Attention CLMS Families
As we continue to take part in remote learning, we are especially grateful to our family members who are serving as learning coaches while scholars learn at home. We know it is not easy. We know this is not a task that our coaches asked for or want. So below you will find some tips to help you become the best learning coach you can be.
Top Tips for Becoming a Learning Coach
1. Create a Dedicated Work Space for Learning
We, as humans, create association with places. The couch is where I relax, school is where I work, the grocery store is where I suffer, etc.
Your student already has associations with home, and it is often not a place for doing too much school work. If possible, dedicate a space at home for “school.”
For some, that might mean a study, office, or desk in the child’s room. For others that might mean a corner of the kitchen table, or a card table set up in the living room.
Wherever it is, take some time to get set up. Let the student personalize their space, like you might with an office desk, and stock it with the material your student might need (pencils, sticky notes, etc).
2. Make Habits and Routines
An at-home school day is still a school day. Depending on your school, you might have some flexibility in the hours, but students should still be engaging in meaningful learning for 6-8 hours.
Create a schedule of what subjects you’ll work on and when. Block out time for lunch, and time to move or play outside.
Making a schedule means you will be more likely to stick to it.
Also, try to stick to regular routines. Get up, eat breakfast, get dressed. My husband, who works from home, sometimes even “commutes” by going on a walk outside to clear his head and get in the right mindset before he comes back home and goes straight to his office to work.
3. Use Timers
If you’ve made your schedule, use timers to help your student stick to it. In a traditional school building, bells will ring to signal it’s time to move onto the next subject.
Here’s one of the beauties of working at home, when the timer goes off at home, the student doesn’t have to move on right away. Rather it’s an indication that they should be wrapping up. I always tell my students to email me if there assignment is taking way longer than an hour, and I’ll usually edit it for them so they don’t eat up too much of their day on one assignment.
Additionally, if a student finishes long before the timer goes off, that’s a good indication that they might not have done their work correctly or completely and they need to revisit the instructions or go a little deeper with the content.
4. Take Brain Breaks and Move!
Timers can also be used to break up screen time, set timers for scheduled breaks throughout the day and make sure your student is moving and giving their eyes a rest throughout the day.
Here are a couple of great resources or ideas for taking breaks:
5. Socialization Is An Important Part of Learning
Some of the most important skills students learn at school comes from their socialization, and they spend a good part of their day engaged in conversations with their peers.
It’s a difficult thing to find balance in, but important to keep in mind that a little bit of goofing off or socializing online is important for kids throughout the day, as long as they are also getting their work done (welcome to being a teacher!)
6. Use Positive Reinforcements
If students were at their brick-and-mortar buildings they would likely be able to earn points, tickets, passes, and prizes for good work and behavior.
Set up a positive reinforcement system. Decide on a reward (ice cream, TV time, chore passes) and then determine what it will take to achieve it. Everytime a student completes an assignment or produces a piece of particularly good work, they might earn a check mark on a chart or a classic gold star.