The corona virus pandemic and subsequent lock-down with governments ordering their citizens to maintain social isolation and to stay at home have affected people all over the world.
For students, this essentially means a closure in school days with many schools encouraging parents to help students learn from home.
As part of this new routine, many students are attending online classes from the comfort of their homes. Teachers too are conducting lectures through video-conferencing while many schools and educational institutes are uploading pre-recorded tutorials online.
However, for many families grappling with setting a routine and helping their kids to learn using online resources can be a major challenge.
We bring you a few tips and guidelines to follow that will help your kids to ace the learning from home game:
1. Establish a routine
One of the many benefits of school is that it disciplines the learners by setting a routine for them to follow. This includes a set time for waking up, for snacks, a set playtime as well as time for learning an array of subjects.
While at home, it is easy for kids to lose the discipline of a routine and hence it is imperative for parents to create a simple routine for the kids to follow. This does not have to be set in stone, but it should allow an opportunity for the kids to have a learning time, a time for free play and creativity along with a preset time for eating, sleeping and resting.
This routine will help the kids prepare themselves for learning and will put them in the right mindset when they sit down for learning.
2. Set realistic goals for the kids
While at home, it is impossible to get kids to focus and learn for 8 hours as they do during a regular school day. Instead, parents can encourage kids to learn in small capsules of time. For instance, 20 minutes of math followed by a break and then another 20 minutes followed by some playtime.
This not only gives the kids a break from staring at the screen nonstop, but the break in learning allows them to reflect on what they have just learnt and absorb it better.
3. Create a learning environment
Every home is different and not every home will have the luxury of space, however, creating a disturbance free learning space for your child is a great way to encourage learning at home. This space can be a different room or the dining table – just as long as it is away from distractions like the television, the mobile etc.
4. Use a variety of learning resources
In this age of technology, for most students learning from home is an online process and hence students should be given access to laptops, smart tablets or smart phones with supervised access to the internet.
Besides these online resources, parents can also include other toys, crafts, art supplies, such as crayons, coloring books as part of their learning resources. This is especially useful for younger students.
5. Engage with classmates and teachers
Just because your child is learning from home, it does not have to mean that they are learning in isolation. Encourage your home learner to reach out to their peers and their teachers whether it’s over phone calls, video conference or through online discussion forums.
This not only helps in offsetting the impact physical and social distancing has on their minds but it is also gives the students an opportunity to ask questions and clear their doubts over any queries that they may have.
6. Use unconventional online resources to make learning fun
One of the best advantages of learning online is the array of online resources available to students as compared to a traditional classroom. Parents can encourage their kids to experiment with these online resources which are a fun alternative to conventional learning methods. Some of these resources are online learning games, virtual museums, interactive quizzes, podcasts and YouTube videos etc.
7. Regular exercise to reduce stress
Daily exercise also plays a pivotal role in helping the students learn better when at home. It helps to lower the child’s stress levels and help dispense some of that pent-up energy that kids will have- especially from staying indoors all day long. There are many well-known coaches and trainers who offer video tutorials as well as live streams of their exercise sessions for children while schools are closed.
8. Pay heed to emotional needs to the learner
While as responsible parents, we all want our kids to make the most of their time at home and stay up-to-date on all the school work, it is also important to support and reassure the child if the are feeling overwhelmed. The WHO ( World Health Organisation) recommends parents of all kids who are at home to be open and listen to their child ensuring that they comfort them if the child is feeling anxious or worried.
9. Explore new hobbies
While keeping up with the school work, students and parents can also use this time to learn hobbies such as cooking, gardening painting etc. These activities can provide great offline learning options and that can help families relax and communicate together.
10. Have fun
Learning from home does not have to be a stressful experience for the parents or the child. Coupled with ample of breaks, games and fun, learning can be made into a joy filled experience that can help fuel a lifelong desire for learning in the the student.
Learning is not limited to a location and just because your child is on a break from school, does not have to mean that their learning should also needs to stop. For every child, their parents are their first and most important teacher who teaches them basic life skills and this is a good opportunity for parents to get actively in their child’s learning, to support them in their learning goals and build a stronger connection with them.
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