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Schools have been closed all around the country until the end of the school year in June because of COVID-19 and the shut in mandates.  This has created challenges for students, and parents, that were unanticipated and unprecedented.  Parents and students are now feeling the pressure to cope with and to adapt to home based virtual learning.

In my tutoring practice I am getting feedback that many students are struggling to adjust to this instructional style and presentation and it is difficult, in many cases, for parents to become de-facto teachers so they can help their children.

For parents, here are strategies for helping children focused and productive so they will be successful and avoid falling behind with the curriculum.

Keeping Your Child on Schedule With Their Schoolwork

Typically, when some extenuating circumstance has forced local schools to close, most people go into a ‘snow day’ mentality. Where students, parents and teachers treat it as if it were just a regular day off from school. For many, the first week of quarantine was thought of as an extended snow day, a vacation of sorts, as we all became more aware of the severity of the situation, everyone had to accept the new ‘normal’ and focus on doing what we all need to do to maintain personal success. Click here to set up a personalized learning plan for your family.

Set a Daily Schedule 

First, create a schedule. Encourage your children to have an active role in deciding what hours of the day they will be working. This will give them a greater feeling of control and ‘buy in’.  When is ‘school in’ and ‘school out’?  When is ‘recess’? When is lunch time?  More importantly, once you have a schedule worked out, make sure you stick to it so they don’t fall out of habit.

Get Them Organized 

What do your notebooks look like? Can you find all the papers you need when you need them? This is a good time to get organized and to create a system moving forward. Be sure that you have a system of managing the work that you need to do.  I recommend the Maximum Education system which I have taught to thousands of students.


 How to Help Them Rebound if They Fall Behind

Be sure to keep up with school work and do not allow your child to fall behind.  When a child has numerous outstanding / late assignments it creates a stressful situation.  It also requires extra time and effort to catch up and get par. This is also way having a daily routine / schedule and following the schedule are so important.

Contact Their Teachers

Communicate with teachers by email or other channel.  Let them know if your child is not doing well, or is struggling to stay pace with the assignments, or if they are challenged to learn by the online instructional style.  You can ask if their teacher(s) can offer an extension on due dates, one-on-one lessons, clarifications on the curriculum, or any additional resources that might be useful.  More often teachers are will help when you reach out and ask because they will try to do what they can to help their students succeed.

Get Them Organized 

What do your notebooks look like? Can you find all the papers you need when you need them? This is a good time to get organized and to create a system moving forward. Be sure that you have a system of managing the work that you need to do.  I recommend the Maximum Education system which I have taught to thousands of students.

Stay Social and Make Time For Leisure

Next, kids work best in social environments. Being with friends helps encourage them to focus, stay on task, and keep up with the curriculum. Therefore, try to encourage them to get in touch with their friends over the internet and, when appropriate, work on assignments together and encourage group study.  Children to do associate their homes with school.  They consider home as the place where they can unwind so having to complete all of their schoolwork at home will likely feel odd to them. At times, let them have enough fun so that they don’t feel imprisoned in their own homes.  You should not put education on the back burner, but when planning the schedule be sure to allow time for snacks, exercise, playtime, electronics and TV (in other words – their usual day at home).

It’s chaotic these days and it may stay this way for some time.  It is a huge adjustment for students. Home based education is something that children and parents was unexpected and sudden and something everyone was not prepared for.  The transition may be difficult but is facilitated by having a consistent plan and working that plan every day.  With the right strategy and a little cooperation between children and their parents everyone can succeed so Click here to set up a personalized learning plan for your family.

Parents – Dr Greene is offering a Personalized Virtual Plan for families.  Click here to learn more.

All over the country, students are continuing to learn and educate themselves, though in very different ways than many of them are used to. With schools closed, virtual learning has become the ‘new normal’ as the method of delivery of academic information and to keep the minds or students active, even during this pandemic. However, with nearly all of their children’s education now online, many families are facing some very unfamiliar issues. Therefore, to help your child adjust to their new schooling method, here are the five major challenges that families are facing with virtual learning, and tips to overcome them.

1. Change in Environment

The first challenge is helping your kid or teen adjust to their new environment. Many students separate their lives into ‘school’ and ‘home,’ and it can be difficult for them to merge the two and put themselves in a ‘school state-of-mind’ with distractions every which way. This problem is a mental obstacle rather than a physical one Therefore, it requires a mental strategy to overcome it. The best way to overcome this is to set up a workspace for your child, where they won’t get distracted and they understand that when they are in this space, there are ‘in school’.  This will help them focus on their work, and make distractions seem further away.

2. Technical Problems

A second problem is the access and performance of the technology that students need to use. Many students may not have high bandwidth and strong internet connection needed to keep up with the curriculum. If your son or daughter’s computer does not have the best functioning technology, you should try and get them whatever they need to keep up with their classmates. However, if this technology is, for any reason, unavailable, then all you can do is encourage your children to reach out to their teachers and see if they can provide them with any additional help or resources.

3. Fostering a Sense of Community

As social beings, humans need to be connected with others. Learning, especially, is an activity best done with others, and students who are used to performing schoolwork surrounded by friends and acquaintances may be feeling isolated in these difficult times. To remedy this, suggest to your child that they get in contact with their friends, and maybe even develop study groups during which they will go over the material they have previously learned to sponsor collaboration and connection.  Use the same online technology that they are using for learning for socializing.  This will help reduce loneliness in students and encourage them to keep up with their classmates.

4. Time Management

Time management is also a major problem that many students are having to deal with, especially older HS aged students who are not used to having so much freedom and personal responsibility with respect to their studies. Without a good time management strategy, they may be getting further and further behind as quarantine continues.

This should be handled in two ways. First, try to treat every day like a regular school day. That means waking them up at the same time you normally would, getting them to work at the same time as always, etc. This will create a routine to help kids and teens stay on track. For the second step, you should take a step back. In other words, don’t micromanage your child. Allow them to figure out their work schedule on their own. This will make your child feel less constricted and help them practice the time management skills that they will need later in their lives. You may be surprised by how well they rise to the challenge.

Set times when school is “in” and times when school is “out”.  Be clear on the expectations.

5. Motivation

Finally, after all is said and done, if your child is simply not motivated to learn, they won’t. In class, even if kids and teens get bored, having their teachers right in front of them and their peers to the left and right helps to energize them enough to complete the assignments and get through the day. Without that social foundation, it’s easy for them to lose the will power they need to focus on their work. When most of the world is out of school, and much of the workforce is stuck at home, sentiments like ‘what’s the point?’ can commonly arise in even the most dedicated students.

Trying to convince your kids and teens that everything is normal probably won’t work, because everything is not normal, and they know that. Instead, you should level with them. Acknowledge that this is a unique situation we’re in and that the transition can be rough, but the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stick to our regular routines as much as possible so we can all come out swinging at the other end of this ordeal.

Parents – Dr Greene is offering a Personalized Virtual Plan for families.  Click here to learn more.

Change is difficult enough as individuals, but when an entire society is forced to adapt itself to new circumstances, things can get really hectic, and our children suffer as much as anyone. Even if children would rather do anything else but sit behind a computer and study for hours on end, virtual learning provides them with the normalcy they need to thrive in these abnormal times.

Do you best to establish routine, based on physical structure, time and expectations.

Note: this ‘guest blog’ from “Neuro Noel” Foy provides excellent resources for teachers – and parents.  See below for her bio / contact information.

Teaching stressed students and those with executive function deficits and anxiety disorders places demands and challenges on teachers.  By equipping teachers with information and strategies to decrease classroom stress and boost executive function, teacher have an awesome opportunity to shape students’ brains in the best possible ways.

  • Setting goals (i.e. making goals achievable…not too high or too low)
  • Working memory (i.e. remembering directions or applying steps to a math problem)
  • Self-monitoring (i.e. checking work and making improvements)
  • Effort and Focus (i.e. sustaining the effort and focus needed to complete a task)
  • Self-regulation (i.e. keeping emotions in check, particularly when obstacles occur)
  • Cognitive flexibility (i.e. shifting gears or perspectives and transitioning from one task to another)
  • Flight Mode: space out, bolt out of the room or request multiple nurse or bathroom trips
  • Freeze Mode: give off a “deer in the headlights” stare, become stuck or unable to shift perspective

Neuro Noel Neuroeducational Consultant Noel Foy, commonly known as Neuro Noel, is the founder of AMMPE and Author of A.B.C. Worry Free, a children’s book that provides an actionable approach to managing anxiety and includes tips for educators and parents.  Neuro Noel, is a former classroom teacher and Learning Specialist. She is the founder of AMMPE and Author of A.B.C. Worry Free, a children’s book that provides an actionable approach to managing anxiety and includes tips for educators and parents. Join Neuro Noel’s email list and be sure to engage on FacebookTwitterLinkedin, and Instagram.

As Founder of AMMPE, Noel leads trainings and workshops to empower teachers, parents, students, athletic coaches, and athletes with learning focused strategies that use Neuroscience findings to their advantage, specifically how to decrease stress and boost learning, engagement, motivation, executive function, growth mindset and performance.

Noel received her B.A. in Education/Special Education and her M.A. in American Studies from Boston College. She has served as an educator in various capacities—classroom teacher at Landmark School, Learning Specialist at The Roxbury Latin School, Adjunct Professor for American International College, and Professional Development Trainer for Keys to Literacy.

Noel’s trainings, workshops, and speaking engagements focus on anxiety, executive function, student engagement and/or growth mindset. Noel specializes in building underdeveloped skill sets and mindsets needed to set and reach goals—including how to organize, prioritize, self-monitor, regulate emotions and build cognitive flexibility and positive self-talk. Noel is passionate about equipping her clients with practical information, tools and strategies to help them cultivate environments where students can take control of their learning, embrace challenges, learn from mistakes and maximize success in school, athletics, career and life.