re going to be best suited to learn. But routine is important. Students are unlikely to have the discipline to do their work on their own so you, as a parent, need to structure their day accordingly. But there is some freedom to be able to adjust the schedule to meet what they need to do with breaks in the day. 

How does K12 online learning work?

K12 is public schooling at home. This means that Joel’s children have state-certified teachers that deliver a state-aligned curriculum to them directly. Their teachers are in the platform and hold live class connect sessions where they’re able to see and hear the teacher. Additionally, there are some smaller groups based upon need that they’re able to meet with them as well to be able to adjust instruction accordingly.

Brandt and Campbell will take the same state assessments as their peers, but they’re able to learn in an environment that works better for them. 

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