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Florida Virtual School counselor provides parents tips for distance learning

TAMPA, Fla. — Many parents are opting to keep their kids home to give distance learning a try amid the pandemic.

With many districts pushing back the first day of school, you got time to get in line.

“Now that we have time to plan it’s a beautiful thing,” Anne Flenner with Florida Virtual School said.

She recommends parents making a dedicated space for your child. It can be a desk, the kitchen table or an empty guest room.

You also want to get them involved in making the space functional.

“Whether that’s adding some posters that inspire them or whether it’s just getting color-coded notebooks that they’re going to use,” Flenner said. “That actually can bring some excitement for them for this new school year when it’s a really hard time for them.”

Once you got that figured out, it is time to set up what Flenner calls a “pace chart.” It’s basically the agenda your kid is familiar with, but for you too. Some parents put it on a big whiteboard or just a piece of paper attached to the fridge.

“Parents can really do that important part of organizing them so that they can really focus on their job which is to learn the content,” Flenner said.

She also suggests after getting access to the virtual learning platform, go in and click on everything. Then, organize different binders or folders for each course.

If your kids are sharing devices with each other or you, make a folder on the desktop for their own work. Or buy each child their own flash drive.

“The biggest help that will get you in gear for virtual learning… is to throw out what you know about the traditional school day. We call it chunking their time together,” Flenner said. “Most students will work three to four hours like on one course alone to get everything done before they move on.”

Flenner and the crew at Florida Virtual School have been doing this for more than 20 years. They are professionals and they understand we are far from that. And that is okay.

“I want to tell parents take a deep breath and do the best you can,” Flenner said.

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