Supporting Your Kids With Home And Online Learning

30 March 2020, BKK Kids

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“Home is the first school and parents are the first teachers.”

That’s easier said than done for even the most patient among us. We spend countless hours as parents choosing not only where to send our children to school, but then how to best support them in that system. So then what happens when we are faced, as parents, with having the kids at home all day doing online learning, or we have to support them with home learning?

Home Schooling Options

We are after-all the primary and most important teachers in a kids life as we influence their thoughts, feelings, and experience of the world. If parents support and encourage their learning at home and at nursery, it will have a positive effect on their development.

The past few weeks have shown us that, even in times of global health concerns or political uncertainty, our schools and communities can remain strong and resourceful. With many schools at this time facing closure and moving to online learning due to the COVID19 virus, we believe it is possible for students to keep up with coursework, encourage teamwork and is a good lesson is a resilience as we move into a new generation of learning where virtual classrooms could someday be the new normal.

The closures, however, will impact younger students more than others who either cannot stay at home alone or cannot do online learning by themselves. There are many ways in which parents can extend and support their child’s learning with easy low-cost activities such as regular reading or singing of nursery rhymes which can support their basic language skills. Offering experiences such as exploring their local community can encourage curiosity and build their understanding of the world and support a whole range of areas such as maths and physical development. A good idea is for parents to keep both a reading and development diary in periods of extended home learning so that they can chart progress, make comments on how they use resources and what their kids have learnt during this time. This is also a great way of giving useful feedback to the teachers.

The importance of creating a routine is vital. Check out what Khan Academy has recommended for all age groups. Whilst younger kids will be up and ready for their day, teens will drag their feet and try to sleep until lunchtime! It’s a good idea to start as you mean to go on and create both guidelines and possibly stricter rules depending on the age of the student. No parent wants to be the ‘bad guy’ that’s why we send them to school so we can be the fun guys, but when situations arise that call for home learning, we become both parent and teacher and this dynamic needs clear separation.

Credit: Jessica McHale Photography

Create good habits at this point and set a clear time for breakfast, lunch and mid-morning and afternoon breaks. A good idea is to stick to your kids’ current school schedule as they are already used to these set time frames. Make sure they are up and ready for classes and dressed, as online learning in pajamas isn’t a good way to start!

For teens this can be a good opportunity for them to take on extra responsibilities in the home, making their own bed, preparing their snacks and lunch in advance so that they are ready for each day. Set aside time each day for physical activity, weather exploring in the garden, riding a bike or using the gym if one is available, ensure they get moving at least twice a day and teach them the importance of exercise and how this impacts their bodies.

Remember this can also be a great opportunity to build connections with your kids. Playing games can be a great way of learning. Let the kids plan a meal to include all the food groups, the costs and show them how to read and follow a recipe. Find out what your kids are really interested in and then use that as a basis for study. Have them ‘interview’ their grandparents and then ask them to recount the stories to you, this could help older relatives who are feeling isolated. Let them draw, let them create, let them cut and stick and use their imaginations, this might possibly be a time where you will find out more about your kids than ever before. There are a lot of resources available and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, so start with an easy plan and go from there.

For older kids online learning is of paramount importance for schools during crisis situations and many online companies are stepping up to this challenge and are offering their resources online for free. Dreambox is offering a free three months trial and Brainpop has added twice the amount of information to each lesson plan as they previously offered especially to assist students during this period.

Ensure that your kids know the digital learning tool they are using and how to make the best of this by setting alerts and notifications and creating note boards to store and maintain notes during virtual discussions. Teachers will all still be taking class attendance, tracking grades and expect tasks to be completed in the same time frame as if students were in-school. A large part of online learning is accountability as online classes require significantly more attention and motivation, try to encourage kids to study at desks or tables rather than just laying comfortably in bed. Try to ensure TVs and other possible distractions are switched off so they don’t have trouble focusing. Remember to stress the importance to older kids to get together and study or socialize to avoid feelings of confinement.

One of the nice features of online learning is that students can be prevented from seeing other students’ responses to questions until they themselves have responded. In some ways, this encourages the less confident students to have the ability to have their voice heard and not have the fear of making a mistake.

If we can all focus on the positive benefits of home and online learning and target what we can gain rather than what we loose, our kids can adapt and learn resilience during these times of uncertainty. Remember plenty of important work and learning can be accomplished virtually – and is every single day.

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Online Activities Guide

We’ve curated a list of resources below to help parents navigate these new-normal situations and would love to hear from you if you find anything extra we can share within our community.

Availability of the resources below may change at any time. Kindly report to us any issues you may encounter.

Free Academic & Curricular Content — General

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Art Classes & Resources

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Social Sciences, Humanities, Social-Emotional Learning

  • Emotional ABCs. A research-based curriculum described by Common Sense Education as “captivating” in the way it addresses social and emotional competencies, is now free for parents and teachers.
  • The Character Tree. Children seem to love technology, but are they aware of the impact of technology in society? The Grey Squirrel videos, now free, tell stories of how empathy or curiosity were so important in the creation of humanity’s greatest accomplishments.
  • Colonial Williamsburg Education Resource Library
  • Arizona State Ask an Anthropologist provides thought-provoking videos, experiments and activities.

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Science, STEM & Outer Space

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Nature, Environment & Society

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Physical Activity & Dancing

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Arts & Crafts and Home-Based Activities

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Free eBooks

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Audio Books & Story Time

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Educational Video & Streaming

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Virtual Museum Tours

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Virtual Tours of National Parks, Attractions & Animals

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Other Virtual Experiences

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Musical Experiences & Performances

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Board Games

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Support & Communities

Facebook Groups

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Understanding Coronavirus

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