While we are meeting in person with our students this fall, we learned a lot form our remote teaching experience this past spring, and with at least 100 Michigan schools kicking off the school year with remote learning, there is a strong possibility that you or someone you know will be facing the daunting task of helping a school-aged child stay motivated at home.

Fortunately, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has provided a strategic and comprehensive set of guidelines for educators and parents in various districts, and this will make the process simpler for families. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about how to make the transition to online-only learning.

Special education students are not exempt, though there is potential for remote learning to be more effective for children with certain types of learning disabilities. Here are a few ways you can help boost your child’s confidence, encourage their academic success, and ensure this school year goes smoothly.

Set up a designated learning area. A child who is accustomed to a typical classroom will likely find it easier to learn in a singular designated area of the home, specifically for school, away from high-traffic rooms. Whether they are working on homework or listening to their teacher on Zoom, they will require a quiet space with no distractions.

Help them build a schedule. As homeschool families have known for decades, it is difficult to accomplish much of anything without structure. While some days are likely to be more productive than others, helping your child organize a weekly schedule will help them feel more in control of their academic life.

Be flexible. Depending on the curriculum your school (or district) is using, your son or daughter with learning differences may be allowed some flexibility regarding breaks, deadlines, and pacing. Many students with attention deficit disorder, despite their tendency towards distractedness and hyperactivity, can be excellent self-directed learners. Encourage your child to harness their passionate energy into their schoolwork.

If you are finding the transition to remote learning challenging, don’t worry. You are certainly not alone. Thousands of families in West Michigan are facing the same concerns. If traditional education is no longer working for you and your child, it might be time to consider alternatives. Some of the best special education schools in the country are in Michigan, including Lake Michigan Academy.