A virtual classroom is the new reality for many. As educators, we miss seeing your kiddos in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your houses into an ideal learning environment! Here are teachers' Top 6 Tips for setting up an online classroom in your home.

girl virtually learning on computer with mother

As schools remain closed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, more parents are facilitating virtual classrooms for their children.

Tip #1: Create a space only for schoolwork

Build boundaries between what is “fun home” and “study home.” Create a "virtual classroom" in your house so that when students enter that area, they know it’s time for school. If you don’t have a desk or a table, create a tent where the learning happens. Designated spaces for work help students understand expectations for that space. In this case, the expectation is learning.

Tip #2: Limit screen time

Easier said than done, but monitoring screen time, even when working online, allows for more accountability in students’ work. If possible, print off worksheets or create offline activities such as playing cards for multiplication or doing dominoes for addition.

Tip #3: Join a group

For kiddos, there are a ton of groups to do distance learning in collaboration or have “after school activities” remotely. Check out K-12, a program that does virtual enrichments. Parents, try joining a parent group for support so that you don’t feel like you are all alone in becoming a “teacher-parent.”

student taking a virtual learning break with notebook and pencil

Students use their executive function skills to plan while limiting eye strain and increasing focus.

Tip# 4: Write a schedule

For many kids, having a schedule (that includes breaks) can be a helpful reminder of the day’s tasks. It’s best practice to follow the schedule to a T. Setting a strong management system will lead to higher results, less stress, and more home-school balance. A visual reminder on the wall or refrigerator can be helpful. Older kids might enjoy a scheduling app like Kidgy. Or, try using a tool that helps you choose schedules for your students. That said, if rigidity leads to conflict, you know your student best. Adjust according to his or her needs!

Tip #5: Create a rewards system

At school, your student is rewarded for excellent work, so why not at home? An example of this could look like using a marble jar. Each time the student displays the wanted behavior (ie: completing work, showing their work, etc), they receive a marble. I recommend sitting down before starting this program and determining the rewards and amounts together with your student. You can also use an online platform for points like ClassDojo.

Tip# 6: Breathe

You are not alone - this time is stressful for most parents. Teachers train for years and get lots of support to teach, and you're not expected to have that! Teachers know that some days just don’t go so well - and for you, on those days, value connecting with your child over teaching them. Please remember to breathe when things begin to get stressful. Join one of our videos or live streams to allow yourself some peace. We will figure this out together, you got this!

On behalf of all educators, thank you for your patience during this time.

In solidarity,