Let’s face it. Online learning has all the hard parts about going to school without any of the fun stuff.
No friends, recess, extracurricular activities and after school clubs. Because of this, a lot of the motivation to attend school and do well has disappeared. What’s the point? Finish one assignment and there’s just another one right after that. And after that. And after that.
It’s hard to pay attention and study hard when there are no friends and breaks to look forward to, so as parents you’ll have to come up with something that makes studying immediately rewarding–not just long term.
If you can get creative, you can help your child focus and stay on task. Here are some suggestions.
1. First, schedule online time with friends and favorite family members, especially ones close to their own age. Contact other parents and figure out time slots where your children can get together online, talk and play some online games.
2. Make a checklist. Have the videos and assignments listed and let your children check them off as they go. Make sure the goals are manageable so they don’t get discouraged. Make the experience as fun as possible. Use stickers to mark off completed tasks and give little rewards such as small toys, bubbles, candy, dinosaur figurines–whatever your child loves.
Then when a certain block is done, they get to do the online interaction listed in the above suggestion. Since there are no longer recesses, sit down with your child and plan what their recess looks like. Try to plan some physical activity, too. If there is something you and your child like to do together, schedule that in, too.
3. Go on a field trip. Online field trips, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, let you hang with the jellyfish, sea otters, sharks, and more. All live and online. Or how about a virtual tour through the Louvre? What interests your child and where would they like to go?
Don’t take a field trip every day so your jaunts through amazing places still feel like a special day. But a few times a month, pack a sack lunch for fun and go visit somewhere you wish you could go.
4. Location, location, location. Choose a distraction-free area for your child’s study area. Mix it up, though, by sometimes using large books or other items to turn their area from a sit-down desk to a standing desk arrangement. Let them move in between tasks so they don’t get uncomfortable.
5. Use online learning programs and games. As a parent, you’ll probably notice a lot has changed since you were a kid. You may be limited in some areas on how much you can actually help, but there are a lot of resources we didn’t have before. The Khan Academy, for example, covers the math your child will need at any level. Maybe you can brush up, too, and update your skills. And it isn’t just for math, anymore. They also have science, history, grammar and well, basically everything. If your child has some gaps in their learning, boost their education with some free extra help from the Khan Academy.