Keeping kids happy and healthy at home during this lockdown period is a challenge to say the least!
Not only do parents want them occupied, but for them to be learning and getting as much out of this time as possible. Particularly for those not returning to school for some months.
Providing a safe, stimulating space for childrenâ€™s imaginations to be exercised in an educational way, is not normally the jobs of parents without school intervention â€“ but the good news is, e-learning, it seems, is here to stay, recommended by the experts and in a huge range of formats to suit every childâ€™s needs.
Thatâ€™s all well and good, but how do you set a structure at home to engage and inspire kids? Lend us your eyes for a moment and we will tell you a bit about why e-learning could be the next big thing, and how to make sure you set your kids up for success learning online from home.
Are E-Learning Tools Effective?
Now more than ever, e-learning is a useful tool in conducting tailored lessons to the needs of individual children keeping them engaged, excited and most importantly, learning outside of the classroom.
Teachers have access to classroom resources from across the world and can offer these to their children both at school and at home. Parents are able to facilitate continued learning and help their children get the specialized help they need. There is a huge range of imaginative resources out there to nurture childrenâ€™s imaginations and teach them through stories, puzzles and play.
Studies have shown that as many as 75% of teachers say that virtual teaching had â€˜a positive impact on their in-person instructionâ€™. This study also found more effective student-focused teaching methods and increased communication and empathy with students. Not just this, but it is also believed that e-learning can enhance the development of motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as learning to use the devices that will become integral to their lives personally and professionally.
So, yes, e-learning can be effective in more ways than one. There is a multitude of different options out there for different age groups. The way to decide which to use would be to consult your childâ€™s teacher, since they will have the optimum understanding of your childâ€™s level, progress and what kind of approach will likely work for them.
Once you have an idea of the e-learning platforms to use, the next step will be setting up boundaries at home. We have some top tips for managing a learning environment in your home, including the physical tools you might want to invest in to ensure optimum success and engagement for your child.
6 Tips to Create an Effective Learning Environment at Home
When it comes to promoting learning at home, teachers provide parents with a couple of pointers to bear in mind: donâ€™t try to replace them and try to encourage children to develop independent learning skills (so that they might manage their own learning, where possible). This last tip is actually similar to how Teaching Assistants operate, so this gives some idea of realistic parental roles in teaching at home.
Ok, so we know itâ€™s a good way forward â€“ and right now for many, our only option. So how can we provide a nurturing environment to foster not just learning, but an open mindset in our children? Structure is the key, and here are the elements you should include within it:
- Designated study space: set kids up with their own work zone. This should be a spot free from distraction, only used for study so that they know when theyâ€™re here, they work. If youâ€™re limited for space, try using tape to map the boundaries for them as a visual prompt.
- Schedule study time vs. break time: work with your child to set segments in their day for work and play. They will develop a routine, know what to expect, and hopefully stick at their tasks longer.
- Give them a choice of rewards: come up with a list of activities for their break times together which kids can choose from. This should again help with their commitment to the system, get them excited and motivated to earn their breaks.
- Schedule your work to complement theirs: when they choose a lengthier reward like a movie, schedule your work time for then as you may minimize the risk of interruption.
- Take some breaks together: similar to the above, when scheduling your workday, make some time for chilling together, giving them your attention, and helping them look forward to that time.
- Everyone pitches in: if there are two parents or guardians at home, take turns supporting the kidsâ€™ learning so that you might also be able to have some alone or down time without them as well. This will help keep everyone saneâ€¦
6 Tools to Ensure Effective Home Learning
If youâ€™ve got the schedule nailed and youâ€™re excited to get started, donâ€™t forget to make sure you give your child the physical tools for success too.
If you have access to the following items, they will be hugely beneficial in allowing you to get through the workday smoothly and efficiently:
- A timer: youâ€™ve got your schedule mapped out, now give them a visual cue for tracking their study and break time.
- Noise-canceling headphones: block out the younger siblings playing or dog barking so they can get stuck in.
- Webcam: this might be necessary for schoolwork â€“ there are child-friendly software solutions for keeping them safe when using webcams online.
- Study space: ensure they keep their space clean, stocked up with stationery, and organized so theyâ€™re not interrupting you for supplies. Also, include a proper desk and chair if you can.
- Their own device: if you can, provide your child with their own device not for sharing with siblings. Ensure the device has enough memory and backup their work.
- Strong WIFI: all this increased internet activity might compromise the quality of your connection for working as well as theirs.
Ultimately, there is no one right answer, as with all our children being so unique and diverse, so must our approaches be. These tips, however, are adaptable, so you can mold them to your familyâ€™s needs and lifestyles as much as you need to. Just remember to take the time out to enjoy it with them too, and who knows, it might empower both you and your child to not just achieve your goals, but smash them!