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At-home Learning: Tips for Parents Navigating New Realities of Remote Education

The rapid closing of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken everyone by surprise. Children all over the country are suddenly being asked to learn from home, via online learning, assignments sent over WhatsApp or emails. For most people, remote learning is a new concept and a brand new experience. It is not an easy task to suddenly convert homes into classrooms.
For many families, the concern lies with their ability to keep up with the changes and keep everything running smoothly, without neglecting their work responsibilities or their children. More than 54% of working parents say that they constantly feel guilty because they’re unable to fully cater to the needs of their children and about 43% of working parents feel guilty because when they’re looking after their children’s needs, they’re neglecting work, according to CNBC.
Keeping these feelings and emotions aside, parents need to step up their game because the pandemic continues to rage on and schools will remain shut for the foreseeable future. Your child’s school is not providing physical classes due to safety reasons and the only way to educate children is through remote learning. Here are a few things that you can do to help your child with at-home learning.

Create a dedicated learning space for your child

Does your child have a dedicated space to study and complete his/her homework? If not, you need to set up a special study place that is free of distractions, noise and clutter.
Regardless of which corner of the house is converted into a study space for your kid, make sure that it is clutter-free. A clean area with only school supplies will help your child to focus.

Make a Schedule and Stay Organized

Children are creatures of habit and since there is no school bell, it might make your child tardy and lazy. Don’t let this happen. You must create a schedule or timetable for your child and stick to it. The schedule can include school hours, break hours, homework time, and also time to watch TV or play games.
It is important that you make sure that your child sticks to a schedule and stays organized. This is because while teachers are working very hard to make online classes interesting, it is not in their hands to make students attend those online classes. Parents have to step in and take charge. Even though it is remote learning, making your child stick to a routine is going to be helpful.

Remove or Reduce Distractions

It might not be possible to remove distractions altogether, but you can make an effort to limit them. TV, pets, toys, social media, video games, and computer games are some of the distractions at home. You need to make a list of them and find ways to limit them when your child is studying. You can include playtime in the schedule or routine that you create so that your child has ample time to study and have fun.
Use a calendar and highlight tasks or assignments
To help your child stay on top of deadlines, you can use a calendar. You can place the calendar in your child’s dedicated study space and mark the due dates. You can also use visual organizers to break down an assignment into simple steps so that your kid feels motivated toward completing it. You can even color-code the tasks to make them appear interesting and fun. For example, blue can be for math assignments and green for English assignments.

Set up the Laptop or Smartphone for your child

Before your child’s online classes begin, make it a point to check that the laptop or smartphone is connected to the Wi-Fi network or has a proper Internet connection. If your child is using your phone, you need to restrict all calls and messages so that your child doesn’t get distracted. You even need to check the accessibility features and see which one is helpful for your child. For instance, YouTube allows users to slow down the playback speed. This can be done if your child is having trouble understanding videos and would need more time to focus on each element. You can directly talk to the teachers to find out the accessibility features that they would recommend for their online classes.
Don’t teach your child shortcuts, but help them understand
If your child has failed to complete an assignment, do not make up an excuse for him/her. If your child has failed to wake up in the morning and attend the online class, don’t reach out to the teacher to request not to admonish him/her. Also, if an online test is going on, don’t help your child to ace the exam.
By making excuses for your child, you are impeding his/her growth and not really helping. If you truly want to help, encourage them to do their homework and help them understand the study material if they find themselves stuck. Sit with them when they’re doing their homework.

Reach out to your child’s teacher

At-home or remote learning requires an enormous amount of family support. To support your child, you need to be aware of what is being taught. If your child is unable to understand an assignment, you should reach out to the teacher directly. Also, you can use this time to freely talk about the challenges faced by your child and how you can help.
Work with your child and the teachers to remove any learning barrier that might prevent your child from gaining proper education. Times are tough, but obstacles can be overcome by working together.

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