Six Ways to Set Your Child Up for Remote Learning Success This School Year
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” And no, we’re not talking about the holiday season. For most parents, back-to-school time is eagerly anticipated. This year, however, many parents across North America are apprehensive about, and even dreading, back-to-school.
No one is quite sure what school will look like this year. Some large school districts in the United States have already decided to stick with remote learning for the fall, while others have committed to a mixed approach of in-school and remote classes. Others still have committed to holding fully in-person classes. The uncertainty has left parents confused and concerned about what their children’s education will look like, and how they can help.
When schools closed in the spring, it was assumed to be a temporary situation. Many parents were home with their children, as businesses were closed and parents either could not go to work or worked from home. Now, as remote learning looks to be a permanent solution in many school districts for the upcoming school year, parents are left to wonder how they can support their children and ensure that they receive the best education possible under the circumstances.
Here are some suggestions on how to make the most out of your child’s remote learning experience.
1.Don’t Expect Perfection.
Even schools with comprehensive resources acknowledge that a forced switch to remote learning is not ideal. Every family’s situation is different, and it’s likely you will face obstacles in this new experience. Both you and your child’s teacher are learning this new way of teaching, and the experience likely will not be as robust as what your child would have had in school – and that’s okay. Children are remarkably resilient and can recover from missed milestones or a less-than-perfect grade. Acknowledge that this is an unusual situation, and grade yourself (and them) on a curve!
2. Customize your Child’s Learning Environment.
There are some positives to remote learning, including the ability to customize your child’s learning environment and experience. If your child has difficulty staying still in at typical school environment, try setting up a standing desk or stationary bike in their at-home study area. Exercise bikes can help kids who have trouble focusing release stress and self-regulate, leading to better learning. Even the colors you use in their study area can have a positive impact. The color green, for example, has been shown to promote restfulness and calm, and can even improve focus. Add a plant for an extra boost, as studies have also shown that natural environments help children learn. However you set up your child’s learning space, try to limit distractions as much as possible and ensure that they can be as comfortable as possible – but not so comfortable that they fall asleep!
3. Don’t Teach. Help Them Understand.
Without easy access to their teachers, your child will probably heavily rely on you for help with their schoolwork. Providing support and guidance is great, but don’t overdo it! Instead, help your child figure out the problem on their own. Give tips and hints, but don’t provide the answer unless they’re truly stuck. This method of assistance, which helps develop a child’s ability to self-learn, is a key component of Kumon. It’s also a great way to help your child get the most out of their schoolwork. They will learn to persevere through challenges and will feel a much greater sense of accomplishment when they solve tough problems all on their own!
4. Praise your Child
Praise can be a great motivator for children. Provide meaningful feedback and be specific in your praise. Commend your child’s actions, not just their achievements. And be positive about mistakes! Let them know that mistakes help them learn, and praise them when they are able to correct their errors.
5. Check in with their Teachers
Speaking frequently with your child’s teachers can be mutually beneficial. You will learn how best to work with your child, and the teachers will get useful feedback that can help them improve their lesson planning and overall support. Remember, you’re in this together. Building a strong relationship with your child’s teachers can ensure that you are able to overcome the rough patches and find solutions to your remote learning problems.
6. Consider Micro-schooling
The previous tips are great for parents who are able to stay home with their children and provide individual attention during school hours. But we know that’s simply not the case for many parents. That’s why some parents are considering micro-schooling. With micro-schooling, families form small groups of about four to twelve kids and work together under the direction of a parent or tutor. This allows students to still benefit from social interaction while lessening the childcare burden on individual parents. There is a lot to consider with micro-schooling, such as an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 and the challenges of how to handle students in different grades with different teachers, but it could be a useful option for many families.
Whatever you do, remember that this is a new experience for almost everyone. Your child’s school, teachers, and peers will be working to figure this out along with you and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember to be patient. Back-to-school time may no longer seem like the most wonderful time of the year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a positive experience for all.