Virtual learning is defined as a learning experience that utilises computers, mobile devices and the Internet inside and outside an educational institution. A number of international schools are taking the e-learning route to ensure their students do not miss out on their classes and exam preparation even when they are confined at home. Teachers are coming up with creative ways to teach and interact with their students via platforms such as Google Education, Google Hangouts and Zoom. Parents, teachers and students need to work with one another and adapt to this new learning environment.
Here are some tips for parents to help their children make the best out of their virtual learning experience:
1. Create a conducive learning space
Parents should find a space in the house that is quiet, comfortable and suitable for online lessons. The space should be away from distractions such as the television or gaming consoles so children can focus on learning. It is also important to have a sturdy desk and comfortable chair to sit on as children will be sitting the entire time their online lessons are in session. In addition, it is necessary that children are able to access a working laptop and stable internet connection to ensure online lessons can be conducted smoothly without any glitches or loss of connection. Any laptops or devices used also need to be updated with the applications and software needed as instructed by the school. If there any issues throughout the learning from home arrangement, parents can contact the school to see how they can accommodate students who need help.
2. Allocate time for breaks and recess
Another thing parents can do is to maintain their children’s going-to-school routine even if they are at home. Parents can get hold of their child’s timetable and make sure to follow the scheduled time for recess and breaks. Therefore, parents should encourage their children to take five-minute breaks every hour to stretch, walk or grab a snack. Children function best when there is a routine to follow. This lessens uncertainty and prepares students to have a productive day of learning. In terms of food, parents can try their best to prepare nutritious meals for their children. They can also gather ideas from their children’s own cafeteria menu at school.
3. Prepare a daily schedule
Parents can help their children come up with a daily schedule so the day’s activities are clearly laid out. This will also help parents focus on their own tasks if they are working from home as well. Children should be encouraged to wake up around the same time as they would for school, do some light exercise, eat breakfast and prepare for the lessons ahead. After lessons are over, time must be allocated for rest and play. This can include fun activities to do with the family such as playing board games or baking. In addition, parents should also help their children set small goals to accomplish each day to build their children’s confidence, determination and self-esteem. It is also important for parents to ensure all homework and assignments are completed on time and submitted correctly online.
4. Allow video calls with friends
Other than learning, school is a place for socialising and making new friends. It is normal for children to miss their friends and extracurricular activities while learning from home. Parents can help find ways for their children to stay connected with their friends via video call, phone calls or online games. Children can interact with their friends on the weekends as they will have more free time.
5. Keep in touch with teachers and other parents
Parents can also connect with other parents to find out how virtual learning is conducted in their homes. This is also an opportunity to check on their friends who are also parents to give support and share advice. In addition, parents can contact their children’s teacher if they have any enquiries on the virtual learning process and give feedback, positive or negative, to help improve the virtual learning experience altogether.
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