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Keeping kids engaged while learning from home

Some San Diego schools are mandating online learning continue through the summer, and Hilary Scharton with Canvas has some tips for parents.

SAN DIEGO — For parents, students, and educators, the past couple of months haven't been easy when it comes to distance learning.

"It is a little stressful right, because it's not something parents are used to," said Hilary Scharton, who works for Canvas - a company that provides learning software so children can attend school online.

Since the start of the pandemic, usage has more than doubled, but the longer kids are forced to learn at home, the more disengaged some have become.

"Our kids have the ability to pay attention for about two to five minutes per year they are old," said Scharton. 

Some San Diego schools are mandating online learning continue through the summer, and Scharton has some tips for parents:

  • Change your expectations, meaning don't force your child to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time without a break.
  • Set up a learning area inside your home.
  • Make a schedule so your child knows what to expect.
  • Have a routine, encouraging your child to wake up, shower, and eat breakfast.
  • And, in some cases, use a timer.

 "Our younger kids don't really understand how long 5,10, or 20 minutes is so set a timer and say when the timer goes off, we're done and we’ll transition and that helps students be more patient because they see the end coming," said Scharton.

If your child's school is not doing summer learning, Scharton said it's still important to make sure your child continues to read and write, focusing on topics they're interested in.

As for teachers, keep in mind, they're doing the best they can, given how quickly schools were forced to close.

According to the State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond, "It is not easy and we hear you loud and clear."

Earlier this week, the California Department of Education hosted a virtual support circle, asking teachers what they're doing to stay sane, and offering ways to help.

"That's my self-care right there, thinking about the positives," said one teacher.

Guidance and resources for teachers and families in K–12 schools regarding high quality distance learning. 

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