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Mom shares creative hack to keep kids motivated during distance learning: Start Smart, Stay Smart

Angelica Harper created dividers so her first grade twins could have individual work spaces.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As some children work on attending classes through non-traditional instructional (NTI) from home, it can be hard for them to stay focused.

One parent found a way to get her children excited about heading to the computer for class.

Angelica Harper is both a mom and a teacher at a school in Kentucky, so when distance learning began this new school year, she knew things would get hectic. 

“My husband is right across at his desk working, I’m at my desk working and we have these three kids who are in NTI," Harper said. "What do we do?"

She came up with a plan: The first step was to get everyone in the house on schedule and then give the kids a specific place to do their work.

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“In the schools we use dividers,” Harper said. “Some teachers use them for tests and for privacy.”

Harper created work spaces for her kids. Each one has an individualized space, and it’s really kept them focused throughout the school day.

“I was like, 'Watch we do this for one week or a couple of days and it’s not going to happen anymore.' But every day they get up themselves, they go get their stations.”

While her kids are learning, she is teaching her own students. With dedicated spaces, even her first grade twins, who work next to each other, no longer get distracted.

“It seems as if they are in two classrooms,” Harper said.

The work stations have a schedule, passwords and logins for each platform, a pencil pouch and some motivation to keep working hard.

“They’ve got a lot of words of encouragement from me and dad just saying you can do it,” Harper said.

It’s something simple any parents can make for their students to start separating home from school and maybe even increase productivity.

Coming into the year, Harper said she knew distance learning would be different, but so far she says it’s going smoothly overall.

“There are a lot of  teachers and parents out there who are being rock stars and making this work,” Harper said.

Harper has also created  a YouTube video on setting up the dividers.

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