Getting your child ready for online success.
In a non COVID-19 world, we would all be looking forward to coming back to school in person. Sadly, as coronavirus cases surge, distance learning for high school students has become the universal reality.
Bayhill High School students are fortunate as our teachers will lead all of their classes daily with Zoom. Our small class sizes are optimal for this platform allowing students to continue to get the individualized supports they need to thrive.
We understand that distance learning is especially a challenge for students with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities. That’s why we’ve gone above and beyond to innovate our teaching methods and provide engaging multimodal instruction. We’ve even added additional teaching assistants to give extra support to our students in their remote classes.
As teachers, we’re constantly sharing out best practices, what’s working really well so we can all level up. Similarly we want to offer our best practices to families because a big part of what we do is centered in your home.
Here’s our guide to online learning for families. We’ve included tips and tricks for setting up an effective distraction free work space and establishing healthy routines at home to optimize your students’ efforts as they learn, study, and engage with our teaching experts remotely.
Create a dedicated distance learning workspace.
- A large clean desk or table designated for school work
- A comfortable desk chair with back support
- Bright natural light if possible
- Desk Organizers – a plastic bin or several – to store learning tools
- Chromebook or computer for accessing Google Drive and Zoom
- Headphones with a microphone – especially useful for students with auditory processing difficulties, ADHD and dyslexia as they block out background noise to increase focus.
- Strong, consistent internet connection. Consider purchasing a wifi extender or booster if connectivity has been an issue
Encourage your child to make their space their own. They can personalize their zone with a bulletin board for pinning inspiration, keeping their schedule, or making plans with post-it notes.
A recent study at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that live plants facilitate increased cognitive performance, stress reduction and even a reduction of blood pressure for people spending more time indoors.
A workspace near a sunny window with a few live plants could make the ultimate difference for a young student’s performance and state of mind.
What not to do when distance learning.
We quickly learned from our first go-around what does not work for students and teachers.
- Dark rooms. It makes them want to fall asleep and we can’t see them to keep them engaged. PJs and blankets similarly put a student in the mood to “chill” and not to get their work done.
- Too many distractions. TVs and gaming equipment should be in a different room. Other distractions can come from other family members moving around and doing their thing. The students workspace should be as separate from other stimuli as possible.
Getting Ready for distance learning.
A couple weeks prior to the start of the school year, parents can help students establish their daily routines. We know that getting teenagers to develop healthy habits can feel like herding cats, but it is vital to their success with distance learning. Having patience and sticking with it is key to moving towards consistency.
The ideal routine
- Getting up an hour before school, showering, dressing, and eating a healthy breakfast
- Regular daily exercise
- Set time aside for school, homework, and fun.
- Getting at least 20 minutes of sun outside each day.
- Taking breaks from distance learning. Between zoom classes, students should walk around, stretch, eat healthy snacks and drink water.
- Connecting to peers daily. try to arrange for walks, hikes or other safe activities to connect with other Bayhill students and staff.
- Turn off all electronics by 10PM on school nights. We recommend these devices or power cords be removed from a student’s room if they’re unable to manage the temptation. This might not make you very popular but your teen will thank you later.
- Eat a healthy dinner. Eating regularly is very important. Teens should be eating every 2-3 hours.
Wellness resources for sheltering in place
Like all of us, teens need to take care of themselves. This COVID crisis is teaching all of us the value of exercise, meditation, and daily activities that promote calm and wellness. Here are a few resources to help promote wellness in your family. We’re all in this together.
Need help winding down before bed?
Need motivation to exercise?
- 305 Fitness – Free Youtube Dance Party
- Walk the dog or take a hike in nature. Walking is the best and easiest way to get exercise and clear your mind. You’ll sleep better too.
- Writing Prompts that Don’t Suck
- Free drawing classes
- Learn to play the Ukulele
- Learn some cool card tricks