Many families were not prepared for the pandemic reality of working from home while helping children connect with teachers and learn remotely.
Not only are there challenges with access to online resources, but parents also struggle to balance their own work schedules while helping their kids. Kids with special learning needs require extra time and resources and parents may find this challenging.
Below are some tips to help you support your children with remote learning:
- Make a schedule. Have a schedule for family time, school, work, activities and chores. The schedule does not have to be complicated and can be updated every morning. When family members understand the plan for the day, even if it isn’t perfect, there will be less stress and it will be easier to have everyone on-board to do their part. Scheduling is especially important for younger children who are generally used to routines.
- School time is not work time. This is difficult when all adults in the home are trying to work, but if a parent is helping the child with school, the focus should be only school while instructions are explained and the child is relying on assistance. Interruptions of texts and phone calls may make the child feel unimportant and frustrated.
- Be organized. If you can, have a designated space for school and keep all the necessary supplies nearby. The same goes for an effective parent workspace. Fewer distractions and less time wasted searching for supplies will result in less frustration for parents and children. For more information on sharing space, read Sharing Space at Home.
- Be flexible. Schedules are not set in stone. Things come up that either interrupt learning or that will be great opportunities for learning. It is also possible that the learner is very interested in a topic, so spending more time exploring and learning will be beneficial for them. Use these engaged learning moments to connect and enjoy teaching your child.
- Understand learning styles. Everyone learns in different ways. Be prepared that even within a household there may be hands-on learners and paper/pen learners. Have a variety of tools available to help the child understand concepts and lessons. Activities like math games can bring fun to learning, especially when information is difficult to understand just by reading and working with pencil and paper.
- School hours. Recognize that though a school day is six or seven hours in length, children have breaks, recess, and lunch while at school. Learning at home should be the same. Children may get the formal “learning” part of their day finished within a few hours. Encourage children to read, engage in creative activities or physical activity when the assigned schoolwork is complete.
- Use available resources and ask for help. Make use of resources that are available from school, online teaching groups, community groups, libraries and neighbours. Many websites have been developed to engage children in math and science learning games and hundreds of books are available to read online. Speak with your child’s teacher if you need help in accessing more learning resources.
- Be realistic in your expectations for your family. Focus on the current needs within your family and let go of anything you can to reduce stress. As much as possible, build a support network of people who can help with home-schooling, family needs and employment demands. Friends and neighbours can provide much needed support during challenging times.