In 2020, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, school-aged children all over the world had to do something unprecedented: shift from face-to-face learning to home-based learning all of a sudden.
By no means was this an easy task for students, who all have set routines that largely revolved around their school life but it was also a challenge for teachers, as the online learning model required them to repurpose and recalibrate their instruction methods.
In addition, parents found themselves with the additional obligation of supervising their children’s learning at home and acting as secondary teachers for them.
It’s been more than a year since many countries rolled out home-based and blended learning guidelines – but students and their parents may still need some help adjusting to the distance learning system, and that’s understandable.
With that in mind, if you will be enrolling your own child in an online learning program this year, there are some preparations you can make ahead of time.
These five tips will help you and your child get into the rhythm of online learning and make the experience more fulfilling and enjoyable overall.
1. Be Ready to Rethink the Learning Process
First, it’s good for you and your child to adjust your expectations for what the school year will look like. Your child may have gotten used to certain learning methods that are standard in physical classrooms, and thus, they may be a little surprised about how concepts have been repackaged for digital delivery.
For example, learning science from home will certainly be different from learning it in a school laboratory facility. If they’re tasked with replicating an experiment from home, a student may be disoriented about not being able to ask their science teacher questions in person.
You and your child may have to do some mental preparation for online learning processes that lean more towards self-guided study and independent enrichment.
Luckily, some schools have adapted their curricula to achieve a good balance of self-determination from students and support from teachers.
For instance, the Stamford American International School has a wealth of experience in developing innovative online learning methodologies and has even recently launched an e-learning preparatory course that is designed not just for students in Singapore also but for other eligible learners from all over the world.
Parents can involve themselves by learning about these new instruction methods and programs and observing which ones are making a positive impact on their children.
2. Compile Learning Resources to Supplement Your Child’s Education
Your child’s school is in charge of determining the main resources to be used for online learning, but that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to the school’s curricula for your child’s enrichment.
Take this opportunity to comb the web for literature, media, scientific research, and other forms of educational material that could supplement your child’s learning.
There are a plethora of additional resources that you can compile from websites where you can base your search for supplementary materials on your child’s interest.
For example, if they want to learn more about world history, you can look up e-books, podcasts, or video series that expound on the subject.
3. Determine an Optimal Schedule for Learning and Extracurricular Activities
Many educational institutions have embraced flexible schedules for online learning instead of requiring students to listen to their teachers’ lectures for hours at a time.
At the outset, this flexible learning arrangement is a good thing because it allows students more “breathing room” in between lessons.
But too much flexibility may take away from students’ focus on their lessons and cause them to cram a lot of online assignments at the same time.
If your child’s school allows them a lot of freedom with their time, it’s a good idea for you to determine an optimal schedule together.
Encourage your child to practice their time management skills and learn how to balance their school responsibilities with their extracurriculars, as well as family time and their hobbies.
4. Invest in Good Gear for Online Learning
The home-based learning and blended learning models will require your child to access their educational materials using computers, smartphones, and gadgets.
They will also need a strong internet connection to stay in touch with their teachers and classmates, as well as dependable audio and video equipment for activities like video calls.
Knowing this, you can prepare for a smooth and enjoyable online learning experience by investing in high-quality hardware. Start with a laptop or tablet that can support your child’s educational needs for the longest possible time.
Other sensible additions include a quality headset and a web camera with a good resolution. You may also purchase a printer to print class materials if you and your child want more breaks from your computer screen.
5. Go Through the Basics of “Netiquette” Together
Last but definitely not least, you and your child should prepare for online learning by reviewing basic “netiquette.” You may already be practicing good netiquette in your professional life in light of the shift to a work-from-home arrangement.
Pass these practices on to your child so that they can treat their teachers and classmates with the utmost respect in the online learning environment.
Remind your child to address their teachers and classmates clearly and politely in written correspondence, like emails.
If they’re attending a lecture via video call, emphasize the importance of muting their microphone when it is someone else’s turn to speak and comporting appropriately while they’re on camera.
If everyone practices good netiquette, your child, their classmates, and their teachers will feel like they’ve preserved the atmosphere of a live classroom. Ultimately, that will make online learning feel more immersive and truer than its face-to-face counterpart.
Through it all, remember to touch base with your child and help them feel supported in their online learning journey.
Prepping may be difficult at first, but once both of you get the hang of it, you and your child will be able to look forward to more online learning experiences in the future.