Teaching Methods to Get Your Kids Through Online Learning

It’s always been a fact that families are the first teachers for kids, and in the era of virtual learning, that’s true now more than ever! (As it happens, we’re also the IT person troubleshooting Zoom calls, the cafeteria workers prepping lunch, and the custodians doing cleanup…on top of our normal workload for, you know, our real jobs.)


Whether you’re used to helping your kids with school assignments or not, you’ve probably had a crash course in virtual learning these past few months. Figuring out how to navigate all of this without letting your kid fall behind can seem like an impossible task. While it won’t instantly make all your troubles vanish, a few tips and teaching methods to organize your kids’ learning can help you feel a little more confident in your new secondary role.


Set a Weekday Routine


Before you even jump into teaching methods, it’s important to establish a routine that offers your kids some structure. At the same time, this routine needs to be flexible enough for breaks, outdoor playtime, and reading—especially if you’re also teleworking.


Within reason and within the structure of your school’s class hours, give your children some autonomy in planning this routine. That doesn’t mean they get to adjust the total amount of time spent on lessons, but they should have some say in whether they prefer tackling their hardest subjects before or after lunch and breaks, for example.


For young learners, experiment with shorter learning sessions to hold their attention. If the goal is to hit 30-minute sessions, start in bite-sized 10-minute chunks and build up to it. Don’t forget to also tune into your child, giving more frequent breaks to a restless or distraction-prone learner.


Make Time for Creativity


When you’re struggling to cover the minutiae of math, language, and science, don’t hesitate to take a break for creativity. Our kids may be missing out on some of the more creative classes they had in school, including choir or art, and these types of activities can give your kids a chance to process what they’ve learned while burning off extra energy. Let them try their hand at drama or painting, give them time to practice an instrument, or let them create a city out of building blocks.


Work With Kids’ Interests


Now is a great time to supplement your kids’ typical learning with extra resources grounded in topics your kid loves. Check for online resources that align, like the Kennedy Space Center for live sessions that talk about space, or the Smithsonian Institution for virtual tours and animal cams.


Stay Connected With Your School and Community


Even if your school is doing all virtual learning, it may offer additional caregiver’s support and teaching methods for you. If you need specific advice, don’t forget that your school’s teachers, administrators, counselors and mental health providers are there to help.


In addition, other families in the classroom may be as lost as you are. Tap into your existing networks to share helpful resources and insights. You might also be able to tag-team virtual tutoring sessions with the right group. Plus, your existing network can be a great way to let your kids safely socialize through virtual meet-ups or safely distant playdates.


This is an unprecedented and trying time for most families. You’re struggling with work, watching the news, and becoming a full-time teacher. But that doesn’t mean that you have to do all of it alone! Check out our free guide for more of the productivity hacks that can help you (and your kids) survive at-home-schooling and make it through this pandemic in one piece.  


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