by Terry Rogers
Susan Zunsweller, Milford Public Library’s Teen Center Department Supervisor, is creating help and resources for both parents and teens to help them through virtual learning and home schooling. Zunsweller has created a survey in order to collect information on what types of resources would be beneficial.
“Without parent or teen insight, I have no idea of what to help with,” Zunsweller said. “We really need parents and teens to complete the survey so that we can put this program together. If the program is successful, we may make it permanent for home schooled students.”
Zunsweller explained that there are things parents can do to help their child with the virtual learning format. She suggested developing a routine just like one that is followed during the school year. Creating an agenda each night before going to bed can help prepare a student for the next day from the minute they wake up. Getting up, eating breakfast, completing exercise routines and showering before sitting down at the computer for virtual learning gets teens into the mindset that this is still school and that they must be mentally as well as physically prepared for school.
“It is also important to build in some personal “me” time,” Zunsweller said. “Students need time to decompress from the day’s stress. It is normal for a teen to want some privacy from other family members. They should be allowed to create a quiet or creative time, listening to music or hanging out with friends virtually. The Teen Center has a Discord site that teens can go to and chat with their friends.” The Discord site can be found at https://discord.gg/ZtYdEaW.
It is also important to remember that teens are just as concerned about COVID-19 as their parents. Talking openly about the virus and, if your teen expresses information you know to be incorrect, explaining to them what is actually true. Stressing that they should wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their face is important, but it is also critical to help them understand the importance of social distancing and the need for face coverings. If your teen is involved in sports or will need to spend time with others who live outside the household, suggest that they avoid visiting older people or those who have underlying medical conditions.
“Learning virtually can be overwhelming,” Zunsweller said. “Make sure that if you do not understand what your teacher is presenting in the Zoom session, email them and ask for extra help. It is the teacher’s responsibility to help you, but you and only you can be responsible for figuring out what you do and do not understand. Take notes as you would if you were in a physical classroom. Supplement your learning in other ways, such as internet searches, books or visits to local museums, many of which are now open with limited hours. Zooming is not the same as being in the classroom so think of ways you can extend your learning. If you need help to extend your learning, talk to your parents, teachers, grandparents or call us here at the library.”
Zunsweller asked that all parents and teens in Milford and the surrounding area complete the survey which is located on the Milford Library site as well as the Milford Public Library Facebook page. The deadline for the survey is September 18.