You might feel like you’ve almost made it through a semester of school, but thriving in online learning environments is challenging for parents, for kids, and for teachers. Pandemic schooling has challenged families to learn new skills, in addition to juggling everyone’s needs. Hybrid school programs in New York City and remote education for urban families present their own unique set of problems, but luckily there are solutions. 

To have the best chance of success, parents have to pivot their thinking and rethink their priorities. No one can do it all, and it’s important not to put so much pressure on your family that you burn out. Keeping your family grounded during NYC online learning is easier with these tips for remote and hybrid schooling in New York.

Include a “genius hour” to your day

One of the positive things that hybrid learning and online schooling offers kids is flexibility. Learning can go beyond books, and it can go beyond traditional subjects. A “genius hour” is simply a time that a child can explore any subject or activity that their curiosity takes them towards. This might be building a robot, learning magic tricks, writing a short story, memorizing and performing a monologue, sewing, building an urban garden – anything that piques your child’s interest. It’s a great chance to get away from screen time and go towards something active, though using a screen isn’t off the table if that’s a needed component.

Younger kids might rotate through a different activity every day, while older kids might create long term goals and work towards mastery of a single skill. The best part about this is that it’s largely self-directed, which gives parents a chance to do other things and teaches kids valuable skills of independence. 

Go analog for digital learners

Online learning necessarily involves a whole lot of screen time. First of all, parents of online learners have to lose the guilt about the amount of computer time their kids are getting – it’s part of the process. That being said, all that screen time does make kids more anxious and impedes their ability to concentrate effectively. 

Incorporate writing activities whenever you can, even asking your kids to do activities that they could do online in handwritten form. You can always take a picture of it or scan the handwritten version and turn it in. A good ol’ pencil and piece of paper can have a truly calming effect on kids who are inundated with online interactions.  

Give everyone some grace

The most important principle to integrate into your online learning is to give everyone some grace as you navigate online learning and hybrid education in New York City. As resilient and flexible as kids are, the transition from traditional learning to remote learning is a major challenge and represents a huge shift in their expectations and their interactions. It also means a huge shift for adults!

Rigor with support is what we all need to succeed, and that can only happen if we’re committed to balance. Learning through online and hybrid methods means isn’t the same as learning in a traditional way, and naturally the outcomes won’t be the same. Remember – just as much as kids are learning facts during this time, they’re also learning how to cope with change and how to adapt, and those are just as valuable as math facts or scientific principles. 

Whether you’re doing online learning through your NYC public school, hybrid education through a New York charter school, or even urban homeschooling, you’re doing well when your kids are growing. Just as we all have to change the way we think about school in a post-pandemic world, so too do we have to change the way we think about success. You can do it!

Autumn Karen chases words and her three rambunctious boys when she’s not climbing mountains or teaching ghostwriting to college students. Her biggest passion is building community through information and communication.