By DeVry University
If you're like many parents around the world whose children’s school year is looking very different from the last, then you're probably searching anywhere and everywhere for tips on how to support e-learning for your family.
Luckily, we can help. At DeVry University, we’ve been teaching online classes for more than 20 years. While coursework, attention spans and other factors can certainly vary between child and adult learners, the general recipe for success is relatively similar. Take a look at 6 of our favorite e-learning tips for kids to help you make the most of this unprecedented time.
1. Focus on the Benefits of E-Learning
Let's face it, most families did not expect to be faced with the world of e-learning this year. Many households are navigating work, school and personal lives all from the same space and trying to figure it out as they go. During this time, it can be helpful to shift your perspective and focus to some of the unexpected benefits that may come with e-learning:
- Flexibility - Depending on your child's age, e-learning can offer flexibility to suit individual learning styles and habits and better accommodate your own work schedule. You know your family best, and know when you work your best. If your e-learning program allows for flexible independent learning time, fine-tune your schedule to suit both your needs.
- More personalized approach - Everyone learns at different speeds. In a classroom, a teacher has the difficult task of moving everyone along through a lesson at the same pace. With e-learning, you get a first row seat to see how your child is performing in different subjects. You can tailor the time you spend helping your child on the subjects that need it most, and spend less time on the topics they've mastered. Not only can this personalization boost retention, but it can also help make your child more engaged in the material.
- Improved technical and communication skills - E-learning gives children more exposure to different software and communication methods that may be essential skills in their future workspaces. Because e-learning is not an exact replica of an in-class environment, it can encourage teachers and students to create well-thought-out questions—and intentional responses.
2. Create a Schedule
In almost every article on 'How to Support E-Learning at home,' you will see the recommendation to create a schedule. Why? It keeps everyone on track and accountable.
For many students, the school day is closely timed to ensure a good balance of work, creativity and social time. Once you take your learning online, it can be easy to lose sight of how you're allocating your time. Creating a schedule will ensure you stay on top of the tasks at hand and also give visibility into what the other members of your family are focused on.
A schedule can also serve as a reminder to take a break to refresh by stretching, drinking water, having a snack or heading outside to enjoy some play time.
3. Create Space Between Home and School
Creating space between your home and schoolwork is essential. The reality? Many people's kitchen tables, bedrooms or playrooms will be doubling as the learning zone, which can make it hard to separate work and home life when the school day is done. By setting up a designated desk in a corner or purposely cleaning up the kitchen table at the end of the day, you create a ritual or transition from work and study, to home life.
Learning from home has a lot of distractions. With toys and the TV in sight, it can be easy for kids to get off track. Furthermore, slouching on the couch with an iPad to study can be unproductive, not to mention uncomfortable. By setting up a functional, comfortable and distraction-free zone you can signal the start of the school day and make it easier for your kids to focus.
4. Get Outside
While it can be really nice to roll out of bed and into your virtual 'classroom,' it can also get cabin fever-y very fast! Getting outside at least once or twice each day ensures you're getting a different, fresh perspective and keeps you from feeling trapped in a stale environment.
Your outside time could be as simple as a walk around the block or tossing a ball in the park. It doesn't have to be elaborate or for long, just enough time to make you feel energized and refreshed for your next task. Research lists a multitude of benefits associated with getting outside, from Vitamin D, to better fitness levels and recovery from stress. Taking time at various points in the day to go outside can help make a world of a difference.
5. Leverage External Resources
While some days may seem more challenging than others, you're not alone. There are an abundance of e-learning for kids support groups and resources available if you know where to look, which means you don't need to create a plan from scratch. Form a Facebook community with the other parents in your kids e-learning class. Share feedback about assignments, challenges with lessons and ideas for keeping your kids engaged. You can even organize zoom playdates.
In the absence of heading to school every day and interacting in person with teachers and other students, it can be easy for kids to start craving something new in their daily routine. Switch things up by diving into some online research and find a wealth of free supplemental learning resources to support kids of any age as well as fun activities to add variety to your kid's schedule.
6. Adapt as you Go
One of the best things you can do for you and your family is to be kind to yourself. It's no easy task to support a family, maintain your own productivity at work and ensure your children's success in e-learning. Life naturally ebbs and flows so don't assume that the schedule you started out with needs to be rigidly kept. Maybe you're experiencing a busier time at work, or your kids are feeling burnt out. Pay attention to how everyone is feeling and give yourself permission to adapt your schedule to suit your current needs.