Distant Learning/Homeschooling in the time of COVID-19 — a Blessing in Disguise?

Dear parents, let us use this unique opportunity to get closer to our kids.


The schools are now closed in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 virus, and our lives have been turned upside down. Most of us aren’t ready for this sudden change in routine, and many of us lack any experience with homeschooling. Unplanned homeschooling has become a great source of frustration for a lot of families. Since I have some experience temporarily homeschooling my own kids a few years ago, I would like to share a few tips on how to help your kids successfully learn at home.


Learning Space

Create a clean, distraction-free learning space. It is best to choose a room where toys and widgets are out of sight. If you are also working from home, consider setting up your home office in the same room so you can do your job AND support your children whenever needed. Note that homeschooling presents a unique opportunity for your kids to read and write where they feel most comfortable, even on the floor or on a couch.


Make a Friendly Deal

It is extremely important to go over the process with your children before they begin their work: where to get information on given assignments, by when they must be completed, and how to send them to a teacher. It is best to make an amicable agreement with your child about a particular time of the study. Prepare a written schedule with the assignments for the day on a sheet of paper and attach it to a visible spot on the wall or the desk. After each completed task, get your kids to cross out their completed assignments on the schedule sheet. In the beginning, you will likely need to show them how to send their work to different teachers. Later they will be able to do it themselves.


E-learning and Screen Time

E-learning can be a fun and engaging activity. If your children must study online, unrestricted access to a computer and a mobile phone may become a problem. Computer games and YouTube are way more interesting for our youngsters than math exercises. If your child struggles to follow the schedule, find a way to limit their screen time. Apple devices have integrated screen time. Microsoft Family screen time for Windows is also very reliable. There are plenty of helpful screen time apps for Android smartphones and tablets. I sincerely recommend limiting screen time for young children if you can’t always keep an eye on their learning progress.


Breaks

The younger the child, the less time he or she will be able to focus on one assignment. 6-year-olds may need a break every 20–30 minutes. Agree beforehand on the beginning and duration of breaks for snacks, lunch, games, sport, and outdoor activities. If you have two or more children in the family, it is crucial to let them have breaks at the same time. Have fun with your children during longer breaks: play table games, cook something delicious, dance, do yoga, go for a walk, or watch movies together. Do something special! This is a perfect time to get closer to your kids and express your care and love.


Bedtime

Bedtime must be strictly regulated. Children will be in a better mood and more focused after they “sleep themselves out”. Avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine and artificial colors because these make children overactive, unfocused, and prevent them from falling asleep at the right time.


Balance

We are all quite busy with work and home routines, even on a relatively slow day. But now we are forced to combine all our daily obligations with homeschooling. Try to keep a balance between school assignments and family time. Education IS essential, but a kind and trusting relationship with our children and the health of our families are vital, especially now. This is a difficult situation for all of us. Let us use this unique opportunity to get closer to our kids! Don’t forget to give yourself room to breathe, and give your children room to breathe too. Don’t let the school system’s overwhelming demands damage your relationship with your children. We strive to be loving and supportive Moms and Dads. Our children don’t see us as school teachers, and it is easy to become a strict and demanding parent in their eyes. This is a line we absolutely shouldn’t cross.


From time to time, emphasize the importance of mutual support. Tell your children that you love them. Assure that we are here to help them. Remind them that you also need their understanding and support, and don’t forget to thank them when you receive it.


Let us be patient and calm, stay safe, and take care of one another.

This article was published in Illumination on March 17, 2020. Written by Ksenia Sein © 2020 All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.


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