Getting Back to School in 2020: How to Prepare for Distance Learning this School Year

This year, schools across the country have begun or already began in class learning or to restart distance learning. How prepared is your household for the 2020-2021 school year? We have a bit of an advantage, seeing as we all got a sample of what to expect from distance learning at the end of last school year. With the summer to prepare, this year should go a bit smoother, right? If you're still unsure about what to expect this year, keep reading for helpful tips on preparing your household for at-home learning success!


Depending on how old your children are and what grades they are in, their schedules may look pretty different from each other. While high school students may have a set schedule of zoom lectures for each class, younger students might have a more flexible time frame to get their work done. Create a plan for all the household students, including time for creative outlets, physical activities, and lunch.

While you're ultimately in charge of the schedule, get your child's input! Try to disperse their favorite subjects and activities throughout the day, so they always have something to look forward to. Make it fun for them by getting a special planner to write out the schedule you make up for them. They'll have a sense of accomplishment when they can check off each completed task on the list.


Whether it's a dedicated corner in their room, a cleared off place at the kitchen table, or their desk in the office, having a designated area in the home for their studies is vital to a student's success. 

No matter what area of the home they're working from, it should be a quiet space free from all distractions. For younger children, make the area fun with homemade versions of the classic decorations teachers fill their classrooms with! Keep in mind, students of all ages will benefit from seeing inspirational quotes and daily affirmations in their workspace. 


Some children are very independent learners and have no problem reading and learning on their own. However, every student has a different preferred learning style. One advantage of at-home learning is that you can take the time to figure out how your child learns the best.

Visual and aural/musical learners often excel in the arts. Offering creative outlets and incorporating music and creativity into their day is a great way to improve their distance learning experience.

Solitary learners thrive when working independently, and logical learners do best with subjects that are more black-and-white concepts like math. While logical learners may need more guidance with abstract topics, they tend to do very well with independent studies.

Verbal or linguistic learners do best just from hearing verbal instructions. If their teacher isn't doing virtual lectures, consider setting aside time to read the course material to help them better understand it. They should be able to work on assignments independently once they're comfortable with the instructions.

For those of you who have social learners at home, consider setting up virtual study groups with friends from their class! These students learn best in a group setting where they can discuss their thoughts and hear from others. Setting some time aside to talk with friends will help them stay motivated with their daily learning.

Lastly, you may have a physical learner at home. Physical learners benefit from constant breaks throughout the day to stretch and move around. They also learn best from touching tactile objects and doing hands-on activities. Try incorporating some at-home science experiments or three-dimensional art projects to keep this type of learner engaged. 


Don't forget that schools have recess and lunch breaks for a reason! While planning the day, leave several different types of breaks in between subjects and assignments. Of course, you need lunch and bathroom breaks, but don't forget about the other ways students need to reset in between classes! 

Schedule one physical activity a day - try YouTube yoga videos, a jog around the neighborhood, or even an at-home obstacle course! Plan art projects to activate their creative imaginations, and collaborate with other parents to schedule a time for kids to FaceTime with each other and get the social interaction they're used to at school.


We all work a little harder with some motivation, and at-home students are no different! Reward your children's accomplishments with special treats! Give the little ones a sticker for completing an assignment, or maybe they get to choose what to order for "take-out night" when they ace their online exam! 

Older kids work together to set goals based on their strengths and areas that may need improvement. If they work hard to raise their grade in the subject they struggle with, go ahead and order them the new hoodie they've wanted!


Overall, this school year will look different than any other, but we will get through it! Your child may feel discouraged being away from their friends and teachers in a familiar school setting. They also might struggle to learn virtually rather than having in-person guidance in the classroom. Ultimately, it helps to prepare for these by having open communication with your children. Remind them that you are in this together and are there to help with whatever you can. Understand that your attitude about the situation will influence how they react, and a little patience and understanding will go a long way.

Know that your teachers are there to help, but this is very new territory for them! Don't hesitate to email them with questions or concerns, but understand that they have dozens of other parents requesting help as well, and they would also appreciate some patience as they teach from home. If your child has particular needs, look into additional resources online or through their school's guidance counselor, as they might need more help than what their teacher can offer during distance learning. 

Finally, don't lose hope! This school year is sure to have its ups and downs, but your positivity and encouragement will make it easier for your kids to navigate their new schooling system. Even if it doesn't feel like an ideal situation, it will be worth the hard work and extra effort when your kids make it through distance learning this year!