There is no doubt that schooling is going to be very different this year due to the fact that many schools are continuing distance learning or implementing a blend of online and regular classes. To make sure that their education is as successful as possible, here are some helpful tips and bits of advice you can use to aid your child.
Create a dedicated study station
Set up a table or desk that is dedicated to studying. If possible, ensure that this is not set up in the bedroom. As tempting as it might be to attend school classes in the comfort of their bed, your child’s brain needs to study and learn somewhere other than where they sleep. Make sure it is in a quiet space with as few distractions as possible; this might mean having pets in a separate room, so they do not interrupt the lessons or distract your child. If siblings have to share a workspace, make sure you lay down some ground rules, for example, they are not allowed to distract each other or talk to each other during each other’s lessons, how to share resources such as pens, rulers, etc. Most of all, make sure that the overall homeschooling area is comfortable and equipped with everything they might need, from stationery and textbooks to snacks and plenty of water. This way they will not need to disrupt their studies when they get a bit peckish or try to hunt for a workbook.
Get acquainted with the technology
Your children should become familiar with video conferencing platform they will be using, be it Zoom, Google Hangouts, or whichever application their school is using. Make sure that they have a suitable background, and understand how to mute and unmute themselves. It is best if the children keep themselves muted during the lesson unless they have something to say. This will avoid the call from being cluttered with background noise and ensure a better working environment.
Set up a schedule
It is essential to get your child into a structured routine. Create a timetable, so they get up at the same time each day, have a bit of downtime in the morning and schedule when each of their lessons is. Make sure they ‘get dressed’ for school as well. Whilst this doesn’t mean they have to put on a school uniform, it does mean making sure they get changed into clothes that are not pyjamas and are appropriate for school. This will help them get into a school mindset and help them prepare for the school day.
Distance learning does not mean your child has to be completely independent. Encourage them to ask questions and to be vocal in class, although only when it is appropriate to do so. If your child is struggling with some of their assignments, encourage your child to email their teacher to ask for clarification, or see if your teacher has any online slots where they are available for questions. You might also want to consider setting up online study sessions where they can discuss and/or complete assignments together.
Appropriate use of tech
With no teachers to keep a watchful eye over your children, it can be tempting for students to have a quick check on their social media. This could easily turn into a whole lesson of just being on the phone. Therefore you might want to consider a no-phone policy during class time. Whilst technology is clearly a vital aspect of learning right now, it wouldn’t hurt to put a few basic parental controls, such as disabling YouTube and social media sites during school hours. This will help your kids establish a clear distinction between school time and home time, and help them focus on learning. Whilst they are spending so much time online, it might be a good time to teach your children a bit about cybersecurity and some of the potential dangers of the internet.
Take regular breaks
It is really important for your child to take a break from studying and to have some downtime. Make sure to schedule set breaks at regular intervals. This will ensure that you do not lose attention whilst they are working. In these breaks encourage them to go outside, get some fresh air and some exercise. Distanced learning can be quite isolating, so make sure they schedule virtual catch-ups with their friends.
We really hope that your child will have an easy transition back into school life after their summer break. This year will be different due to these unprecedented circumstances we have found ourselves in, however, with the support and a close partnership with the school, it can still be very productive and successful. We wish you and your child the very best of luck for the upcoming school year.