As distance or hybrid learning systems become more prevalent, it’s important for families to understand the potential obstacles and challenges both parents and children can face. With good organization, communication, and patience, kids and parents or caregivers can enjoy the process of distance learning. Check out Crème de la Crème’s tips for positive and successful distance learning.
Set Up a Study Space
Identifying a comfortable study space is one of the most important steps you can take for a child to have a successful distance learning experience. The space doesn’t need to be in a separate room, it could be as simple as a work table and chair in a corner of the kitchen or living room, a spot in their bedroom, or even a warm and comfortable environment in a detached building.
Make sure there’s plenty of light, the chair is comfortable, noise and distractions are minimal, and that the internet connection is strong. Having their own dedicated work or study space allows the child to focus on their work or online classes.
Learn How to Use Technology
“Children’s learning typing on the laptop keyboard closeup” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by shixart1985
Because distance learning requires technology that may be new to you and your child, it’s vital that everyone understands how to use it to avoid delays in school work as well as avoiding frustration. Try and get the best internet connection possible so the child can clearly hear and communicate when classes are held online.
If the laptop or computer is new to you and the child, consider reading instructions on how to navigate through the apps, how to optimize the camera and microphone, and how to keep and organize online files. Understanding how the technology works before distance learning begins can help to reduce frustration if there’s a glitch in the system.
In the kid’s study area, have a place for them to keep their books, papers, pens, pencils, and chargers. At the end of their school day, have the child put paperwork in marked folders that they can access easily in the future. Do the same for online files so the desktop on their tablet or laptop doesn’t become cluttered. Have a calendar, either a paper or online one or both, and mark when assignments are due, online classes begin, conference calls with teachers are scheduled, and other pertinent and time-sensitive information.
Be sure to have the child log on a few minutes before an online class begins so they won’t come in late to the class, and have them have all of the workbooks and materials available and ready to access so they don’t miss out on any information.
Stick to a Schedule
Whether your child has scheduled online classes or just has homework, it’s important that the student sticks to a schedule just like they would if they were going to a classroom. Determine what time of day the child learns best and can comprehend and retain information, and have them do the hardest and most focused work at that time.
If they enjoy working in the morning, set up a set number of hours before lunch that they dedicate to school work. The same goes for students who learn best in the afternoon if the class schedule allows for afternoon school time. Schedule in breaks for healthy snacks, to go to the bathroom, and for stretching. During school work or study time, have them avoid distractions such as social media, the phone ringing, or having them do household chores during their school time.
Communicate With Instructors
When a child goes to in-person school, it’s easy for them to ask questions or communicate concerns with their instructors. Communicating online is often a challenge and the child may hesitate to openly communicate with their teachers if the internet’s not working properly or the instructor is offline.
Encourage your child to write down any questions they may have for their instructor in an organized and concise manner so when they do have one-on-one time or their time comes to talk in an online group class, they can ask the questions at that time. Having your child develop healthy listening skills, as well as communication skills, can help them effectively share and comprehend information.
Stay Connected to Friends and Fellow Students
One of the biggest challenges for kids who partake in distance learning is their feeling of isolation and not being able to hang out with their friends like they would if they were at a brick-and-mortar school. When the kids aren’t doing school work, let them go play with their friends, or if they physically can’t see their friends, let them set up times that they can Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or use Google Hangouts to communicate.
Let them share homework studies, have focus discussions, and solve problems together. Allow them plenty of fun time as well so the kids can listen to music together, talk about current events, and most importantly, laugh together. Having friends and fellow students in their daily lives builds a strong support system so the child doesn’t feel isolated, lonely, or deprived of normal kid activities.
Overcome Obstacles and Barriers
It’s important for kids to stay motivated, overcome technology issues, and problem-solve on their own so they can feel a sense of accomplishment and build self-esteem. As a parent, try and let the kids overcome challenges in their own way without getting too involved or by being a helicopter parent. While it’s okay to help them with their homework, communicate with instructors, and help them when they get frustrated with technology, letting the child work through the barriers themselves will help them build confidence and self-esteem.We at Crème de la Crème understand the challenges and benefits of distance learning. With the right tools, staying organized and on schedule, and keeping lines of communication open, parents and children can find the experience of distance learning a pleasant and positive experience. If you’d like more tips for successful distance learning, feel free to contact our professional team at Crème de la Crème. We look forward to helping you and your child succeed.