1.Establish Routines and Expectations
From the first day of Continuity of Learning (CPL) at home, parents need to establish routines and expectations. AISM encourages parents to set regular hours for their children’s school work. We suggest students begin their studies at 9:00am and according to their usual timetable. Keep normal bedtime routines for younger children and expect the same from your Middle School and Senior School-aged children, too. Your children should move regularly and take periodic breaks as they study. It is important that parents set these expectations for how their children will spend their days starting as soon as home learning is implemented, not several days later after it becomes apparent a child is struggling with the absence of routine.
2. Define the physical space for your child’s study
Your child may have a regular place for doing homework under normal circumstances, but this space may or may not be suitable for an extended period of time, as will be the case if this CLP is implemented. We encourage families to establish a space/location where their children will learn most of the time. This should be a public/family space, not in a child’s bedroom. It should be a place that can be quiet at times and have a strong wireless internet signal, if possible. Above all, it should be a space where parents are present and monitoring their children’s learning when feasible.
3. Monitor communication from the School and the teachers
Teachers will communicate with parents through email, when and as necessary. The frequency and detail of these communications will be determined by your children’s ages, maturity, and their degree of independence. AISM wants parents to contact their children’s teachers. However, we ask parents to remember that teachers will be communicating with dozens of other families, if not 100+, and that communications should be essential, succinct, and self-aware. We also encourage parents to have their children explain the technology systems (e.g. Seesaw, Google Classroom, Google Meet) teachers are using.
4. Begin and end each day with a check-in
Parents are encouraged to start and finish each day with a simple check-in. In the morning, ask what is your child learning today? What are their learning targets or goals? How will they spend their time? What resources do they require? What support do they need? This brief grounding conversation matters. It allows children to process the instructions they’ve received from their teachers. It helps them organise themselves and set priorities. Older students may not want to have these check-ins with parents, but they should nevertheless. Parents should establish these check-ins as regular parts of each day. Not all students thrive in a home learning environment; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines need to be established early, before students fall behind or begin to struggle.
A challenge for families with multiple children will be how to manage all of their children’s needs, especially when those children are different ages and have different needs. There may be times when siblings need to work in different rooms to avoid distraction. Parents may even experiment with noise-cancelling headphones to block out distractions.
In the course of a regular school day, your son or daughter engages with other students or adults dozens if not hundreds of times. These social interactions and opportunities for mediation include turning to a peer to exchange a thought or idea, participating in small or large group discussions, asking questions for clarification, collaborating on group projects, and countless other moments. While some of these social interactions will be re-created on virtual platforms, others will not. Human beings learn best when they have opportunities to process their learning with others. Beyond the check-ins recommended at the start and end of each day, parents should regularly circle back and engage with their children about what they’re learning. However, it’s important that your child owns their work; don’t complete assignments for them, even when they are struggling.
Make sure your children remember to move and exercise. This is vitally important to their health, wellbeing, and to their learning. Physical education teachers will recommend activities or exercises, but it is important for parents to model and encourage exercise. Think also about how your children can pitch in more around the house with chores or other responsibilities. Don’t let your children off the hook – expect them to pitch in.
It is imperative for parents to help their children manage the worry, anxiety, and range of emotions they may experience. Difficult though it may be, do your best not to transfer your stress or worry to your children. They will be out of sorts, whether they admit it or not, and need as much normal routine as parents can provide.
9. Monitor how much time your child is spending online
We do not want students staring at computer screens for 7-8 hours a day. We ask that parents remember most teachers are not experts in distance learning and that it will require some trial-and-error before we find the right balance between online and offline learning experiences. Teachers will periodically check in with you to assess what you’re seeing at home and what we need to adjust.
There’s always excitement when school closes. IThe initial excitement of school being closed will fade quickly when students start missing their friends, classmates and teachers. Help your children maintain contact with friends when circumstances permit. Please also monitor your children’s social media use, especially during an extended school closure. Older students will rely more on social media to communicate with friends. Social media apps such as SnapChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook are not official, school-sanctioned channels of communication. AISM asks parents to monitor their children’s use of social media. Remind your children to be polite, respectful and appropriate in their communications and to represent your family’s values in their interactions with others. A student’s written words and tone can sometimes offend or cause harm to others.