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Education has been flipped on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic, as teachers and students are forced to take their learning experience online to keep the elementary school and high school students and personnel protected from the spread of the virus.

While everyone is accustom to how to act within the classroom, they now wade into the unknown of how to approach remote learning. Students may test the limits of their instructors, or grow sluggish in their willingness to learn from the confines of their bedroom. If your kids are having a difficult time taking the school year seriously, here are some tips to help them treat the virtual classroom as if it were in-person learning.

Be kind and log in on time.

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When your school day starts, be sure to give yourself extra time to log on and get your materials settled in. With no travel or commute to school, the only excuse you have for showing up late is a technical error. Give yourself that extra time to avoid any issues with internet connectivity or login errors. If this means an earlier bedtime, so be it.

While teachers have strived to make their classrooms a safe space for their students, the same goes for the virtual school year. Be sure to be respectful of your fellow students within Zoom sessions and online chats. Limit shouting and avoid outbursts, as overlapping commands can throw everyone off from the actual lesson plan. While certain apps are designed to allow for group chats during assignments for elementary school and high school students, make it about the task at hand. Using group text or chat for rude and inappropriate comments about your classmates is uncalled for, and helps no one.

Pajama sets are not classroom-wear.

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As tempting as it may be to roll out of bed in your pajamas and shop online, let sleepwear be just for that, sleep. No one is saying you have to throw on dresses or suits for a virtual class, but wear what you would on a normal school day—tees, jackets, sweaters, leggings, and jeans. Let sleepwear be for bedtime and days off. While it may give you some extra sleep to stay in a pajama set or a robe, it is actually counterproductive to your activities and your mental well-being, as it creates a contradiction within your environment and unable to separate middle school from the middle of the night.

Click on the mute button.

With the online high school or middle school classrooms overlapping in some homes with a virtual elementary school class and a charter school lesson, it is important to limit distracting noises within Zoom sessions. Be sure when logging on to immediately mute the microphone on your end so that anything going on in your household is not caught on a hot mic for your teachers and classmates to hear.

When it comes time to speak, simply turn mute off to answer a question or ask a question of instructors and counselors. This ensures a strong regimen and control and puts you on a greater path to your high school diploma.

Extracurricular activities can still happen.

With many schools limiting in-person interaction even for school clubs and teams, students are left without the outlets that help them unwind and release steam from the day.

Charter academy programs are available online that encourage participation even from afar. You can look into college readiness programs that prepare you for the SATs and other exams, equipping students for the road ahead. There are also programs applauding student achievements like the National Honor Society and those encouraging leadership like Student Government. You can even enroll in programs that are designed with specific career futures in mind like Medical Science and Business Management.

These programs are designed to encourage enrollment from students from all walks of life, no matter their sexual orientation, ethnic origin, or on the basis of race.

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