You may never have thought of yourself as a homeschool mom, but this year has brought in many changes for us all. Online learning may not be your first choice in educating your child, but there are ways you can help them succeed.
Remote Learning Tips For Kids
Becoming a mom that home schools was never on my agenda. But then the world changed and all of the sudden online learning was the only option for my daughter.
As parents, we hope to never get that call from our kid’s teacher saying they weren’t listening, being disruptive in class, or not paying attention. And for the most part, that never happened.
Yet the second I started to help my daughter with her online classwork, she was all of those things and more!
I was getting frustrated, she was getting frustrated. It was a nightmare.
Without a doubt, remote learning has given us many challenges over the last few months. But as the new school year approaches and online learning is the only education my child is about to get, it became imperative to find ways to make it work.
With these simple tips, you can go from a homeschool nightmare to a remote learning queen. All while maintaining a full-time job and not going crazy.
How Parents Can Help Their Kids With Online Learning
Believe it or not, there are ways you can make online learning both fun AND effective for your child without losing your sanity. Here are some tips to stick to when your kid has to do a full-time online school.
1 – Make a Designated School Space
When you work from home, studies show you are more effective with your time if you have a space dedicated solely to your work. A place where you complete your work and nothing else.
This is so the mind is automatically programmed to put itself into ‘work’ mode when you are in this space.
Kids need the same thing. Find a place that becomes ‘school’ and only school. Luckily, kids are small and don’t need much space. So even if it’s a pillow on the floor in the corner of the room with a lap desk, find a place where they do their school work and only their school work there.
2 – Limit Distractions
It goes without saying, but kids get distracted very easily. The more distractions you can limit around them the better.
Take a look at the school space you made for them and look around. If you see anything that could be distracting, remove it.
This could include things like:
- Photo frames
- Stuffed Animals
Yes, even your pets can be a big distraction! My daughter was constantly trying to get our dogs on her zoom calls so her class could see them. So make sure all pets are in another area when your child is doing their online learning.
3 – Maintain a Schedule
Children thrive off of routine and half the problem with an online school is that there is no routine. Maybe their teacher set up a zoom call at a certain time, and that took up a full hour of their lives. Now what?
If you want your kid to get the most out of online learning, you need to make and maintain a schedule. I recommend trying to stick to a schedule as close to the one they used to have.
Not sure what their day looked like? Just email their old teacher and ask if you can get a schedule emailed to you. They typically hand these out on curriculum night, so there are bound to be copies laying around.
Then, set up your day at home just like it was a school day.
During distance learning, our day looks a lot like this:
- Wake up at 7 am
- School Starts at 8 am
- Math from 8 – 9 am
- Science from 9 – 10 am
- 30-minute snack and exercise break
- Reading from 10:30 – 11:30
- Lunch from 11:30 – 12:00
- Recess from 12 – 12:30
- Social Studies from 12:30 – 1:30
- Gym from 1:30 – 2:15
- Life Skills from 2:15 – 3 pm
- School ends at 3 pm
- (Rotate Art and Music in their schedule a few times a week))
It’s not EXACTLY What my daughter did at school. But it covers all the basics and works with our schedule.
(Wondering what “Life skills” is? I’ll get to that in a little bit!)
4 – Limit Screen Time While Learning
I don’t mean limiting the time they are on YouTube and Tiktok. But actually limit how much time they are learning online.
Even my eyes get tired of staring at a screen all day. And their little eyes are not used to it.
So if at all possible, buy some workbooks, or print out hard copies of homework and classwork for them to do.
While learning how to use computers is essential for our kids, so is learning their basic skills like handwriting and note-taking.
5 – Treat It As a Normal School Day
Keep to what your child knows best and treat it like a normal school day.
Have them wake up at their normal time and ‘get ready’ for school. Which means brushing their teeth, their hair, and getting dressed just like they would on a normal day.
Make sure they have all their supplies and school items ready to go.
Even the lunches you prepare them should be similar to school. The more they feel like they are in school, the more their minds will associate online learning with real classroom experience.
6 – Leave Time For Fun
Even though you want your kids to take online learning seriously, it’s important to leave a little room for fun.
Your kids are used to seeing their friends and having a social life when they go to school. Being alone all day in front of a computer can be really lonely.
If you don’t want your kids to hate their remote schooling, do your best to add a little fun into it. Every now and then you can surprise them with a math lesson at the park, or history on a picnic.
7 – Do Stuff Together
Most adults find it lonely working from home and not having social interaction. So it’s easy to assume kids are going to have the same problem. If you have time in your schedule, plan to sit with them, and do some online learning together.
They will be grateful for the attention you give them and be more interactive with their assignments.
If you work during the day and are not home while they are learning, then it might be necessary to rearrange the schedule a little bit. Pick 2 days a week where they can be done at noon and have fun until you get home from work.
Then when you get home, you spend an hour or so doing online learning together.
8 – Incorporate Fun Learning
This is where I use that term, “life skills”. Early on when social distancing started and our kids had to stay at home to do their schooling, I knew I wasn’t gonna be very good at it.
So I let the teachers teach my daughter what she needed and I started teaching her the things I wanted her to learn…and things that would be fun for her.
One day we might do some baking classes. I would teach her kitchen safety skills and she would have to learn measurements with ingredients. And we’d get some yummy cookies out of it!
Some days we even had a “classic movie day” where I would have her watch classic movies where I also felt like she would learn something from. We watched Swiss Family Robinson one day, and Dances with Wolves another day.
We spent time together and she had fun doing activities they don’t usually do in school.
9 – Be Flexible
All of this is a learning process. Online education is new to you, and it’s sure new to your child. Being flexible and willing to change the schedule can be key to making it work for everyone.
Don’t change the schedule every day (you want to maintain that structure for them) but change it week by week if you notice something just isn’t working.
Maybe your child does better with math in the afternoon. Or maybe they struggle with reading and writing and would be better off waiting until you got home from work to learn those things.
10 – Communicate often
Remember that as hard as online learning is for you as the parent, it’s a thousand times harder for your child. Check-in with them often to see how they are feeling and if they are starting to feel overwhelmed or miss their friends.
Offer breaks whenever they need it. Plan field trips together to get them out of the house.
And make sure you are helping them stay on top of their work. Communicate with their teachers, check their assignments, etc.
For all the checking you did while they were actually in school, you’ll need to do it a lot more when they are on their own and learning from home.
Motivate Kids To Succeed At Online Learning
The idea is not to have you become a teacher overnight and be expected to raise kids getting into Harvard. Your job as a parent is to help your child navigate this new world of online learning together.
It may not be easy, but you and your child can get through it and have success doing it.
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- Fun Ways to Encourage Self-Care For Kids
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