Many countries around the world are facing a tough winter, with restrictions in place and for those in the UK a third national lockdown. This brings the continued challenge of kids learning remotely, more of us working from home, and the disruption to usual routines. What’s true is that families are taking on much more responsibility for their kids’ learning than ever before.
If you’re concerned about your child’s motivation, or you find yourself in a “winter slump” with online learning, or just generally in need of guidance, we’ve put together some tips to surviving (and thriving) during this uniquely challenging school year.
For parents: How to support your kids learning remotely
- Set a routine: Have them follow a routine as if they’re going to school (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) instead of lying in bed in their pajamas, which could lead to less learning. Kids need structure, also let them know what to expect of the day and when they’ll have a break for lunch.
- Help with simple tech set-up: Depending on the age of the child, spend some time helping and supporting them with basic digital skills – like how to use a trackpad/mouse, how to save files, how to unzip files, the difference between file types, downloading, copy & pasting, etc. Get in touch and our tech support team can help with this if needed.
- Communication & Focus: When it’s hard for your child to focus, consider setting up nonverbal or one-word cues to help get them back on track. Spark conversation during breaks and ask them specific questions about how their day was and what they found positive and negative to help support driving improvement.
- Celebrate their work: Let kids hang up their drawings, writing, or other projects in your home. It shows them you’re proud of their work and helps them value their learning. Ask them what they’ve learned or been working on, celebrate that achievement big or small.
- Get help when you need it: Communicate with the school about how things are going, leading with positives first. If your child is struggling perhaps discuss options to get a tutor or additional support.
For teachers: Tips for teaching online
- Establish online-specific rules: When setting up a virtual classroom, encourage that students turn off their microphones when you are talking or presenting to avoid disruptions. You can use different functions such as the chat or “hands up” to encourage communication.
- Change the pace: Watch for the student’s attention spans and take breaks as often as you need. Try an activity or game to break up the lesson as it’s proven that physical activity or change in the environment can get your student’s minds refreshed for learning. A virtual treasure hunt is one of our personal favourites.
- Give detailed praise: Instead of saying “great job,” try giving specific details about the student’s work. If they put in extra effort, let them know you noticed. Highlight and give constructive feedback and include awards to bring positivity to the virtual classroom.
- Encourage collaboration: Make learning fun by making it a game when you can. We suggest focusing on team games rather than the individual. Our favourites are Pictionary (using https://skribbl.io or Zoom whiteboard) or Kahoot/Quizlet Quizzes.
- Follow the kids’ interests and get input: When deciding how to structure the day, ask kids what they prefer. Try to incorporate their choices into the plan. If they’re struggling to do one particular topic in the morning, switch to the afternoon. Ask questions about their interests and tie that into the teaching.
If we can help support your child’s remote learning and education, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have a fantastic range of expert tutors and educators in a range of STEM topics who have experience teaching kids and teens remotely all over the world. Discover our online courses.