The parents/guardians guide to E-learning
E-learning is new, it is a change. But change is hardly ever an easy thing, especially for young kids, it was probably tough telling your children they could no longer attend school physically, or most school activities will take place online, or they had learn at home, no more dressing up for school or break time with their friends. This change also affects the parents and guardians. Hopefully, as a parent reading this, you are able to get useful tips that ease the online learning process with your children.
Parents and guardians have a major role to play in E-learning, especially for kids that are fully into E-learning. There are a lot of distractions at home and children may find it hard to concentrate because of their short attention spans, with distractions like games, getting them to focus may be tasking sometimes.
The environment which learning takes place is important, learning should take place in a conducive environment. So here’s the first tip, if possible, you can have a dedicated space or room for learning, to sort of create the classroom experience, the children can hang up their artworks, educational posters, have stationery available, their books and workbooks, devices, etc arranged in the space. If you do not have a spare room for this, remember you can always improvise, you can use the living room or dining area, basically whatever you can work out with the space you have.
Set goals and rules
One thing that will help with learning is set goals to achieve and rules to follow. The rules make it easy to reach goals, an example of goals will include subjects to be covered by the end of the week/month and for rules, it could be “no multitasking during classes” or “no phones during class hours”. Research has shown that multitasking during online classes gets children distracted hence, taking them longer time to finish tasks and assignments.
This would be of tremendous help to you, it would mean having a personal time table for your kids learning to keep track of all schooling activities, from the curriculum, to the timing for live classes to due dates for assignments and projects. You can easily spot any issues with this.
Online learning can be fun and convenient with access to all kinds of resources. Children are exposed to loads of information each time they go online. This is a good thing, it really is, but at the same time, you need to control what they are exposed to online.
Many children will have virtual teachers and virtual friends, but it is important to let them socialize with kids in a safe environment. Children learn skills effectively by interacting with their teachers and classmates, online learning does not make room for this, kids can still talk to one another, but there is nothing like quality play time with their friends. Asides connecting with other children online, parents should encourage them to go out and relate with children.
Kids with special needs
You can start with smaller amounts of time for school work, before increasing it over time, so your children can get used to it. Most devices have features that can aid children’s learning, features such as Read Aloud, Text-to-speech and Speech-to-Text to help struggling readers and writers.”
Take a break
Children have short attention spans, getting them to sit still, listening and watching a screen for hours might be a struggle, especially when it is not cartoons you have on. Breaks are needed, even you need breaks. It is okay to give children breaks when they seem restless, tired or frustrated, especially with subjects like maths or science, which may be a bit challenging for them, you can give them a few minutes break before coming back to the subject.
Build a reward system
This could be as little as stars on works well done. It helps with motivation for the children, being at home, the rewards could even be more interesting and include sweet treats (ice cream, chocolates), extra minutes to play before bed. For teenagers, it could be going out to see a movie. You can also use kind words, tell them how great they are doing, especially with subjects they find challenging. Encourage them when they perform well.
Thankfully, now that we are no longer in a pandemic, you can get private tutors to help out, as much as you want to help your children with their education, sometimes, you may just need to step back and let a professional help out. Private tutors or lesson teachers have a better understanding of the learning process and are specialists in subjects, they will be able to work well with the kids. If they were needed even during physical school, imagine the help they will be with online school.
You are not alone
The good thing about the internet is that you can connect with all kinds of people, through social media group chats, websites etc. You can connect with friends and other parents whose kids learn online also, talk to them and get tips you can apply with your kids. Google is your friend, when you feel worn out or stuck, you can always search up new methods to adopt to aid learning.
Online school means a lot of screen time, in their play time, you can imbibe mindful yet engaging off screen activities such as puzzles, flashcards, workbooks (colouring, tracing and writing), word search and solving a puzzle.
You might feel you know what is best for your children, after all, you were once a child, but we are all different, you need to get feedback from them, ask questions, and ask how the learning process is going, what they like, what they do not like and what challenges they are facing. From their feedback, see what can be adjusted and any improvements that can be made to better the process.