As children start the new school year via distance learning programs, how can we help them get the most from these next seven weeks?
Here are five ideas to support your child with virtual learning at home:
When learning at home your child is not physically leaving the house to travel to their place of learning. Therefore, we need to find ways to make learning days feel different to the weekend. This can involve a different routine and schedule, earlier get up time/bed time, set meal times and even a set timetable. It’s important to be consistent with these routines and stick to them. Your child needs to be aware of the expectations and boundaries.
Distance learning at home is hard! It’s not ‘home schooling’ it’s learning in the home environment and this is a challenge for your child and for you as a parent. Distance learning on screens is intense and requires increased focus and energy. Your child may need regular breaks, snacks, and movement breaks. Any sort of visual representation can also be helpful, particularly for younger children. A sand timer, count down or a visual timetable to tick off can help your child understand how long they are expected to focus on a task for.
Remind your child that everyone else in Saudi Arabia is also distance learning at home just as they are. It’s easy for children to think that they are missing out or that their friends are busy playing video games without them, when in reality everyone else is busy doing their learning too. If you have moments when you struggle as a parent with this set up, also remind yourself that many other households are experiencing these same challenges. You’re not alone!
In order for your child to do their best learning, it’s important to try and provide the optimal distance learning environment. Try and locate them in a space with minimal distractions, whether that’s noise, or other siblings playing and for older children do not allow them to have a mobile phone nearby while they work. This is key if you have a child starting remote school at 7am and another starting at 3pm. A pair of headphones can work wonders in helping them focus and zone out from any distractions.
Watching how your child responds to learning at home can help you identify any particular trigger points or barriers to their progress. Do they get particularly frustrated with the technology? Or do they need you close by? Or does hunger impact their concentration? Do they need regular feedback and praise? Once you have identified their needs you can work at putting these in place where possible and also communicating these with their teacher.
Online distance learning at home suits some children more than others and no doubt your child is looking forward to returning to their classroom and seeing their friends. If you’re concerned about your child’s progress do reach out to their teacher and also remember the myriad of ‘soft’ skills they have also developed over the past few months. Increased resilience, empathy and flexibility are all just as important as the academic skills.
Louise’s recent Instagram Live on this topic can be found here.
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