School counselors give tips for successfully learning at home

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Counselors at school districts across central Texas are offering advice for students and parents adjusting to learning from home.

They say when trying to adjust to a learning from home environment, setting up a well-rounded routine is key for parents.

“It’s really important that they set a schedule with their kids,” said Charlotte Winkelmann, who’s the Director of Counseling and College and Career Readiness for Hays CISD. “How long. They’re going to work on their assignments for school, take time for breaks, take time to enjoy themselves as a family and to pace themselves”

Winkelmann says parents may need to look at school days from a different perspective.

“We’re not expecting eight hours from 8 to 4, like they are during school,” she said.

Rather, Winkelmann says, parents should strive to keep kids stimulated throughout the day. Aside from required lessons, she suggests activities like board games or backyard sports, and making sure they still get time to interact with others their age.

“They want to be in that class with their friends and they’re not, so we’re encouraging parents to have those FaceTime calls with their friends,” Winkelmann said.

Leander ISD Director of Counseling Services Steve Clark says for some students, this time away from social pressures and academic stress can be a good thing. He says parents shouldn’t stress the small things, instead placing the most focus on making sure kids are grasping the essentials.

“It’s not so much about the grades,” Clark said. “But more about, ‘Have you learned what you need to move on?‘ If not, teachers are going to continue to provide feedback to our students and help them learn that content.”

For kids or teens who are struggling with the changes, school districts are reminding parents that teachers and school counselors are available to help.

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“Just watch for any changes in behavior that become significant, that are not the norm for your kids,” Clark said. “Everyone’s activities are completely different right now, but if you just notice anything that’s out of the norm, that you think is a little bit different and it continues to last for an unusual period of time — you know, longer than a couple of weeks — definitely reach out to someone.”

School counselors are still available to talk to students on the phone or via video chat.

Both Hays CISD and Leander ISD have listed resources for parents online.

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