Abstract illustration of a father and son

How Remote Learning Can Help Families

The pandemic has brought in some new realities. Baking, Zillow surfing, going through your timeline from a decade ago and wondering what you were thinking, spending two awkward minutes saying “bye” to end Zoom meetings, and of course, remote learning.

In one way or another, remote learning is here to stay. While there were apprehensions early on, teachers, students, and families have slowly adjusted to the new reality. Before we get to how it can be a win-win situation for everyone concerned, we need to define it. 

Remote learning is when the student and teacher move from a physical, face-to-face setting to an online environment. This sudden shift from physical learning to remote learning – and let’s agree, everything was “all of a sudden” last year – can be overwhelming. 

If you sometimes wonder whether you’re completely supporting your child in their remote learning, relax. It’s a relatively new system and we’re all getting used to it. No one is an expert. No one has got it all figured. No one is doing it better than you.

With that in mind, here are some tips to make the most out of remote learning, and importantly, to make it easy for your child and for your family.

See it from your child’s point of view

Before anything else, remember that it’s confusing for kids too. If virtual meetings feel weird for grownups, imagine how strange it must be for children to see their teachers on screen. 

So, you’ve got to see it from your kid’s point of view. You should talk to them, and encourage them whenever it gets challenging. Be honest in your replies. If they ask when things will get back to normal, tell them the truth (that you’re not sure). 

Everyone knows the problems associated with “work from home” (WFH) but there’s no equivalent discussion about “learn from home” (LFH). More than supervision or discipline, what your kids need now is empathy. 

Reserve a remote learning space

If you’ve been working from home, you know the importance of having a dedicated space. Similarly, have a space for remote learning. It should be easy for your child to access and have all the books and stationery they need. 

The furniture should be comfortable and spacious. If you don’t have them, you can always find used furniture online or ask your family or friends. Ensure that the learning space is well lit.

Maintain a routine

Children are used to routines. A routine provides structure and dedicated slots to everything from learning to sports to time with friends. This helps them plan for the next hour, day, or week. The pandemic disrupted all that. 

With remote learning, it can be difficult for children to mentally get into the zone. To help them, you need to establish routines that are not different from their school-going days. There should be a wake-up time, breakfast time, and then school time. 

Give them periodic breaks 

Remote learning is only part of what your child has to do. Remember that they’ll have to do their homework once the classes are over. Therefore, ensure that they get adequate breaks.

But a break shouldn’t mean another window or video game. Ideally, what you want is some time away from the screen. You could encourage them to leave the room, go to the yard or the balcony. 

Beware of distractions

As you know more than anyone else, kids can easily get distracted. So, you should proactively avoid any distraction to your child’s remote learning experience. Make sure that their space is not close to the TV or the kitchen.

If you’re short on space, ensure that the TV is switched off while they study or that you don’t operate the blender when they are in class. Also, don’t take any phone calls while their classes are going on. If you say something awkward, their teacher and friends will notice and there could be a recording of it. 

Have end-of-the-day chats

Just like you’d talk to them when they come back from school, have a conversation with your kids at the end of the day. Remember, it’s important to be empathetic. Ask them if they had difficulty in any subject or whether they spoke to their friends.

There could also be technical issues where they may need your help. Were there problems with the internet connection? What about the headset? Is the screen resolution too bright?

Talk to their teachers

Considering what they have had to do, in an ideal world, every teacher would be getting the highest civilian honor. In the absence of that, you have to call up your kid’s teachers and appreciate their efforts and ask them about your kid’s performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is remote learning the same as online learning?

Online learning is designed for students to learn on their own. They have more flexibility in deciding when to take classes and submit assignments. Remote learning is the regular school system that’s gone online. It has more involvement from the teachers.

What about those students without laptops or internet connections?

If you don’t have a computer or uninterrupted mobile connection, you should check with the school first to see if they can help you out. 

Next, you should reach out to community resources and see if they can help you with a laptop. If both these fail, you could request the school for physical copies of the study material.

How come some kids are thriving in remote learning while others aren’t?

Some children may struggle with communication and for them, remote learning could be challenging. Some may need the support of their friends more than others. Then there are those who are not fast in operating computers.

What you need to understand is that remote learning is challenging for everyone at some level. The most important thing that you’ve got to do is talk to your kids, and give them a comfortable space to open up about their learning experience. That’s when the system will be effective for everyone. 

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