Since lockdown started, many parents have had a lot to contend with, particularly regarding school.
- Worries over if the children should stay home, but then miss out on a proper education
- Worries about sending them to school and risking exposure to the coronavirus.
- Or maybe you are more worried about how you are going to cope with three kids on one computer?
Some parents have been opting for homeschooling. But if you don’t want to be fully responsible for your children’s education, doing their schoolwork online also doesn’t have to be a complete washout as you might fear.
Regardless of the struggles you are faced with, I want to assure you that your child can be academically successful studying remotely. In fact, I managed to obtain a bachelor’s degree entirely online. Granted I am an adult, but the same skills I used to succeed can be used to help your child succeed. Hopefully with these tips for online learning, online learning for kids doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Here’s how parents can facilitate a child’s learning:
- Set aside a study zone to help them maintain focus. While this may seem obvious, it really is important to have a place specifically for studying. No TV blaring, no phones or tablets to browse social media, and no pets who suddenly need affection. Each child is different so there is some room for adjusting to what they are comfortable with. Personally I enjoyed having soft ambient music playing, as I found the quiet seemed “too quiet, but proper music was distracting.
- Get properly organized with a consistent study schedule. Some teachers may have a study plan set out already, while other teachers may give a list of work to be completed by the end of the week. Leaving things to the last minute is a sure way to make the workload feel insurmountable and for motivation to hit rock bottom. Instead, use a study organizer or calendar to plan out upcoming assignments. Begin by writing in the due date, then break assignments up into smaller bite size tasks over the week. Study sessions for older children can be around 1-2 hours long, while younger children should stick to 20-40 minutes. Another thing to keep in mind is making study time effective. If your child studies better in the morning, then set them up after breakfast. If they are still half asleep, perhaps an afternoon session would be more productive.
- Make sure their basic physical needs are met. A full night’s sleep, a healthy meal, and physical exercise are all vital to energize the mind. If you find your child fidgeting in their seat, or maybe staring at the screen with that fogged over glazed look in their eyes, It is time to take a break, make a snack, and let them run around outside for a bit. Once they have perked back up, they can return to study mentally refreshed.
- Make sure their emotional needs are met. Now, this one isn’t found in any “self-help” guides, but personally I found this very important in my own study as well as when tutoring. If your child is upset or angry, forcing them to study is only going to make the whole experience negative. Likewise your emotional state is important too. If you are calm, cheerful, and patient, it will help encourage your child and be enjoyable for both of you. On the other hand being stressed, bored, and frustrated with them will be more damaging than helpful. If study becomes a battlefield, it is time for both of you to take a break and change tactics.
- Try to make studying a fun and exciting challenge they can “win.” This last one can be tricky, but if you get it right, it will make all the difference. It is stressful trying to force our kids of any age to do anything, and the best tactic is to try and put a new perspective on it. Try telling your children how awesome it is they get to study algebra in their pajamas! Make up a check list of to-do tasks, letting them tick them off as they go, and reward them for a completed list. Maybe if your child is really struggling to maintain focus, you can implement a break reward system. Every completed study session gets them a set amount of time on the PlayStation, or a trip to the park on their bike, or whatever works for them. When the goals are easily defined, achievable, and rewarded, the entire experience will become more positive for both of you.