Online learning Tips for Parents
How can parents help students learn online?
With schools across the country dismissing for months due to COVID-19, parents, and students have been thrust into the world of online learning or virtual learning. Although not every student is a brilliant candidate for online learning, this will prove to be the new norm for many students. If you have never experienced online learning before, you may have some questions and fears. Here are some tips for parents to facilitate online learning in their homes.
1. Create a learning space for your child.
Your student needs a workspace that is comfortable and is free from distractions. Be sure things like lighting, internet connection, and supplies are readily at hand. Keep the workspace consistent to develop the “I’m in school now” mindset.
Does your child already have a special place to do homework? If your child is learning full-time from home, it’s important to set up a quiet, clutter-free area.
For example, the kitchen table can be converted into a learning station. Turn off the television and remove the entire kitchen items when your child does the schoolwork. When it’s time to eat, put away the school supplies and make it again as a kitchen table.
Why is it important to clear away the clutter during learning time? It helps kids focus.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it.
To create a daily plan isn’t just a matter of scheduling. A daily plan looks at the schedule and then identifies to-do things for that day and combines the two for a specific plan for that particular day.
We are creatures of habit. Without any school bell that marks kids tardy, the kids might feel like sleeping in. Without any set schedule, they might never get around to their schoolwork. Finding time for learning requires planning. Take a look at your family’s schedule and figure out the best times for learning.
Few questions are listed to help you and your child prepare a schedule:
i. Does your child require a lot of help from you to get started? If so, think about when you, another adult, or responsible sibling is with him/her to provide support.
ii. Do you have a middle-scholar or high-scholar? If so, late afternoon and early evening might be when they’re most awake and ready to learn.
iii. Are you building time into your child’s schedule for exercise? Going outside and taking brain breaks can help kids focus and get more done.
iv. Does your family have any contracts to help kids follow rules at home ? Agreeing on when to play video games or watch TV is important when kids are learning full-time at home.
Once you decide when your child will learn, identify that time as school time and stick with it.
3. Reduce distractions.
Keep the learning environment free of as many distractions as possible. Cell phones, personal devices, pets, televisions, and other potential disruptions should be kept to a minimum.
Prepare a list of the things that distract your child and find ways to limit them during learning time.
For example, is the dog a big distraction? If so, then put the dog in a separate room when your child is doing schoolwork?
Are social media or games a big distraction? During instructional time, try blocking them on your child’s device. Another way for eliminating online temptations: After the assignment gets downloaded, turn-off the cellular device or Wi-Fi to help your child focus on his/ her studies.
4. Use a calendar and color-code it.
Put a calendar on or near their workspace to track assignments and due dates. It is easy to get confused when multiple teachers have multiple assignments and due dates. This also minimizes the chances they miss an assignment and you can assist with time management.
It’s important to set up systems that can help your child stay on top of school deadlines. This will help your child stay organized. Post a calendar and mark due dates on it. Help your child in such a way that he can plan backwards from the due dates. Break an assignment down into steps using visual organizers and the specific strategies required to complete it.
You can also use color-coding for tasks. For example, use a red pen for reading and a blue pen for math.
5. Get plenty of exercise.
Exercise helps us think better. Our problem-solving, memory, and attention improve when we move and groove. Physical activities are a natural way for reducing stress and prevent anxiety. Experts think that when we move and get our heart rate up, it has a positive impact on our thinking
Look for family-friendly workouts that can be done at home. To perform physical activity, identify a time and place in your home. Prior to tackling schoolwork, the best time to exercise could be right. Taking exercise breaks throughout the day could be better.
6. See which accessibility features help your child.
Most phones, laptops, and other mobile devices have built-in assistive technology. For example, read aloud or text-to-speech can help struggling readers, and speech-to-text can help struggling writers.
On YouTube, you can adjust the settings to slow down the playback speed if your child is having trouble understanding videos. To show closed captions, you can also change the settings, if it enables your child to read when he/she is listening to videos.
See which characteristics help your child access digital content and pick the ones that suit the needs and preferences of your child (You may want to share Understood tips for teachers on using video with your child’s school.)
7. Don’t teach–help them understand.
Helping students understand is one of the more obvious distance learning tips for parents. It is complicated to know how this happens and varies adversely from student to student and content area to content area and grade level to grade level.
Compare the parent of a second-grade student helping them complete an essay on their favorite cookie with the parent of a high school senior helping them with a Calculus problem or an analysis of Shakespearean verses Petrarchan meter. The first one is the matter of having words with your child, while another one likely requires you to learn alongside your child–or sometimes learn it yourself and then review it with them after.
The last line is that helping your child to better understand the content is definitely part of the ‘bare minimum’ range of tips.
8. Keep in mind that it’s about the child, not the work.
This could be difficult for some parents to keep in mind when there is so much pressure to complete the work. Moreover, this is obviously a parenting philosophy–for some families, it may be a matter of discipline to do what you are told and also to do well in school. If it is true, this tip cannot prove to be useful.
But if you think that assignments are meant to serve the child rather than the child serves the assignments–or that this may be at least partly true–then do not over-emphasize ‘getting everything done’ over the well-being of your child.
9. Reach out to your child’s teacher.
Every time, it is not so easy for the teachers to read body language, so they cannot watch a student nod in a face of confusion or in agreement. Your student is going to have to communicate with the teacher in ways other than speaking. Allow your student to communicate with the teacher, but feel free to guide them in that communication. If it is an email, it should not read like a text message with the help of abbreviations. If you have trouble with technology, an assignment, or understanding a concept, contacts the teacher immediately!
Read another article on 10 Ways Early Childhood Education Can Help Shape Your Child
Online education or learning at home is not easy without family support. Some online schools have started calling parents “learning coaches.” A direct line of communication with the child’s teachers should be established to support your child. Use email, text, phone calls, or maybe even video conferencing to connect.
Try not to worry that you’re interrupting. Don’t just guess, always reach out to confirm, if you’re not sure how to do an assignment. Sometimes, you are also required to set up a day and time each week to have some words with the teacher. You should use this opportunity to chat about your child’s challenges, review future guidance, and understand expectations. If your child is struggling in school, it is essential to be proactive.
10. Look for ways to remove learning barriers.
If your child has learning challenges, it’s important for you to review the online and other learning material the school sends you. Always think that it may not have been planned with your child’s needs in mind. Here are some questions to consider:
- What options are teachers offering to aid struggling readers with written material?
- What options does your child have to demonstrate understanding? For example, if your child has trouble in writing, confirm with the teacher if your child can send a video response.
- Is the teacher including supports to help kids with things like getting organized, identifying the main idea, and taking notes?
In order to identify and remove any barriers, work with your child’s teachers. If it is a challenge for your child, it is most likely a problem for other kids too.
11. Determine your technology supplies/needs
It’s best to have a desktop or laptop computer and a printer available. However, for completing the assignments, you may have to be flexible and utilize personal devices or tablets. It’s possible you may have to re-design some of your space at home to give your students access to the technology they need. Other helpful accessories would be headphones, flash storage drives, and an Ethernet or “hard wire” internet connection.
12. Allow for breaks
Heavy focus and brainpower are required for online learning, so you are required to need to allow for breaks. These breaks should provide some physical activity. The activity can be simple, such as going for a walk, stretching, or using one of open’s Active Home or Active Classroom activities. Remember younger students will require more frequent breaks.
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