As a parent and caregiver, you likely never imagined your home would one day double as your child’s classroom. You also never thought you’d be a teacher. But when schools were abruptly closed in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you found yourself invested in providing a safe and fun learning environment for your child. Many school districts across the country are now offering remote learning or a hybrid in-person and remote schedule. As such, children need support from their parents so they can focus on their studies.
Most parents are now tasked with being teachers to keep their children focused, engaged, and entertained at home. If you’re one of them, chances are you’re doing your best to adapt quickly. After all, pandemic schooling isn’t easy. The only question is, how can you recreate the classroom experience for your child at home? Remember, without a conducive environment for learning and discovery, your children might fall behind academically. Here’s what you can do:
Create a Dedicated Space for Leaning
Keep in mind that recreating a traditional classroom in your home is almost impossible since the home environment is typically less structured than school. What you need to do is to set up a dedicated space for remote learning within your home. You should organize the home environment in a way that allows your child to focus on their lessons and assignments without being distracted.
You don’t want to have your child cramping at the dining table with everyone else as they try to keep up with their online classes. If your child prefers silence, set up their learning space in their bedroom or a spare room. Otherwise, you can use a part of your living room. Choose a comfortable chair and a desk that can accommodate their learning materials including a laptop. Also, make sure their learning space has good natural lighting.
Add Artwork Decorations to Personalize the Learning Space
Arts and crafts play a significant role in the growth and development of children. Not only do they provide a fun outlet for self-expression but also inspire the development of special intelligence in kids. Artistic activities such as coloring and drawing can enhance your child’s fine motor skills, encourage their creativity, and develop problem-solving skills.
Children are artistic and creative by nature and decorating your walls with artwork can help them feel confident at experimenting. You don’t have to stop there. Go ahead and create a creative arts area and gallery in their dedicated learning space. You can incorporate wall art from your favorite online retails and wall art created by your children. Want to inspire them with funny decor? Try a fake college degree to keep them motivated or a faux report card with straight As to help them envision the future.
Do your best to provide them with enough art materials and supplies to allow for their free exploration and independent creativity. Let them display their own notes, colorings, drawings, and ideas in their own gallery space. Your role as a parent is to help keep the materials organized so your children can easily access them. Your kids just need a corner in their room and they’re good to get started. So, don’t worry about creating an art studio. You don’t have to. Keep it simple.
Self-regulation can be a challenge to most children in a remote learning environment. As such, you have a responsibility to support your child and provide them with some level of accountability during their online lessons and assignments. It can be difficult to get them to focus on their app-packed smartphone right next to them. And there’s no way they’ll score good grades when they stay glued on social media or video games the whole day.
Some of the things you can do to limit distractions include keeping their smartphone out of sight and turning the TV off when they’re learning. Mobile applications and tools such as SelfControl, Dewo, and StayFocusd can help children limit distractions as well.
Maintain a Realistic Schedule
It can be tempting to tell your child to focus on their classwork for hours without a break. You want them to be hardworking students-right? But don’t you think overwhelming them with books and assignments can be disastrous? They also need some time to have fun. As a parent, you should maintain a realistic daily schedule with lots of recess. Having a schedule structure will give your child a sense of routine, of them focusing on schoolwork except that they are doing it at home.
Therefore, it’s important that the schedule structure mimics what your child is used to when they are going to school. That doesn’t mean you become rigid and strict to make sure they follow everything. You want to observe your child every day and adjust the schedule to serve them better. At the end of the day, it’s about them learning better, not following some kind of routine set for them.
Maintain Social Connections
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted people’s lives in ways no one could imagine. Children can no longer have a normal routine that includes going to school and spending time with their friends. It’s a fact that your child is missing their classmates and friends in the community. Remember they have been doing all manner of things together, from playing to working in groups. Now, all of a sudden they have found themselves alone at home with no social connections with the outside world.
The best thing you can do is give them an opportunity to engage with their friends and classmates. You’ll be surprised how engaging with their classmates will excite and motivate them to learn and stay focused on their online lessons. You can incorporate video streaming via skype or zoom into your child’s day or allow them to catch up with each other on social media. Whatever you do, make sure you help your child maintain social connections so they don’t feel alone.