‘Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.’George Evans
“How can I help my child with virtual learning?” is one question we all asked at some point this year!
The switch to online learning has been overwhelming for all of us including teachers, kids, and parents. If you’re worried your child is falling behind with online learning, here are some tips that will help you and your child not only to sustain but thrive in this challenging time.
Around 90% of children worldwide have been forced into learning from home. Virtual learning was something that we were never prepared to handle or to think about, which we all had to get used to in this changing time.
Many schools and parents are seeing children are falling behind with this unforeseen change. We as a parent can help our children to cope up with this change and in fact, children can thrive with virtual learning.
Here are some tips to help your child maintain focus and stay engaged during this time of distance learning.
Understand Schools or districts expectations
When schools went from synchronous to asynchronous learning, it was the first time for all of us, Schools, people working in the schools and districts were also new to this change. It is always helpful to be vocal and having an open conversation with your child’s teacher and understanding, what is expected from your child as a student, what are the basic things that are expected he/ she “have to” complete or should be able to do.
This will help you to get an idea about the base level that needs to maintain all the way through. When you get a clear idea about this you can get a clear idea of where or how you might need to step in to help your child.
Determine what type of activities work best for your child
In continuation with the previous tip, when you have a clear idea what is the basics that need to be done, it is the best thing to do is to determine which activities or which practices are best for your child, after all we all know our children like no one else!
Are there certain types of distance learning activities that your child prefers over others? For example, does your child work better with synchronous activities where they respond to a live instructor, or in-person sitting one-on-one with you? What learning platforms seem to engage your child more than others? The answers to these questions can be valuable for you and your child’s teacher to help plan for learning experiences that work best for your child.
Create a small set up for your child where he/ she can sit and study. Choose a place that is relatively quiet and has no access to tv or gaming consoles or any other toys which could distract easily. This will help your child to get into the learning zone easily and quickly.
Create a schedule
Creating a schedule and religiously following it, helps to a great extend. Create a set schedule with time for waking up, eating breakfast, getting ready to eat lunch, as if he/she is getting ready for in-person school. When we handle virtual schooling with minimal changes in the routine, it helps us as well as children to ease out with the change.
Create a schedule as to when to do which subject and for how much longer. If certain subjects are taking too much time to complete you can break them up into two different time slots to ease out the stress. When you prepare a schedule for your child you should take into consideration your work schedule too.
When you match the rhythm of your schedule with your child’s schedule it will take out the unnecessary stress from the equation.
Use a checklist for focus
For some children who really struggle with focusing, a basic visual checklist of tasks needed for a particular activity will be helpful. For example, if the child is asked to watch a lesson, read a prompt, and then provide a written response to the prompt, the checklist would have keywords for each of these required activities: watch, read, write. The child would check off each task with you as it is completed, and receive some positive praise or another reward when finished.
The checklist will help you too to monitor your child’s activities and reminding him of things he needs to complete before the deadline. Also, when you create a checklist it gets easier for you to plan your day accordingly. Yes, in another way I am saying plan your day according to your kid’s study schedule.
The checklist will also help you to recognize where your kid needs some extra boost and what are his/her strength.
It is OK to give your child (and yourself) a break
Your teacher does not want your child to be frustrated with or miserable about learning. In fact, teachers spend time trying to make lessons interesting and to tailor instruction to provide the right level of challenge for their students. If something is too challenging, or your child has hit a frustration level, it’s okay to stop the activity and give them a break. It’s also okay to slow down the pace, which means giving your child time to think and process information.
It also means participating in segments of learning one at a time rather than trying to tackle a whole lesson in one sitting. You can give yourself permission to pick that lesson back up another time or another day.
Encourage physical activities
It’s aptly been said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”…. we are not meant to sit in one place staring at a screen for hours!!! Kids are filled with energy which is needed to expend to have a healthy mind. Be their friend, it is a perfect opportunity to make the bond with your child stronger. Have a nice walk, chat about things happening around. It works both ways, they can be your walking partner or jogging buddies too. keep in mind, learning should never be a burden.
Be friends with your kids
School is much more than a place to learn. It serves as a place for kids to socialize and hone their networking skills. Social ties that students have among each other have a positive effect on academic achievement.
I personally feel this is the best opportunity for us parents, to strengthen our bond with kids. The main factor they are missing right now which is the most important part of anyone’s life is friends! While making sure they are studying right or completing their assignment on time, don’t forget to be their friend. Be part of their silly world, strike a conversation with them about their games or characters they like the most. It will help you to get some inputs from them as to how they are coping with this change, how they feel, where they want to change. An open, stress-free mind absorbs the knowledge better.
Every kid is unique and it’s important to find out what works best for your child. Implementing social interactions into the routine will help a kid stay connected. One example is organizing a daily video chat with a friend or a group of peers. School discussion boards, real-time classroom conversations, and email communication are other ways your child can interact with peers.
If a child is struggling with a task and you aren’t there to help, encourage your child to try these methods to get support.
A lack of communication with the parent can be challenging for a teacher, particularly in the online learning environment. Being proactive is essential if your child is struggling in school. If a kid has difficulties with a task on deadline and you can work with the child only during the weekends, the first thing to do is get in touch with the teacher.
We all are in this together and virtual learning is not as difficult or challenging as it seems if we follow these tips.