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It’s hard doing online learning at home with kids. Step back and breathe.
As the school year is now over a quarter of the way done, we’ve learned a lot about what this school year is really about. In spite of many promises and words about how this school year was going to be different, there are still many things that aren’t that great. It’s not easy, and a lot of the burden is still placed on parents and students. For some, this may be going well, but for many the struggle is real.
The number one thing to remember is that you’re not alone in this. Every parent and child that is doing remote learning is going through the same thing as you are. Teachers are trying to adapt, but it’s not ideal for anyone to be doing online remote learning. If you’re in a situation where your kids just aren’t having it anymore, or if you’re burnt out, below are a few tips and ideas to help you get through.
Don’t freak out if they don’t do everything
While you absolutely want your child to be engaged and learning, don’t freak out at them if there are times where they get distracted. It’s pretty unrealistic to expect that a child will sit and listen to an online video conference for multiple hours straight without getting distracted by other items around the house. There’s no one else sitting right there watching them, and the video lectures can get a little boring.
Certainly don’t let them just sit and play games, but rather than freaking out on them, simply encourage them to try to listen. Let them know that you understand that it’s hard to focus on the learning when they’re not there in person, and you understand why they are struggling. The calmer you can remain, the easier it will be for them to try to learn and focus. The more you freak out and try to force them to learn, the more likely they are to not do it and rather do their own thing.
Focus on math and reading
Math and reading are central to so many other subjects in school and to learning in general. Help your child to focus on learning the items that they need in these areas. If you have to prioritize what they’re focusing on, then you should absolutely put these two subject areas at the top of your list. If your child falls behind in art or science, they can catch up much easier than if they’re behind in reading.
All other subjects that your child will complete are built on being able to read and understand. Even math will require reading comprehension in order to complete it. If your child is struggling learning online, work with them to make sure that they can read what they’re supposed to be doing and that they understand the directions that they’re being given.
Learn on your own schedule
If you're able, learn on your own schedule that actually works for you. If you’re a morning person, focus your learning in the morning. On the other hand, if you have more energy or time in the evening, start your learning later in the day. Just because school starts at 8:30 everyday doesn’t mean you actually have to start learning right at that time as well.
Of course, that won’t be possible if your child is expected to be online for lectures at specific times. Unfortunately, large portions of online learning is happening that way this year. This doesn’t work well for learning on your own time, but it’s also a poor way to do online learning as well. Watch for a future article on details on this, but you may need to look at the next tip if you’re struggling with this.
Look at homeschooling options
If you’re simply not able to make things work with the standard school system, then you should look at doing a homeschooling option. This isn’t the remote learning option that your district is offering, but rather this is a full homeschool program that you run on your own with all of the materials provided to you up front (for a fee).
If you’re already spending a lot of time with your child and trying to help them learn, then there’s a good chance that homeschooling will be a better option for you. Your child won’t be required to be logged in at certain times of days, and you won’t have to try to work through what your teacher actually means with the instructions they’ve provided online. You set your pace for your child and you have all of the materials available. This is a great option if you’re already spending multiple hours a week trying to help your child learn online.
Remote learning is hard. Most are struggling with it - you’re not alone. Try your best to make it easier on yourself and your family. We’ll all get through this together.