How to Create the Ideal Remote Learning Environment for Your Child
When the Coronavirus pandemic started in the spring of 2020, many schools shut down for the remainder of the year, forcing families to scramble to figure out a solution for their children’s schooling and daycare. As such, the end of the 2019-20 school year was a blur of ad hoc remote learning, parents tag teaming supervision duties as they tried to work from home, and general chaos. Once school was out and as the summer wore on, we wondered what the new school year would bring.
As COVID-19 cases continued to rise, many school districts made the tough decision to continue distance learning for the 2020-21 school year. Thus, it seems that remote learning is the new normal, and we as caregivers and parents must do our best to ensure our kids are still learning as effectively as they can, while maintaining their health and safety.
For most of us, this means that we must provide a space where our kids are comfortable and able to focus on their schoolwork while they are at home. Setting up a consistent workspace will not only help your kids transition into remote learning, but it will also help them stay engaged and on topic.
Remote Learning vs. Online Learning: What’s the Difference?
With so many people dealing with alternative schooling methods, there are a lot of terms being tossed around and being used interchangeably. You’ve probably heard people talking about remote learning and online learning, but what is the difference between the two?
Online learning is usually student-driven and often does not have a classroom setting. Instead, the student gets their coursework and moves through it at their own pace. Generally, there is an instructor that they are able to communicate with, but those interactions are typically through email. For reference, this would be a high schooler’s SAT or ACT prep course.
Remote learning, on the other hand, is when a teacher moves their class to a web-based platform. Students get the same content, and have dedicated class time where the student, their classmates, and their teacher are able to interact as they would in a classroom setting.
For most parents of K-12 children, this means that their child will be engaging in remote learning this year, sometimes also known as distance learning. And to ensure your kids are learning as efficiently and effectively as possible, we’ve compiled three actionable tips to on how to create the ideal remote learning environment for your child.
#1 | Designated Learning Zone
The first step in establishing an ideal remote learning environment is designating one specific area in your home for school work. This is where your child will attend virtual classes, complete their assignments, and do the majority of their studying. Every home is different, so you may not have much space available. Fortunately, there are several options for study areas.
Before you jump in and pick your school area, take into account your child’s age, learning style, and how much supervision or help they are going to need. Kindergarteners usually do better in an easily accessible area, such as the kitchen table or at a desk in the living room so that you can keep an eye on them and help them when needed. Older kids often thrive in an environment with other people around them. Studying at the local library may be out of the question, but sharing your home office or work-from-home space may be the interaction they need to get through their days.
Ideally, whichever area you declare is the school zone, will only be used for learning. If you’re able to commit to having one spot strictly for schoolwork, it will make it that much easier for your child to stay on topic. This also allows them to step away when they need to recharge and take a break. Having a dedicating learning area helps your child get into study mode much more quickly than they would if they are moving from place to place frequently.
#2 | Establish a Routine
Whether your kids are used to going to a regular school or not, routines are incredibly helpful if you want to be productive. If you wake up for the day and don’t have a plan or a schedule, it can be easy to let the day slip away without getting much accomplished. Of course, we all need days to just relax, but for most days, that isn’t realistic.
If you want your kids to thrive in their remote learning environment, having a routine in place is one of the best things you can do for them. This helps maintain a sense of structure while they are adjusting to their new normal. You may even want to write down your new schedule and display it in a common area so everyone can stay on the same page.
The morning routine is easily the most important part of the day, as this sets the mood for the rest of the day. Starting the day, in the same way, each day gives your kids a sense of stability while so many other things are so unpredictable.
#3 | Limit Distractions
One of the biggest challenges in getting kids to focus on their schoolwork is dealing with all the distractions that come with being at home. It goes without saying that it’s going to be difficult to keep your child on track when they’re at home where all their favorite toys and videogames are, but you need to limit distractions. This means no phones or Nintendo switches while studying, and all IM chat functions must be shut down.
Additionally, allowing your child to take short breaks throughout the day can help them retain their focus when getting back to the schoolwork, and this works for kids of all ages. Younger children can benefit from a quick recreational YouTube or TikTok break, while teens can enjoy a quick scroll through some social media and a few quick words with friends before getting back to their studies.
With a few short breaks to stretch their legs and consume some recreational media, your children may find that their attention wanders less and that they are able to keep a sharper focus on their current subject.
Making an abrupt change in your day-to-day life can be overwhelming as an adult, so when dealing with remote learning, it’s important to keep in mind that kids have a harder time handling change. Setting them up with an ideal remote learning environment can help ease the transition, give them a sense of normalcy, and allow them to stay focused.
Contributed to Your Home blog
Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.