There are many ways that the coronavirus has changed our daily lives. One of the biggest is switching from in-person work and learning to an at-home, remote environment.
Remote learning, also known as eLearning, can be challenging to adjust to for both students and parents alike. Now, parents have been expected to be more involved in their children’s education more than ever before, helping their children navigate the world of remote learning.
We know how difficult this can be, on top of many parents working from home, and have some tips to help set both you and your student up for success.
1. Have a designated space for learning
Having a designated spot in your home where your student goes to learn is very important. It will serve the same purpose as a classroom, helping to mark the transition from play/family time to school time. You don’t need to have an entire room just for school, but something as simple as a desk or cleared off table without clutter will help build structure and create a space where learning takes place.
2. Make your learning space personal
Kids love projects; a fun project could be decorating their space to make it feel special. Letting them be creative to make their space personal is engaging for them and goes a long way towards getting your child excited to spend some time there.
3. Make your learning space organized
Kids need to know where to find the things they need. Setting up a system right from the start will help them stay on task and empower them to take control of their learning. Sharing with them the importance of organization as a foundational skill will help them both in their short-term and long-term success.
4. Have a nightly preparation/organizing session
Taking the time every night to put things back where they belong will set your child up for success the next day. In addition, discuss with them at dinner how the day went today and what their schedule looks like for tomorrow. Even 10-minutes of designated discussion debriefing and preparing will help create awareness and communication for both you and your child.
The nightly preparation process should also include making sure they know where all their supplies are, including their notebooks and folders. Additionally, ensure your child plugs in any devices that need to be charged for the morning. This will ensure everyone is ready-to-go the next morning and sets a positive tone for the day.
5. Print out materials they will need on a daily basis
There is something comforting about having a printed schedule available or passwords sitting within arm’s reach. Having to navigate through a computer or apps to find daily information can be frustrating. Instead, make sure your child has any information that is needed on a daily basis printed out and easily accessible. Here is a list of what that may entail:
6. Make physical activity part of your routine
Research suggests that physical activity can boost academic performance.[i] At school, students have dedicated time for physical education and recess. At home, it’s important to offer that same type of experience. Even if your children protest, insisting they get outside as much as possible will help improve moods and keep your children healthy. Set aside at least 20 minutes a day where your child does something physical.
7. Limit screen time when possible
For many children, eLearning means being on a screen for the entire school day. Encouraging your child to turn off the computer or TV when eLearning is done for the day will help mark the end of the school day and ensure they have some non-screen time. While the weather is good, encourage them to get outside to ride their bike, go for a walk, kick a ball around, etc.
8. Leverage your child’s teacher(s)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out for help if your child seems to be struggling. Remember, you and the teacher are in this together, and they may have some tips or tricks to help make eLearning a more pleasant and productive experience for your child.
9. Give your child positive feedback
Don’t forget that this is hard for you, but it’s hard for your child too! Anytime you see your child doing something good, whether it’s paying attention, doing the assignment, or even organizing their desk, tell them with words—they did a great job!
10. Give yourself a break
At-home learning is not going to go smoothly 100% of the time, and that’s ok! We are all doing the best we can. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break if you have a bad day. Remind yourself that we are all learning how to navigate this new environment together.