The pandemic has forced us to stay at home and bunker down in front of our laptops for work, school, and even social events. We can no longer attend concerts; instead, we live-stream them. Instead of engaging in happy hour cocktails with coworkers, we now have Zoom happy hours to concoct our drink of choice from home and attempt to socialize through a computer screen.
We’ve had to deal with video call exhaustion and poor internet connection for what seems to be much longer than eight months. But businesses and employees are not the only ones struggling with the virtual communication experience. Students transferred their studies to an online platform, removing a college education’s social and interpersonal experiences. Children have had to begin their very first years of schooling behind a computer screen, often accompanied by a parent who must split his time between work calls and studying the multiplication table. To make matter worse, In 2019, a study conducted by the Associated Press found that 17% of U.S. students do not have access to computers at home and 18% do not have home access to broadband internet.
According to a study by Burbio, 52% of students will go to school virtually this fall, and only 25% will attend every day. The remaining 19% will have some form of hybrid schooling, combining online and in-person learning.
While children of this generation are far more apt at technology, virtual learning remains a new challenge both students and teachers have yet to overcome. As a parent, here is what you can do to lighten the load and make the transition to virtual schooling a bit smoother for your child.
Children use phones and tablets for entertainment and distraction purposes. It is easy to get carried away with the games and apps available on our computers and phones, leading to a lack of focus in the (virtual) classroom. To avoid this, be sure to set time limits on applications and create an appropriate learning environment for your children. A study room or corner in a quiet part of the house is best to limit distractions and hinder learning.
Schools have their structure and schedule, and at times it can be draining for a young child to focus on a project or subject for hours on end. With virtual learning, it can become even more difficult. Schedule breaks to help refresh and reset. Take a walk, go for a drive and get ice cream, or just watch a few minutes of television to take their mind off their classes.
A study by Ipsos showed that 75% of teachers revealed they are concerned online learning has set back their classes and learning. As a parent, you may be worried that your child’s education has been negatively affected by virtual learning, as well. There is no longer one-on-one time with their teachers; they cannot easily access help when they need it, nor can they separate the school environment from the home environment. While teachers will still assign quizzes and tests, the learning platform has changed, and it can complicate the studying process. The way information is absorbed and retained is not the same. A few ways you can improve how your child learns is by doing short recaps of the day and even providing self-quizzes to see how far they’ve come. You can set up a reward system so that they will have something to look forward to each time they achieve a new goal. It gives them the incentive to continue studying and will lead to less burnout in the long run.