National Online Learning Day
Hey, what do you know? It's National Online Learning Day on September 15!
The pandemic has, indeed, changed the course of our lives in a big way. It has brought us back to humble beginnings and taught us to appreciate simple pleasures in life. And as social distancing is still strongly recommended in different countries worldwide, the USA included, it's no doubt that online learning has been a great tool in helping our kids cope with the new norm.
While it's true that not everyone can adjust quickly to distance learning, it remains to be the next best option in increasing your child's skillset and knowledge in a unique and flexible environment. So, here are some tips on how to help your child effectively learn at home:
Assign a dedicated learning space for your child
It's ideal to set up a quiet, clutter-free area for your child, especially if he's learning full-time from home. It can be in the corner of the family room, inside the kitchen where you can observe him, or inside his bedroom if he's already a bit older. Make sure that clutter is cleared during learning time so that your child remains focused throughout the sessions!
Creating a schedule is a MUST
Humans are creatures of habit, and creating a learning environment inside your home might seem difficult with no school bells to mark your kids tardy! With no set schedule, kids may feel like sleeping in and never get around to doing schoolwork, so like with everything else, learning requires planning. Assess your child's attitude, learning habits, and personality, and mold a learning schedule fit for him. It's also important to take note of your child's grade level, as middle-schoolers and high-schoolers may tend to learn better during late afternoons and early evenings.
Remove all distractions
Get those games, social media, TV, toys, and pets out of the way! Our homes have lots of distractions in every corner, and it's important to find ways to limit them during our kid's learning time.
Prepare Healthy and Balanced Meals
Delicious, home-cooked meals for recess and lunch are big pluses for your kids when learning from home. It's an assurance that your children are eating healthy and balanced meals (it's prepared by mom, duh!), which in turn, keep their bodies and minds well-nourished and energized. Healthy meals keep us from getting sick, and tasty snacks can serve as motivation for growing kids (because we all know how "interesting" cafeteria food can get!)!
Encourage your child to get plenty of exercises
Did you know that exercise helps us think better? When we move, our problem-solving skills, memory, and attention improve! It's also a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety, which can intensify when isolated. So feel free to encourage your child to develop an exercise routine, and watch its positive impact on how he thinks and learns!
Brain breaks are important
Scheduled breaks are key components of our children's school structure and routine. The same should be offered at home, too! Keep free time, hands-on learning, and quick walks a part of your learning schedule, and share when these are going to happen with your child, so they can measure their day on a clock like they would in school.
Provide positive feedback
In truth, many kids miss receiving reassurance and reinforcement from teachers and counselors, and it's something we can change through online learning. Build a reward system by putting a checkmark, star, or sticker on a work assignment, and help maintain motivation. Praise them when they've completed a task or after finishing a class. Other options that may work well with younger kids are giving a sweet treat, allowing playtime with a favorite toy, or an extra 15 minutes to play before bedtime. High-schoolers will appreciate getting extra tablet time or movie time on a school night as a reward.
Allow kids some downtime with friends
Kids will surely miss their social ties and interactions with their schoolmates and friends. These relationships hone their social and networking skills, which then poses a positive effect on academic achievement. Implementing social interaction into your routine will help a kid stay connected and motivated. Organize a daily video chat with a friend or a group of peers! Allow kids some (online) downtime with their friends and watch them thrive!
Have open communication with your child's teacher
Begin the academic year with an open dialogue with your kids' teachers. A lack of communication can be challenging, particularly in the online learning environment, and being proactive is essential if there are issues and difficulties with schoolwork. Let your child's teachers help you adjust to this kind of school setting-- teachers can help with more than we think.
Online learning is a new experience for most of us. It may mean a few adjustments as you go, as some class activities or subjects are more difficult than others. Try working with your children on more challenging tasks during the times of the day when they are most alert and engaged, and encourage your child to continue working on the things that come more easily when you are not readily available. Be more patient, understanding, and kind. We are all struggling with the new normal, but we'll get through everything TOGETHER.