This is a guest post from writer and blogger, Jennifer Landis at Mindfulness Mama.
Is your child doing homeschool again this year? While some young learners prefer this switch, not all do. Your little one may feel understandably disappointed if they hoped to return to see their friends.
How can you make your child’s remote learning experience a happy one? The following ten tips can help them love this school year, even if it wasn’t what they expected.
1. Provide the Tools They Need
Does your child’s computer still run a Windows Vista operating system? They might not be able to download the apps they need for an optimal educational experience. While you may have to search harder for free and discounted educational technology tools than you did this past spring, you can still find some. If you can’t find what you need online, reach out to others. Ask your child’s school or your local librarian if they can refer you to resources.
2. Set a Schedule
If you don’t give your child a dedicated start time for their studies, they might procrastinate and run out of time. Make sure you clearly outline what time school — and possibly your workday — commence daily.
Even though they don’t technically “have to” wake up, you want to adhere to a standard bedtime, too. Failing to do so could put your child behind the next day and leave them scrambling to complete their work. Plus, it upsets their circadian rhythms and makes it more challenging to adjust when a more typical schedule resumes.
3. Show Interest
It’s not enough to get your child logged in for the day and say, “Go for it.” You are their world, and if you want them to find their passion for learning, you must show enthusiasm. Brainstorm a list of questions to ask at the dinner table beside, “How was school?” Try to think of open-ended ones that don’t let your child reply with a simple “yes” or “no.” When they work hard on a project, ask if you can attend while presenting it virtually to their classmates.
4. But Not Too Much
However, you don’t want to transform into a helicopter parent merely because you have more time with your little one. This term refers to those who take an inordinately overcontrolling, overprotective stance toward parenting. The behavior also often coincides with unrealistic demands for perfection that leave your child battling mental issues. Give your child the freedom to make mistakes. If you know they’ve forgotten a vital assignment, tell them to check their planner before playtime instead of insisting they finish it first. Often, the natural consequences of poor decision-making teach children more than harsh punishments.
5. Include Recess Time
Growing young bodies need unstructured playtime to develop. Please build ample recess into your child’s schedule. You don’t need to adhere to the 15 minutes that are the norm in many districts if the kids get any break. Adults benefit from breaks, too. Take a 10 to 15-minute walk in the morning with your child. See how much more effectively you work when you return to your desk.
6. Remember Electives Matter
Standardized tests provide valuable information, but it comes at a cost. Many districts have cut back on electives to focus on the three Rs, and children suffer the impact. Classes such as art and music aren’t fluff for children — or adults. They’re the stuff that makes learning worthwhile, plus, they help students integrate new knowledge into their existing schemas. It’s okay to take an afternoon to go to a Build-a-Bear workshop or make clay pottery.
7. Keep Young Bodies Moving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20% of American children qualify as obese, and more are overweight. Youth don’t tend to shed the pounds as they grow older. Keep their young bodies moving by making daily physical education mandatory. If the weather proves agreeable, go out to the park. If it rains or snows, put on music and dance in your living room or use a workout app for older children.
8. Nurture Their Friendships
Remote learning experiences often leave children lonely for in-person friendships. Try to nurture their previous connections.
For younger children, set weekly or biweekly playdates with others of similar age range with whom you feel comfortable. Many health experts agree that playing outdoors poses fewer risks than indoor gatherings. Drive older children to extracurriculars or suggest ways to get involved in the community through volunteering.
9. Encourage Extracurriculars
Your home district may have canceled fall sports. Maybe your local parks and rec facility did the same — what to do?
Encourage your child to get involved in other activities such as the yearbook club that don’t require in-person contact. Call your district and inquire about opportunities. If you attend an entirely virtual school, they may partner with local public facilities to offer teams.
10. Celebrate Their Success
What’s the point of doing a job well if it reaps no rewards? Make sure you show your little one appreciation for their efforts.
Celebrate their report card with their favorite take-out meal and maybe a movie marathon of their choice. You also want to reward effort — grant your kids additional video game time if they finish both their homework and chores without complaint.
Make Your Child’s Remote Learning Experience a Happy One With These Tips. While some children adore remote learning, others reluctantly take to it. Make your child’s experience as happy as possible with the ten tips above.