With the ongoing pandemic, many families are faced with the need to accommodate distance learning. Whether your little ones are being kept home from pre-school or your teens can no longer attend high school on campus, learning from home represents a significant number of challenges.
As stress levels build for adults and kids, it becomes clear that some guidance would be helpful. Continue reading to learn 10 distance learning tips for parents. Put them into action to help improve your child's learning experience and to preserve your peace of mind.
Make sure to check out our full section of Homeschooling articles on the Prodigies Blog as well!
1. Create a Learning Space
If you're working from home, then you've probably noticed that your surroundings affect your ability to focus and be productive. You thrive when distractions are minimized and when you have a specific place to sit and concentrate on the task at hand.
Your kids will similarly thrive when they have a designated spot in which to learn and study. Because people in general tend to perform better when they able to make at least a few authentic choices for themselves, it's wise to let your kids choose their designated spot.
Of course, you can set some boundaries. You may choose two or three spots in the house that don't have line of sight to a television and aren't right next to a window on a busy street. Let your child choose his preferred spot from the presented choices, which gives him some ownership over the undertaking.
2. Stick to a Daily Schedule
A daily schedule benefits the whole family by setting important boundaries and expectations. Moreover, it provides you with an opportunity to set aside some time to have fun and blow off steam, something that's more critical than ever these days.
Again, it may make sense to ask your child what time of day she prefers to do her learning and studying. Perhaps she feels most energized and focused just after breakfast. Another child may be filled with determination starting around one in the afternoon. Encourage your child to choose a learning and study schedule that plays into their natural energy rhythms, within reason.
Of course, it's also wise to remember that everyone in the household will benefit from sticking to a schedule. Parents may need to work from home at particular hours, and this may be the best time for your child to do her schoolwork.
Your family's daily schedule can be simple and straightforward, looking something like this:
- 8:00 Breakfast
- 8:30 Log in to online classroom to look for assignments and emails from the teacher
- 10:30 Break for exercise and play; go outdoors
- 12:00 Lunch
- 1:00 Study time to prepare for tests and complete homework assignments
- 2:30 Free time
Your child's distance learning schedule may vary widely from this one depending upon your child's age and ability to concentrate. What's really important here is that a schedule is set and that you help your child stick to it.
3. Don't Feel Like Distance Learning Must Be "Just Like School"
It may seem like you're shortchanging your child if you only schedule about two hours per day for learning and an additional hour or two for study. After all, their day at school may involve five, six or seven hours of learning activities.
Take comfort from the idea that it isn't necessary to facilitate five to seven hours of learning for your child each day. All that's needed is sufficient time to engage with the information in a meaningful way while also having time to complete assignments and be prepared for tests.
The amount of learning and study time required will vary based on the ages and abilities of your students, so it makes sense to proceed accordingly.
4. Recognize When Breaks Are Needed
No one, adult or child, is 100 percent productive 24 hours a day. It simply isn't realistic to demand that your child perform at full capacity at all times. Keep an eye on him to determine if he's feeling angry, frustrated or impatient.
When you notice these signs, then it's time to take a break. Five to 15 minutes may be sufficient to clear the mind and help your child be willing to sit down and try again. Have a dance party, do some stretching, enjoy a healthy snack or take a walk around the block. A short break can be fantastically restful.
5. Ensure Good Communication with Teachers and Other Students
Technology makes distance learning easier and more accessible than ever before. However, it is necessary for the student to monitor the online learning environment to ensure that they keep up with all developments.
For some kids, this can be a real challenge. Help them by checking in with their online forum first thing in the morning. Ensure that your child understands the goals and assignments for the day. Encourage your child to check in online at least one or two additional times throughout the day so that they can provide timely responses to their teachers and to other students.
6. Make Full Use of Available Resources
What kind of resources is your school making available to facilitate distance learning? Are there special websites or memberships to which your child might have access to help enrich their learning experience?
The more resources your child has available, the better the chances are that she will succeed. Online learning communities can be rich resources, and it might pay to look for agencies and organizations that can add extra dimensions to a project.
For instance, many museums, presidential libraries, historic homes, symphony orchestras and other institutions are providing online guides, tours and tutorials. Is it possible that one of these resources might fire up your child's imagination and cause a school project to change from boring to fascinating?
If you are like many homeschooling parents, then you’re probably wondering how to include music education in your curriculum. That is particularly true if you have never studied an instrument or taken vocal lessons or if it’s been several years since you studied.
The good news is that it’s not necessary for you to be an accomplished musician in order to introduce your kids to a lifelong love and appreciation of music. You have many options to choose from when it comes to learning about music in a manner that is accessible and approachable for you and your kids.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of music instruction for all kids and the many ways that you can incorporate music into your curriculum.
7. Focus on Rewards
Living in unprecedented times can be frightening and uncertain. A daily schedule for learning provides students with structure and some welcome predictability. However, it's also nice to have something to look forward to.
If your student is having trouble maintaining their motivation to do their schoolwork, consider employing a system of rewards. For instance, let your child know that she can have a Zoom conference with her best friend if she finishes her history homework. Tell your son that he can have an hour with the basketball hoop once he's finished his math assignment.
When you're working with rewards that are important and meaningful to your kids, they are more likely to stay motivated.
8. Support Your Child Through Challenges
It isn't necessary for parents to know all the answers when it comes to their children's schoolwork. What does matter is that the parent demonstrates their support when the going gets tough.
Simple messages like:
- I know you can do this.
- This is hard, but I have faith in you.
- Let's take a look at this together.
- Your education is really important, so take a break, and then try again.
Sometimes, letting your child know that you're in this together is enough to break through a tough challenge.
9. Show Kindness
Everyone is feeling more than the usual amount of stress right now, which means that it's the perfect time to show a little kindness. This kindness extends not only to your children but also to yourself.
Realize and accept that everything is not going to be perfect. There will be mistakes and slips, but there also are opportunities to grow and overcome challenges.
Take some time every day to listen to your inner voice. Is it time for you or the kids to take a break? Do so, you can get back to your responsibilities later.
10. Keep the Lines of Communication Open with School
Teachers are really enjoying hearing from their students and parents during this time. If you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher or a counselor from the school. Interacting with them may give you direction and peace of mind.
Whether you’re a parent looking for something fun and educational to do with your kids, or a teacher with a class full of students, Prodigies will have you singing, playing and hand-signing your way to a music education in no time! Prodigies combines a color-coded instrument with animated video lessons to give families and classrooms a no-brainer method for singing in tune, understanding rhythms and learning how to play an instrument.
Each video lesson is accompanied by colorful sheet music and follow-up activities so that you can work on the concepts at your own pace, reinforce preschool skills like handwriting, sequencing and patterning and get some screen-free musical play! If you’ve ever wanted to channel your child’s musical play and give them the cognitive benefits of an early music education, then Prodigies might just be your new favorite website! Even with a few minutes a day and zero prior musical knowledge, you can start your child’s musical journey! On this blog, we post articles, giveaways and sheet music that make playing music accessible, colorful and fun, while our curriculum lives inside the Prodigies Playground.
The Playground is a step-by-step digital curriculum of videos, workbooks and songbooks to give children a lovable, powerful and affordable music education. Our program is delivered online so that no matter where you are or how much time you have, you can provide your child with a fun and interactive way to get a music education!