For many kids, remote learning doesn’t require a major shift in their skills or routine. But that’s not the case for all students (and definitely not the case for their parents). Students who struggle with specific subjects or school in general can find the new online classroom to be a very challenging hurdle.
If you have a child who needs extra support in their distance learning, we want to help. With that in mind, here are five ideas to help you set them up for success.
Hire a tutor
If your child is struggling in the virtual classroom, you may feel overwhelmed to help, especially if you are working remotely, as well. There are many online tutors who are able and willing to help your child catch up and feel confident in challenging courses. Be sure to look for a tutor who:
● Has experience with teaching or tutoring in an online learning environment.
● Balances empathy and patience with firmness and motivation.
● Displays proven success in tutoring in the specific subject area your child needs.
Making learning fun is easier than ever these days, especially with educational entertainment apps and systems like the Switch, DuoLingo, PBS Kids and even Minecraft. But nothing takes the gamification of learning to new levels quite like Virtual Reality (VR) technology. Your kids can explore new ideas, subjects and perspectives in a way that looks and feels as if they are really there. Before bringing VR tech into your house, be sure to:
● Make sure your internet speeds can handle it.
● Help them track progress in a way that focuses on their educational goals.
● Have a strategy. Don’t just put the VR goggles on and walk away, but make an intentional effort to create lesson plans and measured outcomes associated with the VR games.
Buy the right technology and equipment
If your child is struggling in an online classroom, House Beautiful suggests it could be that their physical learning environment isn’t setting them up for success. Too many distractions or too many restrictions can worsen a child’s advancement in courses that they already find challenging. It’s important you give them the least restrictive learning environment:
● Making sure they have their own technology, like an affordable tablet or laptop, headphones, desk and chair so that they don’t have anxiety over sharing those with other family members.
● Giving them a quiet space with good lighting and room to get up and stretch in between classes.
● Using a timer to help them focus on priority projects and subjects, which allows them to also factor in time for themselves.
Tap into their interests
Learning in general is more fun when it is relevant—that is true for anyone but especially for kids and teens. If you need to support a struggling student, find a way to make their lessons more relevant to their interests. Once they see that a subject is important to something that matters to them, they’ll feel more motivated to break through the barriers. You can try:
● Using math to help a sports fanatic understand statistics about their favorite teams and players. You can even try to predict the outcomes of games.
Keep encouraging them
Struggling in school can be very depressing for kids. They can feel all kinds of negativity about themselves. It’s our job as parents to help them build confidence and stay optimistic. That’s not to say that we present a false reality of their achievements, but it does mean that we keep them encouraged by:
● Celebrating every win, no matter how small.
● Allowing them to feel their emotions without saying they shouldn’t feel a certain way, but instead providing alternative perspectives.
● Empathizing with them. This is hard—for them, for you and for lots of people. Make sure they don’t feel alone or like they have some kind of defect.
You won’t find a one-size-fits-all solution for supporting your kids in school, especially those who need extra help. Remember trial and error is key, and to be as graceful to yourself as you need to be to your kids.