The sudden transition to remote learning has left schools, students, and parents at different levels of preparedness. Some schools are simply sending home paper packets, while others strive to conduct online classes.
But even in the best of circumstances, distance learning can highlight challenges inherent in face-to-face learning settings. Studies have shown that online learning doesn’t really work as well as old-school learning and that students who are already having difficulties are likely to struggle the most. However, there are several ways parents and teachers can help remote learning be as effective as possible.
To be successful, online learning requires a lot of the same things any learning environment does, except that distance learning adds additional challenges. Hopefully, these tips can help.
1. Have a dedicated learning space for your child.
It’s crucial to set up your child’s own quiet and clutter-free area for distance learning or homeschooling at home. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should be comfortable enough for learning. For instance, you can convert a kitchen table into a study station. Remove all kitchen items when your child is studying. If you’re going to use the table when it’s time to eat, make sure to put away the school. It is important to clear away the clutter for study time because it helps kids focus.
2. Create a schedule and stick to it.
Children are creatures of habit. With no defined schedule for studying, children might feel like sleeping in and never get around to schoolwork. Successful distance learning requires planning. Check your family’s schedule and find out the best times for learning. Set a strict schedule and make sure everyone follows it. Having a schedule allows the students to focus during that allotted time and makes them feel as if they’re in school.
3. Minimize distractions.
Homes have lots of distractions, including video games, phones, computer games, social media, toys, pets, and TV. Find out the things that distract your child and limit them until AFTER study time.
For instance, if your dog causing a big distraction, you can put your pet in a separate room when the student is doing schoolwork. You should also block devices and gaming consoles during online learning sessions. If you can, turn off your Wi-Fi after working on assignments or remove their phone, to help your child focus.
4. Use a color-coded calendar.
Keeping on top of deadlines can be messy. It is important to set up systems to help your child stay organized. Print out a calendar and mark the due dates. Then help your student plan backward from the due dates. Break an assignment down into steps by listing out specific strategies to complete it. Use color-coding for tasks to make it easier to remember. For instance, use a red pen for Math or a blue pen for Science. Staying organized will help distance learning go more smoothly.
5. Make the study area more comfortable.
Students won’t be able to focus on their distance learning if they are not comfortable. For example, if there is not enough ventilation or the room is too hot, the environment may not be conducive for studying. Cool down your home with an air conditioner to make the room cool and comfy.
Distance learning poses a lot of challenges for both students and teachers. What we can do to help is to improve the school-at-home modality using the tips above. These tips may be small and simple, but they could help the children focus on learning.