Distance learning tips for parents can be hard to find. This is because parents are often overlooked in education simply because they are parents. They are expected to know everything about their child and what they need to do. And if they do not, they are perceived to be bad parents even if they are in fact great parents.
This is a judgment-free zone regardless of your financial status, race, or knowledge base. We know that parents wear a lot of hats already, and to be an untrained teacher is just one more task given to the already full-time job of parenting. This article aims to give you 8 important tips for distance learning to help remove some of the burden. But to also remind you that the outcome is worth the challenge.
If you would like to learn more on why ViewSonic cares so heavily about you and your child’s education, check our education solutions to learn more about what we are doing.
Distance learning is quickly becoming more popular among educational institutes at all levels. This is because distance learning is a great option for promoting student-centered learning and self-ability. However, because this is a more advanced option of education compared to the past, parents have more responsibilities than before.
While your child will most likely have a teacher in distance education, parents take on more responsibilities relating to child development in terms of pacing, social skills, and other professional skills. While parents already do this, they often are taught in non-formal forms rather than formal forms of education. However, keep reading on to learn how you as a parent can best navigate distance learning for your child’s best results.
What is Distance Learning?
Distance learning refers to any form of remote education where the student is not physically present for the lesson. Distance learning as a concept, is like what you may find in an online college course. It is carried out by the institution and often has a learning group consisting of both students and teachers.
Distance learning is great for students looking for a open-schedule and want more autonomy in their learning process. Distance learning is also great as it is student-centered thus giving students more opportunities to learn at their own pace for a lower than usual cost.
If you are interested in more information about distance learning and why it is important, learn more here!
Challenges of Distance Learning at Home
Distance learning presents many challenges that can affect students. Some of these issues range from no access to technology, poor and unstable learning environments, and specialized needs that require face-to-face interaction.
However, an even more overlooked challenge for distance learning is that parents have a much bigger role in the educational ecosystem. Parents are given the role of parent, provider, role model, and educator. Because of this, parents need to teach life skills, responsibility, and general education like math and science.
It is a heavy burden for even the best parent. But thankfully there are some tips and secrets that teachers use in the classroom that can be applied in your home learning space as well. With a little bit of know-how, you can better balance your life as a parent as well as help your child be successful in the learning process.
8 Tips for Parents for Successful Distance Learning
It can be difficult for parents to assume the role of a teacher. The relationship between a teacher and student can be much different than the relationship between parent and child. However, with these 8 tips you can easily tap into the mind of a teacher and help your child learn better.
Set up The Perfect Learning Space
Setting up the perfect learning space for your child is the first and one of the most important tips on this list. Children need somewhere comfortable to learn, which is why schools spend days upon days learning about classroom optimization. Keep in mind however, that decorations do not equal optimization. In fact, research shows that overly-decorated classrooms may actually disturb learning!
When setting up a productive learning space for your child, let them choose the location based on their preference. Make sure it is comfortable and accessible but does not have distractions. Also, if possible, make sure this space is only used for learning. It is not ideal for the child to move to different locations every day or learn in a playroom.
Set a School-Like Schedule
Setting a school-like schedule is important for routine in a child’s life. Even if you are using a flexible schedule or asynchronous learning , make it like a school schedule. For example, if you are doing asynchronous learning, but in general, classes end around 3PM, do not let them out early if they have finished their work. Instead, have them do productive work like reading a book of their choice or doing extra materials until class is “finished” at 3PM.
By doing this, you encourage routine and give your child a sense of self in that they learn how to manage their time and use free time productively.
Get to Know your Child
Parents may think they know everything about their child, but it is impossible to know everything. This is because children change as they grow, and they are learning about themselves as well. They may like one subject, but that does not necessarily mean it is their best. Knowing how to navigate this is important.
Be observant in your child and consistently use reflection and discussion strategies to learn more about them. Ask them how they feel about a certain activity or why they are frustrated. Be receptive and use positive reinforcement for all cases of wrong answers or behavior. Sometimes it is more helpful to ask why they colored the sun green rather than correcting them by saying it is yellow.
If you are curious how most teacher-student dynamics work, check out this article on 6 strategies teachers use to build better student relationships.
Be Engaged in Their Learning Process
Many parents do not have a lot of time, but you should try to be as engaged as possible in your students learning process. This can be as simple as asking them what they learned, all the way to having them demonstrating a concept soon after an assignment has been finished. Another way to be engaged with your child is to share your own educational experiences growing up.
If you find yourself with an edgy teen who is too cool for your stories, connect with them by engaging outside of class hours. Rather than reflecting upon materials later that day at dinner time, try doing something fun for both of you – an outing, a board game, a DIY project – and ask about their schoolwork then. This promotes not only a positive relationship between parent and child but helps eliminate feelings of social isolation due reduced face-to-face interaction and peer reflection.
Create a Clear Relationship of Authority
Most parents have seen or found themselves in a situation where the child behaves one way at school and another at home. This is because of different dynamics of authority. Some children have little respect for their parents but have high respect for teachers and vice-versa.
Try not to be a parent when helping with schoolwork and do not be a strict teacher during off time. You can do this by using different wording for the same intended message for example. Another tip is to try to remove terms of endearment during learning times and use their name instead. Or change your method of redirection and positive reinforcement. For example, learning positive reinforcement is verbal while parental positive reinforcement is physical with treats or fun night outs.
Don’t Overwork Them
Some parents may mistake distance learning to be easier than in-class learning. This is because you are at home. There is an assumption that you are in your pajamas in a comfy chair with quick access to the snack cabinet. With that idea, it is easy to overwork your child. Remember that all that thinking can actually be quite tiresome.
Alongside keeping routine, make sure to incorporate breaks and discuss with their teacher on how to best break up assignments if you need help. Remind your child to get up and walk around at appropriate times and to express any feelings of being overwhelmed.
Also remember, distance learning requires parents to be even more selfless than usual. You may have to rework your own schedule so that you can make sure your child can learn best. If you would like to learn more, check out this article on brain breaks and how they benefit your child in nearly every area of their wellbeing.
Include Physical Activity or Other Activities
Many curriculums have required physical education as part of your child’s general education. One downside of distance learning is that many institutes focus on learning subjects rather than music, art, or physical activities. This is also because of the encouragement of STEM related fields that come with technology-based learning like distance learning.
Thankfully, there are plenty of online exercise videos and interactive videos your child can use. There are even ones you can do with them like yoga, fun dance workouts, and more. Not to mention, if your child is not the type to enjoy sports, you can enroll them in online classes for instruments, crochet, or other hobbies. Nowadays esports is even growing in popularity so much that many schools have their own esports teams.
Joining an extracurricular activity, whether it be PE or something else, is a great way for your child to use their creative brain and build important social skills like teamwork, communication, and self-importance.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Surprisingly, one of the most difficult tips on this list is may be that parents should not be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes parents are shamed for not being able to provide everything that other parents can provide for their child despite being loving and the best they can be.
Remember that teachers are there for your children. Coming to your child’s teacher and asking for help is the absolute best way to show that you care. If you find yourself struggling to make a routine, having behavioral issues, or do not have access to the needed technologies, many teachers and school districts are willing to help anyway they can.
Never be afraid to ask for help and know your own limitations as a parent and a person. Remember that you are probably not alone if you find yourself struggling.
Distance learning can be a challenge for some. However, it has great benefits and has the potential to really help all types of students. Having the right information is the first step to knowing how you as a parent can help in your child’s education. Not only that, but you also help your child’s teacher in creating a cohesive team guaranteed for success.
If you would like more information and options for your child, check out our education solutions to learn more about what teachers and administrators are doing to ensure the best education for your child.