how to succeed at distance learning

Distance learning is the new way of life in our world. It’s not quite homeschooling, but it’s not quite virtual schooling either. The thing to remember is that no one was really prepared for a crisis situation where such a thing would be necessary, but here we are. Now, we are all just trying to come together to do our best in a less-than-stellar situation.

distance learning

Distance learning can be a frustrating thing. We weren’t ready. Our kids weren’t ready. The teachers weren’t ready. However, I am all about embracing change, especially in situations where there are no other options, and I’m here to share with you how we are (mostly) successfully navigating this first week.

Set up a study area

It’s totally ok if you don’t have a spare room or area to set up a Pinterest-worthy school space. What you DO need is a dedicated area set up with your device of choice, writing implements, and any other resources your student will use. This space can be in your home office, in your child’s bedroom, or even at the kitchen table, but it should be an area devoted to learning.

distance learning

Be ready to learn

Figure out what you will need in advance of your day of learning and have it ready. Little man has learned that it’s better to have conference codes at the ready five minutes prior to his scheduled live calls than waiting til that scheduled time. Check internet connection, test headphones, and take care of all the red tape so you’re not distracted during actual learning time.

Stay organized

There’s a lot of information coming hard and fast, so make sure your students has a system to keep track of everything. Little man has a school planner where he can write assignments and due dates, but any kind of calendar or to-do list will work just fine.

distance learning

Embrace flexibility

Ideally, it would be great if little man could log on in the morning and bang out all his work in one fell swoop. The reality is it doesn’t always work like that. As mornings wear on, more and more students flood our system, leading to system and internet slowdowns and crashes. It’s incredibly frustrating, but everyone is in the same boat. Take lunch, get a snack, work on PE requirements… rolling with it is more productive than getting upset.


Believe me when I say that no one is happy about this situation. When things go wrong, communication is so much more helpful than venting (although there is a place for that as well). If the system is down, let the school know. If your child is struggling to understand a concept or if the system is being cranky, tell your teacher or administrator. Things can’t get fixed if no one knows there is something wrong.

distance learning

Practice internet safety

Parents, this is a big one. I generally advocate for kids to only have devices in common areas, but with so many parents working from home and other siblings also participating in distance learning, this might not be feasible. Be sure to remind your child of your expectations for internet usage. Keep an eye on what they are doing, and don’t hesitate to shut things down if you find them breaking your rules. Everyone has different standards of “acceptable”, and monitoring is the key.

Try not to stress

I know, easier said than done. But honestly, we have enough going on without adding any pressure. Distance learning is not going to go 100% smoothly, but no one expects perfection. Practice patience and grace and help your kiddos to do the same. It’s the only way we’re going to get through this.

How is distance learning working out for you?

Any tips or tricks you would like to share?

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5 Responses to how to succeed at distance learning

  1. Catrina says:

    It must be so difficult for parents and school kids right now. I’m happy that you and the Little man are managing so well – despite all the challenges, including a shaky internet system!
    Excellent list!

  2. Darlene S. Cardillo says:

    Can’t imagine being a teacher or a parent at this time.

    I teach online but to adults.

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