Parenting tips and tricks by local experts for doing online school at home

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Learning from home poses a lot of difficulty, keeping kids motivated, focused and doing their assignments have been challenges many local families faced in the Spring. But now, they’re working to approach those challenges with new ideas. Local parents and educators came together to bounce ideas off of each other.

“Doing what I could to survive, it was a bit of survival mode,” said Fran Wangu.

Fran Wangu is a mom of two La Crosse School District kids and a toddler. She says distance learning has not been easy, but she’s feeling more prepared for the Fall.

“Having a little more of a structured computer time and new things available, we will be in a better place,” said Wangu.

Fran is one of about 50 parents who attended a Zoom panel session of local parents and organizations to share tips and tricks of online schooling.

The advice given, keep things consistent for your kids.

“First of all routine. Kids really thrive on that routine. They like to have an idea about what’s coming next and there’s a nice flow to the day,” said Michael Scott, of the Parenting Place.

Some of the panelists gave first hand accounts of what they’ve learned from online schooling in the past.

“He is at the kitchen table, so I know he’s actually there. And sitting in a position where I can see his computer screen as we walk by,” said Peggy Maricle, a mom who has experience homeschooling her kids.

And when it comes to motivating your kids to do the required assignments, give them a little leeway.

“When we’re looking at reading, the biggest thing about reading is practice. So it doesn’t really matter what that student is reading, as long as they’re reading for a certain amount of the day,” said Katrina Sletten, a local parent and educator.

But the biggest takeaway for Wangu,

“Having a group of parents available to discuss these things is always, it’s always good because you always get bits and pieces of someone else’s routine, or practices or parenting that you can find useful. And sharing it too is also fun!” said Wangu.

And now that she’s feeling more prepared.

“I think the more that we’re understanding what it’s going to look like, and accepting that it’s happening is making me a little more excited about it,” said Wangu.

Parents attending the panel said they are feeling most wary about keeping their kids motivated when school starts. One suggestion given by panelists was to incentivise learning with activities that appeal to your child. For example, extra outside time, checking more books out at the library and listening to music.