As schools are faced with the challenge of providing learning opportunities for all students at a distance, parents are called on to be more involved than ever before, particularly for their younger learners and those with learning challenges and disabilities. Maintaining high levels of engagement can be challenging even for savvy adult learners.
How do we best help our kids make the most of these distance learning experiences? Check out these tips on how to encourage engagement.
- Understand the expectation for distance learning. How much time should students spend online for learning purposes? There are screen time considerations for all students, and older students can handle longer amounts of time than younger students. Your child’s teacher or school should provide some guidance for what is reasonable. For young children, interaction and play is valuable for learning.
- Reduce distractions. Where possible, reduce distractions when your child is completing schoolwork. This includes noise as well as visual noise or clutter. A designated workspace that is comfortable for your child will be helpful.
- Adjust your schedule as needed. If your child is frustrated — or alternately, if your child is very engaged in learning — make a change in your schedule to allow for a break (and revisit at a later day or time) or to spend time delving deeper into the topic. Some learning activities will be easier to move through than others. Consider working with your child on those activities or subjects that are more difficult during the times of day when your child is most alert and engaged. Learning material that is easier for a child, and therefore moved through more quickly, can be completed at a different time (such as in the afternoon or even another day). It’s also helpful to share with your teacher what is working best for you and your child.
- Provide immediate positive feedback. Each time your child completes distance learning instruction, provide immediate and positive feedback! Something as simple as putting a check mark, star, or sticker on the work assignment can go a long way in helping to motivate your child. And don’t forget to celebrate yourself, as you are playing such an important role to help your child learn and grow.
- Give your child (and yourself) a break. Your teacher does not want your child to be frustrated with or miserable about learning. In fact, teachers spend time trying to make lessons interesting, and to tailor instruction to provide the right level of challenge for their students. If something is too challenging, or your child has hit a frustration level, it’s okay to stop the activity and give them a break. It’s also okay to slow down the pace, which means giving your child time to think and process information. It also means participating in segments of learning one at a time rather than trying to tackle a whole lesson in one sitting. You can give yourself permission to pick that lesson back up another time or another day.
The thought of eLearning may be overwhelming to some parents, understandably. The great alternative to this is Little Learner’s Academy eLearning assistance program. You have the ability to allow your student to still receive the in-person guidance to provide some sense of normality.