It’s that time again!
Here are 6 tips to prepare your child for online learning.
- Create a learning space for your child.
Here are some tips on how (and where) to set up a quiet, clutter-free area.
- Let your child choose where to work.
Does your child work best sitting at the kitchen table or at a desk in your living room? Maybe your child doesn’t have one work spot but needs to move around to different areas. Letting kids choose where to do their work can make them more likely to actually do it.
For example, you can convert the kitchen table into a learning station. Turn off the TV and remove all cups, salt and pepper, and other kitchen items when your child is doing schoolwork. When it’s time to eat, put away the school supplies and use it again as a kitchen table.
- Make a supply caddy.
Organize school supplies in compartments that are easy to see and pull from and turn a household item into a caddy to transport them. Here are some simple items you can use:
- A shower caddy. Put a plastic cup into one section if there are holes that pencils could fall through.
- An empty shoebox. Create dividers using cardboard from the lid or put an upside-down egg carton in the box and poke markers, scissors, etc., through each cup. Or you can just use plastic cups as a way to keep supplies organized in the box.
- A reusable grocery bag. Separate supplies into sandwich-size (or larger) Ziploc bags and store them in the bag. You can also do this with a child’s sand bucket.
- Block out distractions.
Use a folding screen or a tall piece of furniture to block off space — block out distractions. A folding screen is easy to set up and put away after your child’s done with their classwork.
You can also make a screen out of a tall cardboard box. Cut out three sides of the box. Let your child choose which colour duct tape to cover the edges with to give the screen a more polished look.
2. Schedule time with no screens.
Build time in your child’s (and your family’s) schedule to exercise (see #5), play games and give your eyes a screen break.
3. Reduce distractions.
Video games, computer games, social media, TV, toys, pets — our homes have lots of distractions. Make a list of the things that could distract your child. Then, find ways to limit them during learning time.
For example, is your family dog a big distraction? If so, can you put the dog in a separate room during school time?
Are games or social media a big distraction? Try blocking them on your child’s device during instructional time.
4. Use a calendar and colour-code it.
It’s important to set up systems to help your child stay on top of school deadlines. This will also help your child stay organised. Post a calendar and mark it with due dates and class times. (See example of one of our amazing student’s calendar/planning boards.)
You can also use colour-coding for tasks. For example, use a red pen for reading and a blue pen for maths.
5. Get plenty of exercise.
Exercise helps us think better. When we move and groove, our problem-solving, memory, and attention improve. Physical activity is a natural way to reduce stress and prevent anxiety. Experts say that when we move and get our heart rate up, it has a positive impact on how we think.
Identify a time and place in your home for physical activity and then look for family-friendly workouts you can do at home. The best time to exercise might be right before tackling schoolwork. It’s also good to take exercise breaks throughout the day.
6. Reach out to your child’s teachers.
Online education requires family support. To support your child, set up a direct line of communication with your child’s teachers. Use email, text, phone calls, or maybe even video conferencing to connect.
If your child is not sure how to do an assignment, don’t just guess — reach out to confirm. You may even want to set up a day and time each week to connect with the teacher. You can use this time to talk about challenges your child is facing, review upcoming instruction, and understand expectations.