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Ways To Help Your Child Succeed At Online Distance Learning

With schools in the majority of states closed during this time, many teachers, children, and their parents are relying on distance learning. According to Gallup’s recent poll, over 83 percent of children are learning through an online distance learning program. Even as many school districts across the country unveil their fall reopening plans, it is being revealed that students will not be returning to the classroom full time initially. Instead, many schools will be relying on a blended learning system of classroom and distance learning throughout the week. Now, not only is online education the growing solution for colleges but the entire school system. For these children, their parents, and their educators, they will now have to figure out the best way to adjust to their new normal. 

Make Learning Interactive And Continuous

Instead of overwhelming children with large amounts of information at once, structure their learning schedule so that new information is presented in small doses. The attention span of children can vary according to their age and ability. For instance, according to child development experts, a child aged 4-5 years old should be able to focus for no longer than 2-5 minutes. For some children with special needs like autistic students, their concentration can be further impacted. Therefore, start with creating a learning schedule based on your child’s attention span. You should also aim to include regular breaks away from screens throughout the day. This gives them the chance to process new information learned, achieve optimal concentration, and have the opportunity for valuable outdoor recreational activities.

Parents and teachers should also strive to make their online learning sessions interactive. While some learning platforms already contain features that allow you to do this, parents can also do this themselves by implemented self-quizzes and open-ended discussions after new topics. This aids in retrieval practice which is important in helping students retain new information. If you do find your child’s concentration ability is waning, strategies such as including regular physical education sessions and implementing regular breaks from screens including television and video games.

Provide Them With The Right Tools For Online Learning

Another way to support your child in their online learning journey is to provide them with the right tools to succeed. This includes tools that will help them organize their work or schedule and improve their communication, numerical, and essay writing abilities. Thankfully, there is now a growing range of free tools and tips for childhood learning online. Classwork schedule charts and templates can help them keep track of outstanding assignments, topics being covered, and class timings. Also, to help them with their writing skills, parents or teachers can recommend digital learning resources for English Learners like Education Forward’s Digital Resource for English Learners blog. It provides practical tips to help children develop their reading, writing, and speaking skills through virtual learning along with essay writing tips like citing reliable information sources in their work or adopting various essay writing styles.

Find Ways To Connect Content To Real Life Examples

Finally, parents and educators can find ways to connect the content children are learning online to the real world. Also known as authentic learning, it helps them make the connection between what is being taught in their virtual classrooms to real-life issues and situations. One prime example is the topic of money often taught in elementary and high school classes. Presenting opportunities for them to exercise topics such as saving, budgeting, and credit management helps them gain practical experience. 

Educators can also achieve this by setting students home projects and supplementary assignments like the monitoring of a caterpillar’s life cycle. Finally, don’t forget to break up asynchronous content with moments of real-time connection including real-time face to face student to teacher conversations about their courses. Video calling software like Zoom and Skype can help with this. For homeschooling parents, they can create built-in time to pause and have that conversation with their child.

With the age of digital learning rapidly becoming the norm, it is also important that the mental health of children participating in online distancing learning be considered.  Virtual distance learning has been linked to increased feelings of isolation, demotivation, and general poor mental health. Therefore, you must create a healthy balance in your child’s online learning routine for extracurricular activities and socialization. With the right tools, support, and, balance distance learning can help them thrive.

Written by Jennifer McLee

Education World Contributor

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