OneSchool Global Australia shares 10 tips for parents and carers supporting online learners. OneSchool Global is a leader in online learning, recognised in the 2020 Zoom Innovation awards.
With the ongoing volatility of the COVID-19 situation, schools can find themselves having to swiftly move to online learning, placing a burden on parents, students and teachers alike. Online learning has been part of the fabric of OneSchool Global for over ten years, with many of our students learning online as part of our regular learning and teaching program. These ten simple tips may help families in the wider community with the complexity of online learning at home.
- Balancing the role of parent and “teacher”
You were not trained to teach children, but we all have a natural inclination to be teachers. See your role as more of a learning coach. Your key role is to encourage, be interested, foster curiosity and know when they really need a break. There will be times where a short walk is the best thing for your child.
- Set up learning areas
Children do not cope well with sitting in one place for an entire day. Where possible, create different spaces for different types of learning – they don’t need to be extravagant.
Main Learning Area– where children participate in online classes, work on problems, make notes or complete written tasks. The best option is the dinner table. If you have several children they can share this space, and headphones may assist in minimising disruption of siblings, and similarly peers in online classes.
Passive learning areas- lounge areas or outdoors. This will suit reading, thinking about ideas and solutions or reviewing notes they have made. Allowing children to work on appropriate tasks in their rooms or another private space is also helpful. This will be important should you have more than one child.
Be willing to allow additional sleep time. Young people need 8-10 hours of sleep. The last hour of sleep is critical and aids memory retention. Be careful not to allow children to oversleep though.
- Create a structure
Considering the change in learning environment it is important that this is formalised. A day planner is a good idea. Students can set goals each day, factor in any online class times and plan what they need to do on the planner. Break and mealtimes are critical. There are no hard and fast rules over how many breaks, but as their parent you are likely to know if they genuinely need a break or are avoiding work.
- Support, but resist doing the work…
Be available to make suggestions and answer questions, but try to let your children do things themselves as much as possible. If you don’t know the answer, work with your child to discover a solution. Let your child, where possible, self-regulate – that is to take control of their own learning and not rely on you. Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
- After school screen time
Depending on how things pan out, your child may be looking at screens for longer than normal. If this is the case minimise non-school related screen time after school hours. At very least, create some separation between the learning day, and the use of screens in relaxation time.
- Reading is critical.
Encourage your child to read. Model reading, get your children books and discuss them. Biographies and auto-biographies of people who have endured challenges and overcome them may be very beneficial in these challenging times. Improved reading will help them in all learning areas.
- Don’t allow game addiction to flourish
Computer games are highly addictive. Don’t let children lapse into playing games to kill time. It is tempting but destructive. Reward them with 30 minutes if they already play games, or better yet encourage an activity that gets them away from a screen.
- Physical activity
Look for opportunities to incorporate physical activity into your child’s day (as well as yours!). Some fresh air and exercise will make minds more active and alert and can help reduce stress.
- Revise the basics
Many things have never changed. Children who know their times tables find Maths easier. Secondary students often struggle with order of operations in Maths. Same for spelling and grammar rules. You can make a huge difference by relearning these and other key aspects of knowledge with your child.
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