Distance Learning: Teaching Kids at Home
Distance learning has exploded in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic began and is quickly becoming a new normal for many families. Now, 1.6 million students are exclusively using distance learning.
Even before the pandemic, distance learning was popular among students and families because students could complete assignments from anywhere and study on their own terms.
Is your child required to undergo distance learning? Do you feel uncomfortable sending your child back to school? Fortunately, handling distance learning isn’t as impossible as it might seem.
However, you’ll need to understand the distance learning process and you’ll have to have the right technology.
Here’s more information and advice about teaching kids at home.
Different Distance Learning Platforms
Thanks to the popularity of distance learning, there are now more remote learning options than ever. Here are a few that you and your child may encounter.
This is a traditional distance learning set-up in which your child’s courses are completely online. Students can study from home and they don’t need to visit the school for any reason.
Students are responsible for their own materials, such as equipment and internet access. If you can’t afford the internet, you may qualify for free phone and data service to access these courses.
These courses are a combination of in-person lectures and online learning. Though you or your child will still need to occasionally attend class, these courses are more flexible compared to traditional classrooms. The amount of classroom time required depends on the class and the school.
This is a good option if you don’t have internet access but don’t want to or are unable to take your child to school. Your child will receive their educational materials by mail and you’ll send assignments to a specific return address.
If your school is closed, or you’re not comfortable sending your child back to school, your child’s instructor may schedule classroom time in the form of live conferencing via video or audio chat. This option is popular in many school districts because students can remain at home while still connecting with their peers and teacher in a virtual environment.
You’ll still need essential technology for this course structure. See if your free wireless phone service will suffice for remote conferencing.
What Parents Need to Know
With distance learning, parents take on the important job of working with instructors to meet a child’s individual needs. If this is intimidating, just know the essential factors that will ensure your child will succeed.
Teachers are no longer present to remind students of any deadlines, so as a parent or caretaker you’ll have to pay attention to your child’s schoolwork and stay organized. Some deadlines such as exams also require your child to be present or online at a certain day or time. It’s essential to know when these deadlines are and make sure your child does too.
What if your child’s course is self-paced? You’ll still want to help your child organize their time. Your child doesn’t want to procrastinate and have to work on all assignments at the last second. This is a good opportunity to teach them responsibility, discipline, and independence.
Most instructors suggest parents create a schedule for their child. You may want to set this up on a calendar along with important deadline dates for your child’s learning and store it somewhere easily accessible, such as on your mobile device.
In setting up this schedule, focus as much as you can on what you already know works best for your child. If your child behaves better studying during normal school hours, stick to this timetable. If your child focuses better during the evening, don’t hesitate to schedule their homework or other activities during that time.
Keep in mind that your child may have to be present at a specific day and time and make sure you include this in their schedule. For example, maybe their teacher has daily conferences or there’s a specific exam day.
Teachers across the country are working hard to provide the best education possible to your child under difficult and quickly changing circumstances. Help them help your child by understanding what teachers are responsible for (guidance, assignments, lesson plans, grading) and what parents and caretakers are responsible for (making sure work is completed, staying involved, and providing support and communication). Take responsibility for your part in educating your child. You’ll get better results from both your child and their teacher while modeling positive behavior for your child.
Many families are going through tough times these days, and that includes kids. If your child is having trouble or isn’t performing to expectation, don’t forget to consider everything they’re going through before judging them too harshly. Maybe it’s okay to show them (and yourself) a little compassion instead.
What If You Have Multiple Kids?
Managing several children with distance learning schedules is nothing short of exhausting. Fortunately, there are some best practices that parents can follow.
- Make sure your kids aren’t online all at once. This is especially important if you use a lifeline service, since you can only use this service on one device.
- Rotate your children’s online schedules if you can. Designate specific times of day for different children, paying attention to when those children are naturally most attentive and productive. Try to help your children do their most stressful or demanding work in the morning wherever possible, and don’t procrastinate!
- Contact teachers and see if your children can complete any work offline. This includes completing assignments on pen and paper, taking a picture of the assignment, and emailing it to their teacher.
- Identify which child needs more supervision than other children. Focus on them the most while also ensuring your other children are completing their schoolwork as well as receiving encouragement and support.
Remember, you don’t have to be overwhelmed. If you’re having difficulty managing all of your kids, contact their school counselor or their teacher for assistance.
Other Ways to Help Your Child With Distance Learning
Not all students adjust well to distance learning. That’s why parents should follow some of these additional tips.
Motivate Your Kids
When kids are home, the last thing they want is to complete schoolwork, but there are simple ways to convince kids to put down the toys and focus on school.
Remember to provide positive reinforcement and congratulate your kids not only on their good grades, but also on other behaviors such as kindness, good manners, patience, flexibility, and resilience. You can reward (or bribe) them for success in any of these areas.
For older kids, this is a great opportunity to develop time management skills. Don’t be afraid to let them take the lead. Start by asking them how they will organize their schoolwork and help them build a plan. They will feel good about being independent and will feel prideful about their accomplishments.
If your kids are not connecting well to their work or are falling behind, ask their teacher if there are ways they can engage your child. Even one-on-one conference calls can help motivate your child to study.
Teach Them to Focus
It’s easy for kids to be distracted while studying from home, but there are tricks and strategies to improve their focus.
- Devote an area for school. Even if it’s just a simple chair with your Lifeline phone that is set up specifically for school and put back when school is over, this area will help signal to your child that it’s time to complete their schoolwork.
- If your child feels overwhelmed, help them make a list of everything they need to do, then ask them to focus on just one task at a time as they cross the tasks off their list. This way, they can separate their projects into easy-to-consume assignments and gain the satisfaction of watching their accomplishments build up.
- Create boundaries. Find ways to help your child create clear start and stop times to their schoolwork, so they know and understand when they need to be working and when their time is free.
- Communicate with your kids. If they can’t focus on school, ask them why and let them know you’re there to help and support them. Do what you can to find creative ways to make the home a better learning environment.
Set Realistic Expectations
Let’s be honest — everyone is dealing with a lot of change and difficulty these days, and we’re all doing our best. Remember to consider everything your household is contending with and set your expectations accordingly.
A Lifeline Phone Can Help With Distance Learning
Distance learning is becoming the new normal. If you can’t afford the necessary equipment, such as the internet, a lifeline phone can suffice. Apply for Standup Wireless today!