Many schools around the nation are giving parents the choice to either send their kids to school or allow their kids to stay home and attend virtual school. Parents have learned that keeping their kids home to do online school isn’t always easy, but in-person schooling may not be an option. However, there are tricks and tips that you can implement to ensure success and make sure things run smoothly.
This guide will go over what you should know to make online learning a successful experience for you and your child.
Preparing a Space for Learning
The first thing you want to do is prepare the space that your child will use to do their schoolwork. This can be any space in the house that can be converted into a learning environment where you can reduce or eliminate distractions. You don’t need a spare room, nor do you need to spend a lot of money preparing the area.
Areas that can be converted into a learning space:
- An unused or rarely used corner in the kitchen or living room.
- Section off an area in your child’s bedroom, such as a walk-in closet.
- Put up a screen in an area of the living room or family room to section off space for your child to do their schoolwork.
You can use a small table and tri-fold boards or display boards to create separate areas if you have more than one child attending virtual school. You can use the walls to create an organization system, with floating shelves or a bookshelf to make sure that each child has their own shelf so that they have an area that they can call their own.
You can be creative and decorate each area using tri-fold boards, or have each child decorate their own area. Make sure that you have a general location to store school supplies that is easily accessible for each child.
How to Keep Distractions to a Minimum
When it comes to distractions, there are auditory, visual, and cognitive distractions that can keep your child from focusing on their online schoolwork.
Create a box for your children to place their cell phones and other electronics while school is “in session.” Each day before they begin doing their schoolwork, they should place these items in the box. It’s up to you if you want to let them have their devices during lunchtime and other specified breaks. You should also be monitoring them while they are doing schoolwork. Make sure that they are not opening up other tabs on their laptop or desktop to access their social media or perform non-school related searches on the web.
There are some noises that you will have control over and others that you can’t control. For example, if there are younger siblings in the home, keep them in a separate area away from the older siblings while doing their online classes. For outside noise deterrents, you may want to look into getting noise-canceling headphones that your child can use while doing their schoolwork.
Visual distractions can come from your child’s environment. Take a quick scan of the learning space to see if there are noticeable visual distractions. This could be leaves blowing in the wind or younger siblings running back and forth. If that’s the case, set their space up to where they are facing a wall. If that still doesn’t help, use tri-fold boards to block out distractions.
Does your child appear to be preoccupied with other things, such as talking to another sibling or reading a book when they should be working on their math classwork? Or maybe they are doodling on a piece of paper when they should be concentrating on their online studies. This can be addressed by determining what is distracting them and eliminating it. Let them know that they can’t have certain things when they are doing their schoolwork.
How to Enforce Brain Breaks
Research studies have shown that children need a mental break while completing learning tasks. How often depends on each child individually, since not all kids are the same. Older kids may not need as many breaks as younger kids. Mental breaks are used to reset the brain so that your child does not get stressed out.
Brain breaks are often 3-5 minute pre-planned breaks in between a learning task. They are designed to help your child stimulate other areas of their brain and can involve active or relaxing activities. This can be enforced by using a timer to let them know when the break is over.
Create a list of activities that you can do during the brain break. You can participate in brain breaks with your child by organizing activities that you can do together. This includes:
- Going outside and doing a scavenger hunt.
- Turning on some music and having everyone dance.
- Playing games or doing a puzzle with your kids.
Your child will benefit from brain breaks because they will have less stress and anxiety. Their attention and motivation will increase, which can prevent burn out from too much screen time.
General Tips for Taking Classes Online
When you are taking on the role of monitoring your child while they are taking online classes, you need to be prepared. Here are some additional online school tips to use:
- Create a schedule for your child. The schedule should include lunch, snacks, and brain breaks. Post the schedule in an area where your child can see it, so they know what time lunch is or what time their next break is.
- Develop a set of rules that your children must follow. Just because they are not physically in a classroom doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have rules. Post the rules in an area that they can see what the rules are and what is expected of them.
- When preparing their learning space, make sure it is in a well-lit and comfortable atmosphere.
Children do well in an online learning environment when there is parental participation. Being hands-on with your child encourages them to want to be successful with their schoolwork. Make sure to set aside time to speak with your child to discuss their day and anything that could be bothering them. Online learning doesn’t have to be overwhelming, follow these e-learning tips, and your child will handle e-learning better.