At-home Learning: Tips for Parents
One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked is about at-home learning.
Where should students be learning in their homes? Should kids be studying in their beds? Should they stay up late to complete an activity? How long for and with what supplies?
While Covid-19 has dramatically affected the need for virtual learning, these concerns are not exclusive to homeschooling. Summer studying and homework should also have a specific at-home learning space all year round.
There isn’t a one size fits all solution to at-home environments; however, there are plenty of small shifts you can implement for big impact.
Below you will find practical tips for virtual learning that have helped students to focus and become independent, confident learners.
Prefer to listen?
Check out episode 118 of the Learn Smarter: The Educational Therapy Podcast where I discuss with my co-host, Stephanie, the framework of questions that parents should ask themselves before they set up a successful at-home learning environment.
Before you begin making changes to your child’s virtual learning space, ask yourself the below questions…
How many things are you asking your child to change at once? What is the priority? Will your child listen to you and if not, who will they listen to? What’s the goal you want to set?
Looking at the overall goal of how you want learning to function in your home rather than simply demanding changes will make it a smoother process for all involved.
Often the battle of where homework is complete is not as simple as it first seems. Remember when your little one had to move seats in class? It’s a big deal! So make sure you go about a new change together.
When setting up a virtual learning space at home, there are a few environmental factors to consider.
First, a devoted workspace needs to be free from distraction and clear of clutter. Only set up a desk or table with the supplies your child needs for their specific at-home learning activities. Learners tend to want all their tools close by - and while 50 pencils might be comforting, it also reduces focus.
Your at-home learning space should preferably not be in the same room as a working parent or another child. Separate rooms are powerful and an easy way to avoid distractions if your home can accommodate. This is particularly important for older children who can independently function without close supervision.
Beyond separate rooms, kids can also benefit from having their own at-home learning resources and devices where possible. If sharing is unavoidable then make sure to rotate who gets what to eradicate unnecessary fighting.
Another key area to consider is the level of comfort your learning space provides. Is the lighting too bright? Is the temperature too warm? Creating a cozy, safe space will encourage focus.
A set virtual learning schedule is important for all ages - even adults! For smaller children, this means clearly laying out time for snacks, breaks, and recess. For older kids this helps you and them to understand what they are capable of - they might focus for 30 minutes or up to two hours.
Set aside time for both homework and schoolwork if you are learning from home. Making each activity clear and structured increases your child’s ability to focus.
The use of a timer is particularly helpful. Try a cube timer which allows children to physically see how much time is passing. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs are another useful tool that removes distractions for learners but also for parents who need to focus on their own work.
The most important thing to remember when setting up a virtual learning space at home is to change one thing at a time. Which of the above will excite your child the most? Make their new environment a fun, rewarding experience and you’ll reap the benefits.
Don’t forget to have grace and compassion for yourself, particularly during these unprecedented times. Virtual learning is no easy feat and requires a lot of patience.
If you need extra support with your child’s at-home learning, consider the help of a trained expert.
Homeschooling is a particularly tough gig for parents who are managing multiple children and their own jobs. If virtual learning is impacting your quality of life and your family’s home life during the pandemic, seek the support of virtual learning assistance.
Kapp Educational Therapy Group offers a variety of virtual learning experiences to facilitate education, helping parents who don’t have time or need extra support during Covid-19.
Whether you have multiple learners, need 1:1 support at home, or even have a few friends you can create a learning pod with - we provide expanded hours to implement and supplement children’s learning.