Keep Your Children Learning During Pandemic with These Tips

Parenting Tips

The year 2020 has posed a lot of challenges for families worldwide due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Governments all over the world have ordered their citizens to stay home resulting in the Great Lockdown. Businesses have been shut down, schools and travel has been restricted. Many people have lost their jobs while some have switched to working online from home for half the salary. There is no doubt that recent events have caused a lot of anxiety and tension among families.

The good news is that people have managed to adapt, and so has the education system. Education during pandemic has also drastically changed. The pandemic has made virtual learning global. While this might be good news for homeschoolers, what about parents like you who are struggling to make your teen focus on schoolwork and your kindergartener stay off cartoons? The joy of staying home without school rules and a set schedule for lessons has taken over, and you don’t know what to do and how to help your child study. Well, maybe the following tips will help you manage your child’s academic progress:

1. Create a routine

Here at GIIS Kuala Lumpur, the best school in Malaysia, remote learning is not a new concept. This means students already know how it works; therefore, the transition from school to home is relatively simpler. Parents are given home-based learning timetables relevant to their children’s grades, and all they have to do is ensure that the children are ready at the given time. However, for many schools, it was the opposite, and parents had to play the role of teacher while schools slowly made the transition online.

As things slowly get back to normal, you can help your child keep learning by creating and maintaining a routine. Figure out how much time you want them to spend on academic activities daily. It will be different for younger children because their learning is more project-based and play-based. It is best to set their learning time in the morning to coincide with their regular school timings. However, it is best to develop the learning schedule with your child.

2. Plan ahead

After you have set your time table, outline the learning activities that your children will be doing the day or week before. Younger children need to repeatedly go over some concepts before they understand them completely, so you don’t necessarily have to change the lessons. For example, you can decide to learn numbers on Mondays, but you can have a different activity related to numbers every Monday. This will be more exciting for the child and encourage learning while at home.

It’s different for high schoolers because they might have already been assigned the coursework. Let’s say it’s a literature class, and they have to finish reading a book and write a report. You can plan the tasks of the day together. For example, they can be reading the book daily for one hour and use the next 30 minutes to make notes on what they read.

3. Collaborate with teachers

Just because schools are closed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t consult with the teachers. Virtual learning has made it easier for all parties involved to communicate directly. It is essential that you share the activities and progress of your child with their respective teachers. If your child is struggling in one area, the teacher can help you create new tasks and recommend academic exercises that will help your child. Some schools allow you to download and print activities related to the curriculum for students to work on while at home. Don’t rely too much on online learning apps or your knowledge. You will be pleased to find that there are a lot of school teachers willing to help.

4. Have realistic expectations

You cannot expect a child to engage in a full day worth of traditional education while at home. First of all, as a parent, you already have a lot on your plate. You can’t dedicate a whole day to being a teacher or coach to your child. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or the child; do what you can manage. The main idea is to prevent loss of skills and maintain a semblance of normalcy using the routine you started in step one.

5. Encourage peer to peer collaboration

The country has been advised to maintain social distancing and stay indoors. When you apply these rules to education, it can be quite dull for children and it can negatively affect their learning. Thank God for technology because you can plan virtual playdates, and your teenager can work with their classmate on a group project through video calls and meetings. Home-based education can be lonely, especially for young children. Schools that offer remote learning are using online apps that allow conference calling where every student, irrespective of their location, can join the virtual class at the same time. This has made learning more interesting for students because they still get to interact and learn together in an online class, even though they are far from each other.

6. Be creative

Teachers always have a way of making learning fun for children. If you are fighting with your preschooler every time they have to do some classwork, it might be because they aren’t enjoying it. Play is vital in encouraging younger children to learn. Pick an activity they like and incorporate learning in it. For example, if they like dancing, dance as you count the steps. As you are counting steps, they are learning numbers. If you had study time indoors today, have it outdoors tomorrow. Don’t overthink it. Small changes will excite them and make them more curious about learning. You can incorporate learning in almost any home activity.

7. Your attention matters

Younger children enjoy it when you do stuff together, but teens get annoyed when you micromanage them. So, how do you handle this as a parent who is also working from home? The best way to give everyone what they want is to have a common study area for the whole family. You can plan the schedule so that you are also working when the children are doing school work. You can do the simple things like replying to your work emails while your children are studying. Such a task is not too demanding to take your attention away from your kindergartener, and it will keep you busy enough not to micromanage your teen. Working together in the communal study will enhance family bonding, and you will be setting an example for your children.

As you are busy trying to adjust to the new normal, don’t forget to reward your children with positive compliments when they make progress. Don’t forget to identify a time that you can spend time with yourself for a few minutes everyday. Be patient with your children and also with yourself, especially if you are a teacher.

If your children study in one of the best schools in Malaysia, like here at GIIS, you will find ample online resources and virtual guidance from the teachers.

Find yourself a support system of other parents who are helping their children learn at home. It’s not healthy for you to feel alone during this time. Joining a community of parents will encourage you, and help you to share ideas and resources. Remember, this is a tough time for everybody, including the children, so take it one day at a time.

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