Reminders and Tips for Home Learning

Dear Newton South Parents/Guardians,

We hope this letter find you and your loved ones healthy and well. The COVID19 situation has impacted all of our lives in ways none of us could have imagined.

As home learning phase 2 outlined in April 2 Update from Superintendent Fleishman and recent April 3 Update from Principal Stembridge, rolls out on Monday, we wanted to remind everyone that this home learning  is unprecedented and teachers are also working on the fly to work out the kinks.

First we want to thank the teachers and administrators for everything they are trying do for home learning. We know no one signed up for this and we know there are significant challenges to support our diverse learning student community at South. Many parents have learned in the recent weeks that their version of home learning is overwhelming for both student and parents.

Teachers have already been engaged with students and provided:

  • Non-graded problem sets, writing options, or similar assignments;
  • Reading material or items of interest related to class topics;
  • Links to videos and other online material;
  • and most recently, virtual meeting schedules.

If your child is not checked Schoology, they need to now. In the coming days, look for more specific assignments and instruction from teachers.  

Also, a reminder that course verification for 2020-2021 school year needs to be done by April 8.  Please review the Course Verification April 3 Mr. Hardiman. Students need to log in to Aspen.

Home learning and structure online learning will take shape in several forms. Teachers have already engaged students and setting expectations, weekly assignment due dates, virtual class schedule and office hours (like J block).

We all know how stressful and rigorous high school academics are in a normal school environment. Now forced into a home learning scenario, students and parents should not expect this change to be seamless.  In collaboration with NSHS Guidance Department, we have a few reminders and tips that we hope will help with home learning. 

Home Learning Reminders and Tips:

  • Be dressed and ready for virtual meetings with teachers or online classes – still a safe zone and wear what’s comfortable
  • Keep Chromebooks, calculators charged 
  • Remove distractions like radio, tv, phone during structured learning time – just like school.
  • Student should get their daily planner out, or make a list of tasks for the day and week. Help and guide your teen(s), as needed as they are still developing their executive function skills. 
  • Create a work space – A spot at the kitchen/dining table, a corner on a couch, or a desk. Allow different spaces – whether lying on the ground or sitting at a table – whatever works best.
  • Schedule breaks –  breaks are a natural part of the school day.
  • Let them keep in contact with friends, virtually – Encourage teens to lean on their friends, at a social distance. Being social is still important!
  • Check in but let your teen, where possible to take control of their own learning and not rely on you.

Simple structure is more valuable than you think – wake up/bedtime schedule, home learning blocks, time for family meals and interaction. Life often teaches the best lessons – COVID19 is a major hurdle. As parents/guardians, we can help our teens understand how this world pandemic has changed our lives – all lives and businesses. Remember that home learning is just one small part of their learning now.


May Chiu, Michele Rosenthal
co-Presidents, Newton South PTSO