Teaching is a tough gig, particularly when you’re not a teacher and you’ve all of a sudden found yourself with your own children as students, scrambling to teach multiple curriculums, in the midst of a global pandemic.
So, here are our tips on wrangling distraction and facilitating structure during remote at-home learning.
Implement a Schedule
Structure is key in learning. Students feel secure knowing what is coming and what is expected of them. To promote a sense of normality (and to preserve your own sanity) create a learning schedule for your children. Their school may give you a timetable for during the school day but consider what happens when the school day is done. Scheduling in time for exercise, chatting to friends, and engaging with family, can be important components of maintaining connection and supporting their wellbeing.
Use a Parental Control Tool
As any teacher will tell you, keeping students on task when learning involves devices is a challenge. This can be magnified when learning is taking place at home and the device management controls that apply at school are all of a sudden non-existent. Check with your child’s school to see if they have applied any filtering or device management software that will work while the device is at home. If not, consider implementing your own. You can manually set up devices to be safe using the instructions available here, or use a parental control tool. In addition to keeping your child from accessing the more precarious things that the Internet has to offer, some parental control tools can also help you filter out distractions and enforce a schedule.
Set Up the Workstation Properly
As I’m sure you’ve experienced yourself, a chaotic workstation is not conducive to work. Ensure your child has a properly set up work area at home. Remove as many distractions as possible, this includes access to devices that are not required for the lesson at hand (yes- that goes for mobiles and wearables). Remember, if your child is using video conferencing as a part of their online learning program, staff and students will have a view of your home. Ensure members of your household are aware of this to avoid any invasions of privacy or uncomfortable situations.
Check in Regularly
Believe it or not, most kids want to learn and will likely let you know how you can help and support their learning. Be sure to check in regularly about how your child is finding online learning and seek feedback on how they think it could be made better. If you’re unsure how to solve a particular online learning issue that your child is experiencing, ask their school how they may be able to assist, after all, we’re all working towards the common goal of maintaining learning for all students.
Give Breaks- For Both of You
With online learning, homework using the Internet, and relaxing with an online game or Netflix session, our kids screen-time can easily creep up during this period, and you know what? That’s totally OK. Of course it’s important that we are encouraging breaks in screen-based activities but don’t fret too much about your child having more than their usual dose of screen-time. Instead, focus on the quality of their leisure screen-based activities. For more information on managing screen-time and screen-quality, click here.