Remote learning is becoming more and more commonplace, considering the state of the world. Despite the hard and fast shift in the spring, remote learning is still uncharted territory for many. Teachers are jumping into roles that they traditionally aren’t trained to do in person. Parents have taken on the role of teacher and trying to keep up with their work while at home. Student's regular routines and learning environments have been disrupted. But there a small things you can do to make remote learning easier for everyone involved. We’ve put together five tips for remote learning that will help you, your kids, and teachers struggling with unfamiliar learning environments.
1. Keep a Schedule
Consistency is vital to successful learning in children and adults. Try to keep your child’s school schedule as close to what they’re in-person school schedule would typically be. This advice is especially helpful to the 6.4 million children with ADHD/ADD. Teachers should implement a specific schedule of classes and classwork to assist students who need the structure. If your teacher doesn’t create one, then create a schedule yourself. Parents and students alike would benefit from a set schedule, so the parents know when to be quiet, and students have some kind of structure to follow.
2. Create an Ideal Learning Environment
Give yourself as much of an advantage as you can by creating the ideal learning environment. Learning online can be difficult, especially if you struggle with virtual learning. Make sure that the area that you learn in is perfect for how you learn: few outside noises, few distractions like your phone or television, and keep everything organized. If you need white noise to learn, invest in a sound machine, or find a sound machine website. If you are easily distracted by your phone or laptop, get an app or an extension like Cold Turkey to block off websites you have issues ignoring. For every class you have, make sure you keep separate folders, both digital and physical, to keep everything organized. Productivity apps like OneNote can help with keeping organized folders.
3. Keep an Open Line of Communication
An open line of communication can be a motivational, instructional, and celebratory instrument all in one. Students should feel comfortable asking teachers for help. Teachers would benefit from encouraging their students to try harder by using encouragement, praise, and even some good old-fashioned prizes. One teacher even posted a video for his students of him walking on Legos! Parents need to know precisely what is going on with their student’s learning journey. Keeping an open line of communication is the way to achieve all of these goals in one fell swoop.
4. Assist with Independent Learning
Students can get lost easily in material, especially when they are already struggling with the new learning changes. An excellent way to combat this is to encourage independent learning. By using sites like YouTube and Khan Academy, students can gain a one-up on their studying. Parents should also be open to helping their student understand the material. Instead of teaching the lesson again or just doing the work for your student, encourage independent thinking, and walk them through the process.
5. Keep up with the Work & Ask for Help
When students don’t have structure, it can be easy for students to forget the work they have to do. Students should have a specific block time for homework. Homework not finished, though, is unfinished for a reason. If it wasn’t the timing of it, then students should make sure to ask where they are lost and how to get back on track. If that’s talking to a teacher or asking a parent for help, then do that. Try not to obsess over homework. Teachers can’t expect students to complete the same workload when they are out of the classrooms, and that also goes for parents. Talk to your teachers about things that are working in your virtual environment and things that are challenging. You’re teachers want you to succeed and can work with you to create a plan that will work for you.
6. Maintain Some Self Care
If that means taking a day off or just taking a walk between classes, make sure to take time for yourself. While it might seem productive to focus on school or work all day, taking some time for yourself will help you focus and limit stress. Experts recommend taking a 15-minute break for every 75-90 minutes of focused work. Mental breaks help by giving your brain time to sort through and file the information in the right places.
Working remotely is a challenging experience for everyone involved. For the parents who stepping into the role of teaching assistant, the students who can’t go to school, and the teachers who are shifting to new strategies for teaching, patience and understanding are important. If you have a tried and true virtual learning tip, feel free to leave it in the comments below!