Written By: Rita Magallona
Whatever you call it – homeschooling, online learning, home-based learning, distance education, video classes – technology has made it possible for learning to continue even during a pandemic. With schools closed for the foreseeable future because of the coronavirus, how can parents ensure that children still get the best education?
Just because school premises are closed doesn’t mean learning has to stop. Here are five tips to help your children continue their education at home.
How Parents Can Effectively Facilitate Online Learning at Home
1. Adapt to your circumstances
No one is expecting you to recreate your child’s classroom experience, as long as your child has the essential tools and resources to get school tasks done. Use the resources that your child’s school is offering – online classes, physical books, and other materials.
Since you know your child best, you can adapt the materials to match their learning style and personality. Is your child an independent learner, or do they need more support?
2. Create space for learning
Your child will need a dedicated place where they can focus on lessons or activities. This could be the child’s room, a corner of the living room, or at the kitchen table. As much as possible, help them associate this area with learning. The study area should have adequate lighting, a comfortable seat, and minimal distractions.
If the school offers online lessons, the computer should be accessible to her and you as the facilitating adult. Her other school materials should be within reach, as well, or stored in a bag so the child can take them wherever she feels comfortable studying.
3. Set a routine
While you’re not expected to recreate your child’s school schedule at home, it’s a good idea to maintain some sort of learning structure. The routine helps children know what to anticipate, which lessens stress. A routine also helps them transition easily from one activity to the next.
If you observe that your child learns better at a different time of the day, adjust the schedule accordingly. The goal, after all, is for your child to continue learning, not to maintain school schedules. Also, now may be the perfect time for children, especially teenagers, to catch up on sleep. This means reasonable bedtimes, so avoid the temptation of letting them stay up too late.
4. Know your role
If you were homeschooling your child before the coronavirus pandemic, you are still the primary teacher. Otherwise, you don’t have to take on this role. If your child’s school has shifted to a home-based learning system with online classes, you will act more like a facilitator or teacher’s aide. Just follow the program but be ready to answer any questions that your child may ask.
Now, you also have to find ways to fill the gap left by cancelled music lessons, sports clubs, and other out-of-the-house learning activities. For this, the internet is your friend. Look for virtual tours, documentaries, demo videos, and other learning media. To avoid getting overwhelmed, focus on activities that your child shows an interest in. Now’s the time to encourage your child’s passions.
5. Make time for other activities
Limit dedicated schooling time. Allow for some free time for your children to stretch their minds and bodies in more leisurely activities, or just relax. Let them play with their toys or draw what they want to draw, or do whatever they find enjoyable. If they miss their friends, set up an online meeting for them. You can also do the same for yourself and your friends.
Accept the fact that you may not be able to implement everything perfectly. After all, most parents are now juggling childcare, household cleaning, grocery shopping, and remote work on top of facilitating online classes. Not to mention, everyone is coping with the uncertainty of a pandemic. Make the most of what you have to keep your children learning.
May we all find meaning after this crisis and rise up stronger than ever. Keep your family safe during this period by boosting your body’s natural defences.