A Parents’ Guide to Distance Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how schools operate, with most institutions and online bootcamps adopting distance learning. Online classes also exist for children who want to learn other skills such as coding as part of their childhood education. For parents, it can be tasking balancing parental responsibilities and supporting your child through remote learning. However, you can make the process less stressful by using the right strategies and adopting a positive and open mindset about online learning. This guide will help you support your child and ensure they get quality education when learning remotely.

1. Prepare Adequately for Distance Learning

You and your child must be adequately ready for remote learning. You can assess your child’s preparedness by evaluating their tech skills and ability to use computers and other technologies necessary when taking online classes. Reinforce the importance of remote learning and encourage your child to take more control of their time.

As a parent, ensure that you have the right resources to facilitate distance learning by finding out beforehand from the school what equipment and technologies you need. In most cases, you only require an internet connection and a computer, tablet, laptop, or smartphone to study online. Younger children may need extra materials like marker pens, play-dough, pencils, crayons, and even glue and staplers.

2. Designate a Conducive Learning Environment

Identify and set aside space in your home where your child will be taking their online classes. When choosing the right location, pick a quiet, comfortable, and well-lit area free of distractions. The learning area should also contain all the materials your child needs for their studies to avoid unnecessary interruptions. If you work from home, you can share a space, so they can see your work while they study. It also makes it easy for you to monitor their learning. 

Ensure that the designated learning space gives your child a sense of ownership and empowerment for motivation. You can achieve this by letting them have some of their items in the area, such as hanging their own art projects on the wall. Simple ideas for the ideal learning space include a spare bedroom, home office, or even a communal kitchen table.

4. Create a Routine

Students are used to having a routine in school, making it necessary for effective online learning. A clear schedule helps your child know what to expect so they can prepare accordingly. Before creating a routine, you can consult your child’s teacher about setting up learning times for your child. Also, involve your child when planning each day’s activities and incorporate their favorite activities to create a sense of ownership and boost motivation.

Begin by setting starting times for study, break-times, lunch, and recess. Older learners can utilize planners and event calendars to keep track of their daily schedules. It is advisable to adjust your routine to align with your child’s distance learning if you work from home. Be sure to include time for self-reflection, and break down tasks into smaller pieces for children with attention issues.

5. Maintain Open Communication

Good communication between you, your child, and the teachers can make distance learning less stressful and seamless. Check-in on your child as much as possible and ask about their progress and challenges. Always try to help your child whenever you can, correct their wrongs, and reward their wins with praise and other incentives. You should also keep in contact with your child’s teachers and provide regular feedback about your homeschooling experience.

Motivate your child to speak out and advocate for themselves whenever they need something or struggling with remote learning. Fortunately, most schools have platforms that allow students to address their concerns and seek help. The openness among all parties involved will help conquer the challenges of distance learning and make the exercise a successful one.

6. Encourage Physical Activity

While distance learning may mean more time on the screen for your child, learners don’t have to stay on their devices all through. Encourage physical activities to help reduce screen time and promote holistic development. It is also an excellent way for your child to catch a break, re-energize, and refresh their minds, helping them learn better.

Since online learning can be isolating, physical activity may also be the best way for your child to socialize and interact with their friends. Note that physical activity can be anything from playing outside, exercising, going for a walk, or simply dancing. Depending on your child’s interests, be sure to create time in their daily routine for physical activity to help them stay both physically and mentally fit.

With the numerous responsibilities of parenting, you need to be kind to yourself and manage your expectations. Understand your limits on what you can and can’t do, and don’t give up when things don’t go as they should. Use the challenges as learning opportunities, practice empathy, and explore different strategies until you find what works. Eventually, you will attain the balance you need to provide your child with quality education without neglecting your other responsibilities.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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