This article was written during the lockdown phase in NSW
With the whole world fighting with the pandemic situation, children the world over have begun online classes. As such, parents have to double up as teachers too to help their children adapt to the new normal. Yes, parents are indeed the very first teachers of a child and the home is the first classroom. However, as your kids get older, things are not as easy as teaching A, B, and C.
If you are a parent, here are some useful tips for you to help your children study at home:
- Provide a designated space for study and homework
It is not possible to create a classroom-like environment; however, you must try and provide a designated space for study and homework. A designated place helps your children be more focused while studying. Ensure that the place you provide is well-lit and free from distractions. You can encourage your children to decorate this space with drawings, important notes, or photographs of their friends. Also, make sure that your children know it is their responsibility to keep the space tidy and organized. If possible, you can also provide some storage space for their books and stationery items.
- Set a schedule
When children go to school, they have a set routine. They have classes at a specific time and other activities at a designated time. With most students now studying at home, that routine has been somewhat disrupted. Hence, you must set a schedule for your children. Also, make sure you provide all the help for them to be able to stick to the schedule. Ensure they have the necessary books, stationery, and no Wifi disconnections. We recommend you set a schedule that is as close to the school schedule as possible. By doing that you can ensure that your children wake up at nearly the same time as they would for normal school. Most schools have their time-table. If not, schedule the classes as it would be in school. Keeping the same schedule as their school would help your children adapt back to normal school life, whenever that happens.
- Help them understand instead of cramming
With no friends or teachers to turn to, it comes down to you to help your children understand their lessons. Your effort as parents may vary greatly depending on the age and grade of your children. It will probably be easier to teach addition to a child in the first grade than teach Calculus to an older kid. For older kids, you may need to learn alongside them to help them with their lessons. Also, get your children in the habit of studying a little every day instead of just before a test. Help them set a schedule that allows them to practice all subjects.
- Keep up with all communications from the school
With schools conducting online classes, all communications are also online. You must make sure that you check the messages or emails from the teachers, school, or fellow students daily. Doing so will also allow you to help your children keep their work up to date. They will not be missing assignments, tests, or have incomplete homework.
- Use the right online resources
The Internet has helpful material for almost all classes, some in the form of informative videos and some as literature. If you and your child are struggling with any lesson, in particular, turn to the Internet. You can also find several quizzes that your child can take on the lesson to ensure that he had the basics right.
- Identify the barriers to learning
Teachers do it all the time, and now you have to do it too. You have to learn to exactly pinpoint why your child is unable to understand or is struggling with something. Many a time, when a child says “I don’t get it”, they cannot identify what the “it” is. You need to step in to see what “it” is- is it a part of the lesson, is it the calculation, or what? You may once again turn to the Internet for help. If your child is struggling with a lesson, maybe you need to look for videos on the topic. An informative video that simplifies the entire topic, or breaks it down in simpler steps will be a great help for your child. At other times, your child may just not be focused enough to understand the lesson. You may want to incorporate some healthy breaks into your child’s schedule so that online lessons don’t get too overwhelming.
- Teach your children to take down notes
When in a classroom, the teacher generally prompts the students to take down important notes. However, your children, especially the younger ones, may not be doing so during online classes. It is probably fine if your children are young and are only in primary school. For middle school or high school students, they must jot down the important parts being taught in the online class. A child can’t retain everything that is being taught in class. Taking down notes, or highlighting important passages has been proven to increase retention.
- Encourage your children to practice for tests
Practicing for tests regularly is a good habit that you must encourage in your children. Using flashcards or practicing interactive quizzes available online is a good way to prepare for tests. Such methods help your child retain information better. You may also ask review questions or encourage your children to write short essay-type explanations so that they grasp the concerts correctly. 2020 has been a tumultuous year and life, as we knew it, has changed. Many parents are also working from home due to the current situation. More often than not, the office timings of parents and school timings coincide. That leaves very little time for parents to monitor what their children are doing. Besides a schedule for their children, parents should also create their schedules so that they get time to help children with their studies. We hope the above tips are helpful for parents whose children are taking online classes.