Distance Learning Tips for Parents
How Parents Can Help with Remote Learning
As a parent, it’s your job to look out for your children. That includes everything from helping your child safely manage a hot glue gun while building a diorama and guiding them through first-day-of-school jitters.
But distance learning is an entirely new challenge—you might not have all the tools just yet.
If your child needs help with online learning, or you’re simply keeping a close eye on their studies during this new adventure, these distance learning tips for parents might do the trick.
Be A Support System, Not A Second Teacher
If you’re frustrated with your school’s new online learning platform, constant pivots, and technical difficulties, just imagine how your child must be feeling.
Ask how you can be an asset rather than an additional source of stress.
Engage your child in meaningful ways by requesting a full recap of their school day, including the most interesting things they learned in class. Put things in perspective instead of piling on the pressure to ace every test and assignment.
Create Open Channels of Communication With Their Teachers
With so many virtual communication options, you have increased access to your children’s teachers. Capitalize on these open channels by asking for additional resources, requesting progress updates, and keeping teachers informed of any struggles and setbacks.
Familiarize Yourself With the Technology
Ongoing technical difficulties can present the biggest barrier to learning. If you take the time at the beginning of the semester to navigate your child’s educational platforms, online resources, and virtual study materials, you’ll be better equipped to help them later on.
5 Homework Tips to Motivate Your Kids
If you’re looking for concrete solutions, we have five easy ways to improve homework time and increase motivation.
So, how can parents help facilitate a child’s learning?
#1 Create A Designated Study Space
When your child is confined to your home with no school-life boundary, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on homework (especially when the TV is always just one room away).
Even if you don’t have the space for a dedicated “homeschool room,” you can carve out a suitable spot at the dining room table, in the corner of the den, or even in their bedroom by physically separating their living and playing space from their working space.
By switching from the “playing space” to the “homework space,” you’re signaling that a new activity has begun with new rules and expectations. This helps create a structure where none exists.
#2 Become Their Student
Studies show that one of the best ways to truly grasp a subject is by teaching someone else. Your child may not be able to practice this in class with their peers, but luckily, they have the perfect pupils right at home—their parents:
- Ask probing questions to gauge their overall understanding
- Have them explain it in different ways
- Take a practice test together, then go through the answers and ask them to explain the ones you each answered incorrectly
Teaching a wise tool for long-term retention, plus turning homework into a group activity reintroduces the human connection and interaction your child may be missing most.
#3 Find the Fun in the Mundane
Sitting in front of a computer screen isn’t the most exciting way to spend eight hours a day. As hard as their teachers try to create engaging lessons and stimulating assignments, there’s only so much they can do over Zoom.
As the parent, however, you have the opportunity to take their learning off the page (or screen, in this case):
- The world can be your classroom – Use the natural resources around you to bring concepts to life, including life sciences, art, and even math. Practice multiplication using the rows of windows on a nearby building, explore the neighborhood creak to learn about ecosystems, or notice aesthetic patterns and composition around you.
- Games make everything better – Gamification, the introduction of gameplay into non-game experiences, is a valuable teaching tool, especially for young students. Research explores how gamifying classroom activities celebrates correct answers rather than punishing incorrect ones while creating a more positive, engaging experience.
#4 Make Time for Study Breaks
Periodic breaks aren’t just a reward for long study sessions and hard work—they improve learning and retention capabilities.
When helping with homework, create a schedule with pre-determined study breaks. Here are a few productive ways to spend this time:
- Blast your kid’s favorite song for a three-minute dance party
- Take a ten-minute walk around the block
- Stretch with them—neck, shoulders, back, hamstrings, wrists
- Whip together a healthy snack (introduce it as brain food for your child’s study session)
- Play their favorite game for a slightly longer break
This is especially important after long periods of virtual learning. Movement helps with aching muscles and stiff joints, time away from the computer gives your child’s eyes a much-needed break, and a little bit of fun is both rejuvenating and recentering.
#5 Encourage Self-Motivation & Self-Regulation
As much as you want to help your child succeed, you won’t always be available to help them through their online learning.
Explain these tips and tricks to your child and create concrete study plans alongside them. This includes:
- Helping them create homework schedules with time for both school and rest
- Teaching them healthy ways to blow off steam and refocus their energy
- Modeling productivity and healthy habits as you work from home alongside them
- Instilling time management and prioritization skills—“if you work hard and finish this assignment now, you’ll be able to play your video game for a whole hour tonight”
- Assessing their progress and reevaluating as the year goes on
Ballington Academy Is Just As Invested In Your Child’s Success
Distance learning can present unique learning challenges for even the most capable and adaptable students. At Ballington Academy, we’re doing all we can to enhance their learning experience during the day, just as you’re working tirelessly on homework assignments and practice tests in the evening.
Share these useful tips about how parents can help students at home as we navigate the unfamiliar terrain ahead—together.
Applied Cognitive Psychology. The learning benefits of teaching: A retrieval practice hypothesis.
The Connections Lab. Analysis of Gamification in Education. http://clab.iat.sfu.ca/pubs/Stott-Gamification.pdf
Neuron. Enhanced Brain Correlations during Rest Are Related to Memory for Recent Experiences. https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(10)00006-1