Schools and teachers play an important role in a child's formative years. While a parent wears multiple hats in the child's domestic life, teachers provide the much necessary guidance in a classroom environment. But the pandemic has disrupted regular academic routines, forcing children to learn online. This has given additional responsibility to parents, and most of them wonder they can support their child's learning at home.
Distance learning using digital tools is a new concept for everyone involved. Teachers, parents, and children are struggling to adapt to this situation and yet have to continue learning through virtual resources. Ed-tech products have considerably filled up the gap between classroom and distance learning. But the human void left behind cannot be replaced by machines. In times like these, parents play an essential role in a child's education.
Your kids depend even more on you for guidance and support. As a parent, if you wonder how to help your child with online learning, we have got you covered. Our handy guide will tell you all the why's and how's of helping your kids as they learn at home.
Why Is It Important For Parents To Participate in Virtual Learning?
Schools have a specific learning environment that helps children study and focus better. But when homes transform into classrooms, it can be challenging for your child to concentrate due to numerous distractions.
For a parent, replicating classroom teaching can be challenging. You need to ensure that your kids understand what is taught online and help them with their school work. Without proper guidance, they might end up learning little to nothing, as virtual learning systems aren't the norm.
Additionally, adapting to this new system can be distressing for children. By being involved, you can make sure that your child doesn't feel overwhelmed and alone. Asking about their lessons and assuring them of your emotional support can make your child feel prepared for their virtual studies.
How To Support Your Child When Learning At Home?
Despite multiple responsibilities, helping their child learn better should be every parent's priority. As the whole system is unprecedented, children expect help and the right kind of help with their education can do wonders for their academics.
It is natural for you, as a parent, to want to contribute to a better learning system for your kid. If you want to know how to help your child with online learning, you are at the right place. We have compiled the best tips to make the journey easier for your child, as well as for you.
1. Plan a Daily Schedule
To answer the question of how parents can support learning at home, we first will ask you to plan a schedule and help your child stick to it. A productive at-home schedule involves fundamental academic activities, play-time, and lots of breaks in between.
Depending on your child's attention span, you can keep each activity for around 20-30 minutes. If your child gets restless after sitting for a long time, you can try a mix of seated and physical activities to keep them attentive.
As much as it is essential to stick to a schedule, you need to remember that your home is not a classroom. While school schedules are stricter, at-home timetables can be much more lenient. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when deciding your child's routine. You might need to try a few things to figure out what works best for your kid.
Just like you, your child also has their own preferences. As much as possible, involve your child when planning tasks and choose activities to put up in their everyday routine. This encourages them to voice their opinion and may motivate them to look forward to some of their favorite tasks.
If your kid has a timetable for their classes, remember to accommodate them in your schedule too. At the end of the day, your child should find the routine enjoyable and easy to follow.
2. Have a Dedicated Learning Space
When your child learns at home, the boundary between study and play can become blurred. To prevent this, you can set up a dedicated study space for your child. This will help them concentrate better and also create a sense of personal space. You can be creative with the space you already have. A corner in the living room or in the child's own bedroom works equally well.
A small desk, a learning device, a few notebooks, and pens are all you need for your child's study space. To separate it out, use cardboard pieces or curtains and encourage your child to decorate it by themselves. You can also paste the daily schedule on a wall or their desk for ease of use.
3. Play and Learn
Learning at home is an excellent opportunity to discover your child's learning style and teach them in creative ways. Kids feel comfortable with a flexible schedule, and break times can be used to impart education in unconventional ways. This learning might not only be academic but also contribute to their overall personality growth.
At home, children are devoid of the company of their fellow classmates. This restricts their learning to only academics, and they may miss out on several social skills that can be developed through playing.
It is crucial that you get involved in their fun time. Parents and siblings are the only company at home. For children, work and play can be hard to define. Yet, it is possible to combine both in an enjoyable and educational manner.
For example, a treasure hunt with items of a particular color or jumping jacks for every odd number are some of the games you can involve in their schedule. Remember, even unorganized play contributes to their learning. So if your child wants a longer break, don't treat it as a waste of time.
Games not only help them get physically active but also let them experience a multitude of emotions. It can be tempting to let your child win every time. But in the real world, your child would experience both the joy of winning and the fear of losing. By playing fair, you can introduce them to negative emotions and help them cope in healthy ways.
4. Coordinate with teachers
Teachers usually set the tone and pace of learning for children. In a home learning environment, your schedule should be compatible with that of the teacher. Remember, online learning is as new to the teacher as it is to you, so you can expect a few hiccups here and there. Coordinating with the child's school is one of the basic ways of how parents can support learning at home.
Your teacher might be able to assess your child's academic performance and suggest ways for you to help your child better. As a parent, certain concepts can be new for you. Collaborating with the teacher and sharing your difficulties can help both of you attain a balance in your child's learning journey.
Even for children, forming close bonds with the teacher is essential, as they are one of the few trusted adults in their lives. Through PTA meetings and one-on-one contacts, you can encourage your child to get to know their teachers better.
5. Use online and offline resources
While academic resources are a necessity, kids can learn through various opportunities that are beyond their schoolwork. There are several free online resources such as videos and interactive games that teach concepts in a simple, fun way.
If you are unsure where to find these resources, an online parent forum can help you. Many people want to know how parents can support learning at home. Other parents are usually more than happy to share any resources that they use for their children.
Libraries and museums are also excellent to stimulate your child's visual learning. But due to the pandemic, it might not be feasible to visit these places. Some museums and learning centers offer virtual tours that you can take with your child.
Though the experience won't be at par with actually visiting the place, your child can also discover fun places in the comfort of their homes. And the cherry on top, you can visit places far away from your home through virtual tours, increasing the scope of learning for your child.
6. Set Goals And Rewards
Explaining the purpose of education for a child can be difficult. And on top of that, children have short attention spans and find sitting in a single spot difficult for a long time. You can overcome this by setting realistic goals along with some rewards. They don't have to be anything materialistic. Rather, extra break time or even lots of praise can be very rewarding for your child.
If your kids struggle to understand this system, sit them down and explain it in simple words. Sentences like "If you do ten math problems, you can watch your favorite movie later," or "I am proud of you" can give your child the necessary boost.
This is also an essential step while building independence in your child. Understanding how to help your child with online learning also involves knowing when to step back. To build healthy boundaries, you can let them work for a few minutes on their own and watch them from a distance. If they successfully complete their work without any assistance, shower them with praises and reward them. This prevents them from being overly dependent on you for their school work.
7. Provide adequate emotional support
An essential way in how parents can support learning at home is to provide emotional support. If you constantly hear, "I don't like to study," and "This isn't fun," you aren't alone. Learning without their peers can be toilsome and emotionally distressing for kids. This does not mean they are being lazy or disobedient. They are only being vocal about their feelings and trying to verbally cope with this situation.
As a parent, you can help them better by hearing them out and acknowledging how they feel. It can be easy to dismiss their comments and tell them to "just study." But this has the opposite effect and frustrates the kids. They usually refuse to study if they feel forced and shut off. Instead, you can encourage them to speak out in a healthy way.
Assure them that you are listening and that you understand what they are going through. Most of the time, all they need is someone to validate their feelings and encourage them. You can also narrate similar incidents from your life and let them know that they aren't alone.
8. Prepare for difficult days
Even with a well-planned schedule, every day is not going to be easy. Exams and tests can be especially difficult for your child, who will need additional support during these days. Prepare ahead for such days by having open conversations with your child.
Do they find a particular subject difficult? Are they anxious about their test? Did they perform well in their exams? Understand their fears and offer to help whenever you can. If your child hasn't performed as per your expectations, gently let them know. Remember, they already feel bad about their performance, and your reaction shouldn't add to their fears.
Let them know how they can prepare well and perform better next time. Most importantly, tell them that it is okay to experience negative emotions. This can teach them to handle failure and strategize better for the coming days.
To Conclude: Learning At Home Doesn't Need To Be Difficult
Throughout the years, school learning systems have considerably influenced a child's personal and social development. Now that children are learning at home, parents have to fill up the void that school has left behind. How to help your child with online learning is a question on many minds. The above steps help build a strong educational routine with healthy parental involvement.
It is important to acknowledge that learning at home doesn't and shouldn't replicate the classroom environment. Instead, it should encourage the child to explore beyond their academics. It is natural for you to wonder if you are providing adequate or too much support in your child's learning. But what's important is to maintain a balance and encourage your child to learn independently along with your help.
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