Being told to implement an online education environment at home has made many parents feel overwhelmed. To be fair, none of us (educators included) were really prepared for this and most of us are learning “on the hop”.
Here are a few tips that may help you create a valuable and meaningful educational experience at home, despite the circumstances.
It is crucial that you create a working environment that will ensure your child’s success and one that allows them to complete their daily tasks and be comfortable without too many distractions.
For older students, they should have a work-space in a quieter room in the form of a desk or table with a comfortable chair. They should not attempt doing any school work while lounging on the couch or lying in/on their beds. Doing so may may lead to distractions such as videos, napping, gaming, etc.
For younger children, thinking about the learning environment is very important – it should not be as simple as setting up a classroom in the living room. Have a dedicated space for online learning, but also make spaces for children to do arts or crafts, a reading corner and encourage some play time outside.
Once a comfortable work-space is established, it is vital that you develop a daily work schedule that is varied and does not have your child constantly sitting in front of a computer, especially for younger children:
• Set a start time and an end time. Include times for short breaks and allow enough time to complete all daily assignments.
• Avoid gaming, videos, or any other technology during break time at all costs. These breaks are designed to give your child a short time away from the screen and unwind for a few minutes. They should grab a snack, get a drink, stretch, and then get back to work.
Do Your Research
As the parent of an online learner, it is imperative that you are aware of the tools and services available to your child. By adequately preparing, and knowing how to help your child, together you can successfully navigate the online educational world.
Take the time to learn your parent portal of the online learning platform, and become comfortable navigating, and reviewing assignments, grades, notes, etc. Just as your child is being challenged to learn a new, and unfamiliar system, you too, must determine the systems your child will use, so that you are more able to assist them, if and when they ask for your help.
In order for learning to be successful, children need to talk, explain, and ask questions about their lessons, and must know exactly who to speak with, and how to contact them for clarification or help. As a parent you need to work closely with your child and help them build the confidence to seek out help whenever necessary.
Don’t hesitate to call or email their teacher, if they have any questions, need assistance, or need advice on how to help your child succeed. Frequent communication between parents and school staff is very important. Lastly, make sure that your child attends every scheduled online class meeting that has been scheduled.
Stay involved in your child’s schoolwork. Believe it or not, sometimes when we ask children about school, we may not always get a straight answer. Rather than merely asking your child how they are doing or coping with online learning, ask them specifically about what they are doing in each subject.
The move from traditional to online learning can be a trying and a confusing time for many students.
However, with a little planning and preparation on your part; using the tools available to your student and developing strong communication and study skills, the leap into online education can be an inspiring and rewarding experience for both children and parents alike!