Now that most schools across the country have started up for the fall semester, remote learning has become the norm for many students. While some kids are fortunate enough to go back to school in-person, others will be remote learning for at least one semester, if not longer.
There are benefits to remote learning, of course, but there can also be many struggles. It’s easy for your child to get distracted or feel disengaged, for one example. As a result, it can be just as frustrating for you.
You’re not alone in that frustration. Parents, teachers, and students are all feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted this school year. But, as a parent, it’s important to make sure your child is making the most of their remote learning experience.
So, how can you make sure they stay engaged and on track with their education?
1. Have a Designated Learning Space
Make sure you have a specific area in your home for your child to “go to school” each day. The space should have everything your child needs for a positive learning experience, including:
- A table/desk
- Good lighting
- Comfortable seating
- School supplies
This space should also be free of distractions, as much as possible. That includes your child’s cell phone, unless they need it to do their work. A 2016 report found that students spend one-fifth of their time in class on some sort of electronic device. While they may need a computer or tablet to do their work, monitor them as often as possible to make sure they’re not distracted by those devices.
2. Encourage “Brain Breaks”
Your child might need to be in front of a computer for school. But, it’s important to have them take breaks whenever they get the chance.
Too much screen time can lead to mood swings, lack of focus, headaches, and even insomnia. If your child has a break in the school day, encourage them to get outside for some fresh air and a boost of energy.
Even just a few minutes away from their screen can help them to feel rejuvenated and increase their focus and cognitive abilities.
3. Make it Fun
Do you feel like you’re running out of creative ideas?
Don’t be afraid to utilize the Internet to make remote learning more fun for your child. CodeMonkey, for example, has paid home subscriptions that can be used to teach your child coding in a fun and exciting way. There have also been many educational facilities that have “gone virtual” because of this pandemic, giving you and your child the opportunity to go on a field trip around the world. You can go through free virtual tours of:
- The British Museum in London
- The Guggenheim in New York
- The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
- The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
Since your kids are going to be spending a lot of time online anyway, using educational games can pique their interest in different subjects, including science, engineering, and even art and music. If you notice that they are particularly interested in a specific subject, use some online games in that subject as a way to keep them engaged and excited.
4. Help Your Child Stay Connected
These are trying times for everyone, and that includes children. In fact, according to the CDC, children can experience stress just as much as adults, and it can lead to changes in behavior as well as sleeping/eating habits. Children need to feel a sense of connection with their friends, so allowing them to have a cell phone (if you feel it’s appropriate) can be a great way to give them the “social” aspect of school each day. Give them time to connect with their peers when they aren’t learning.
Additionally, a phone can offer educational support. It can be used as a calculator or a voice recorder, and there are many educational apps and programs that you can download for your child. While their phone use should be monitored, it’s a good idea to find ways it can help your child, rather than be a distraction.
5. Have a Consistent Schedule
Remote learning is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, research has shown that the average student actually retains 25-60% more information when learning virtually, compared to 8-10% retention in a classroom.
Having a daily schedule, just like your child would for in-person school, can get them in the right mindset for learning. Children need routine, so their mornings should always be the same. They should have designated ‘school hours’ during the day, so they can enjoy their evenings and recharge.
Remote learning is an adjustment for everyone, but it’s not impossible to keep your kids engaged. By using some of these tips, you can turn remote learning into something exciting and captivating, and make the experience better for both you and your child.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child learning, the importance of STEM education, and technology. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.