5 Tips to Get The Most From Home Learning During Coronavirus Pandemic

With schools closed everywhere and no clear notion of when they might resume operation, home schooling has gone from a niche pursuit to a practical necessity. Tests aren’t on the horizon, but it isn’t about hitting academic targets: it’s about keeping kids learning to avoid developmental stagnation (in addition, of course, to maintaining a familiar daily routine).

It’s a difficult transition to make for parents used to traditional schooling, having been through it when they were young and entered their children into it as a matter of course. It’s also exciting, though, or can be when approached with the right attitude. In this post, we’re going to set out five tips for getting the most out of home learning, so here we go.

Stick to a schedule

Structure is extremely important for all of us, not just children. It’s why successful adults typically plan their days ahead of time to some extent: they know roughly when they’ll eat, when they’ll exercise, when they’ll pursue their hobbies, etc. When we’re stressed, bored, or tired, it’s structure that keeps us on the right path and ensures that we get things done.

Now that your kids don’t have specific school hours to meet, and you’re either working from home or not working at all, it can be tempting to think that a looser approach is a good idea. Disregard that: you need a structured learning environment. Plan out blocks for learning every day, scattering topics and challenges to keep things consistent but varied.

Assemble a study area

The school atmosphere is carefully cultivated to help kids learn, and that includes the equipment provided: some of it traditional (pads and pens) and some of it modern (laptops and tablets). It’s tough for a kid to go from that scenario to their own home and focus in the same way. Home will largely mean relaxation to them, most likely, and that’s a difficult association to break.

Due to this, you should assemble a study area that feels distinct from that familiar context. Use a computer as the center point: a home desktop will work well if you have one, or you can use a laptop hooked up to a bigger display for ease of use (it’ll be easier if you’re tech-literate, but if you’re not then you could look at docking stations that make it simple). When it’s time to do some studying, make a point of moving to the study area, and when you’re done, move elsewhere. That will help establish a distinction between learning time and relaxation time.

Work on communication

When I speak of communication, I don’t just mean between you and your child or children. In addition to finding ways for them to keep up with their friends from school, you should talk to other parents (whether from the same school or from elsewhere): that way you can share what’s working for you and get some advice from others in the same situation.

Additionally, keep track of what the members of staff from your local school are doing, because many educators who are unable to work as normal are finding ways to share their knowledge online. Using tips from the teachers you’ve already spoken to is particularly sensible because normal service will resume one day, and it’ll help if there’s continuity of tuition.

Adopt an even tone

This point is fairly straightforward. When trying to impart wisdom, parents can be overly strict, trying far too hard to serve as dispassionate and unbiased educators and ultimately damaging their relationships with their kids. On the other side of the spectrum, they can be much too relaxed and forgiving, letting their kids do what they want and ensuring that nothing is learned. 

You need to get the tone right. Don’t be as chilled-out as you would when reading a bedtime story, but don’t get uncomfortably stern. Make sure it’s clear what you’re trying to achieve and what the point of it all is, and always be willing to answer questions.

Don’t push too hard

Learning matters, obviously, but remember that it isn’t everything: especially not now when lives and jobs are being lost throughout the world. There’s a lot of anxiety going around, and kids feel it keenly: not just their own (stemming from their awareness of what’s happening), but also second-hand anxiety that forms when they notice how others are acting.

Mental health must be paramount. Due to this, don’t expect incredible results or massive leaps in performance. Keep the learning going, and make your best effort to achieve practical results, but don’t push too hard or you’ll end up causing a lot of additional stress.

Laura Slingo is a writer and editor that regularly pens career, marketing and lifestyle advice for leading publications across the globe. 

To find resources for your children, read our blog ‘Online Resources to Use at Home’.  

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