It’s no secret that this school year is looking much different than any previous school year, and may continue to. Whether your child is expected to spend all of their time in a virtual classroom, or just a few days a week, both children and parents are having to adjust to new scenarios.
However, there are a few things parents can do to modify their home learning plans and be successful this fall, especially once virtual-learning burnout kicks in for their students.
Here are some tips for creating the best learning environment for your child.
CREATE A DEDICATED WORKSPACE
It’s likely that you don’t have an unused room in your house to dedicate as an office or “classroom” for your child. However, creating a designated workspace for them can be useful for getting them into the “school mindset.” A good workspace will have:
- Few distractions and a quiet setting
- Space for a desk as well as a comfy chair for reading
- Good lighting
- A monitor at an appropriate height to avoid causing neck pain
Having a dedicated space can also help you and your child stay organized, keeping all school-related things in the same area. It also gives distance between school and home, allowing the child to mentally distance themselves from school when it isn’t school hours. For example, it’s been shown that working from bed can cause trouble sleeping because you associate your bed with work.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE RIGHT JOBS
From Zoom classes to homework, a desktop or laptop is essential for getting schoolwork done. Having a solid Wi-Fi connection is key for success. So make sure your connection is stable and the speeds are enough for what your child needs. Also make sure the computer has enough storage to save backup copies of schoolwork to avoid meltdowns over lost work.
Other necessary tools such as notebooks, pens, folders, etc. should be easily accessible and organized so they are ready to use when your child needs them. Consider having age-appropriate books close to your child’s workspace for reading time, and some games or toys for break time.
Typically, breaks are pre-planned and plentiful. In a school environment, children are provided snack breaks, lunch break, recess, play time, and other breaks throughout the day. At home, make sure your child has time to step away from the schoolwork, whether it’s to play with the dog in the backyard, go to the park, or play a game.
Scheduling breaks gives your child time to rest their mind and recharge their energy so they can get through their day.
INCORPORATE ENOUGH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
The new reality with virtual school is parents or caregivers must play a role as teacher. This means taking your child on educational field trips, going outside, and focusing on physical activity. Try to incorporate hands-on learning into their education. Take a trip to the zoo or children’s museum, go on a nature hike, or try an at-home experiment.
Studies show that hands-on learning cements it into the mind better than simply reading about it. The more active learning you can incorporate, the more your child will retain, the longer they will stay focused, and the more fun they will have learning.
DON’T LET YOURSELF GET STRESSED
Assuming a teacher role, along with helping your child through a school year different from any that either of you have seen before, can be intimidating. However, try not to stress too much. Schools and college recruiters know how difficult this year will be on children and are prepared to help them even more so than before.
Remember, even if they don’t get an “A” in every subject, they still have a lot to gain and learn out of this time in life. Don’t focus on perfection, and instead help your child adjust and learn as much as he or she can under the circumstances.