What does it take to excel in online learning? We recently sat down with some of our veteran parents and teachers via Zoom and asked them for some practical advice. Home-based online education is an exciting adventure with its fair share of highs and lows. Here are five tips that we hope will help your family experience a smooth transition to online learning.
Come alongside your children as they learn from new teachers
If this is your first year using online courses, it might feel different that you’re not the “main teacher” anymore. But both your children and their teachers will be relying on you to help make their online learning experience a success. What this looks like depends on the ages and stages of your children, but some practical tips could involve helping your children organize their assignments, budget and manage their time as well as coordinating the family schedule to avoid conflicts with papers and exams. You may not be teaching them French grammar or physics, but your children still have much to learn from you.
Model healthy technology habits for your children
Technology is a powerful tool that can be used for good or ill. At Wilson Hill, we are big fans of technology—we use it every day to connect students around the world with our master teachers. Yet, we recognize the need to engage with technology in a mindful manner. As you transition to online classes, engage in regular conversations with your students about the usefulness and risks of technology. Explore what it means to approach technology from a biblical worldview. And, most importantly, model healthy tech habits around them: We all know that children learn more from what we do than from what we say!
Create a productive environment through family rules and routines
Embracing online learning will bring abundant benefits to your family, especially when combined with sensible family rules and routines. Your family will excel if you start each week and each day with a plan. Design a daily routine and post it somewhere visible for everyone to see. Establish standards such as wearing “school day” clothes rather than pajamas to class and attending class from a designated learning space rather than from a bedroom. Try to enjoy a meal and devotion together at some point during the day. Rules and rhythms such as these can prove invaluable for creating a stable and productive environment.
Discover and cultivate your children’s interests and strengths
One of the rewards of homeschooling is that parents get to witness the emergence of their child’s strengths and interests. It’s exciting to see one child take an interest in science while another prefers to read poetry. Naturally, your children will gravitate to courses that fit their interests. It’s your job as the parent to celebrate these interests while also ensuring they master the classical tools of learning. Here’s a tip: organize their class schedules in such a way that special interest courses are a reward for excelling in core courses. For example, if your daughter is interested in studying German, first require her to excel in Latin.
Find creative ways to engage with your child after work
For parents who may be working away from home all day, here are a few ways to engage with your children’s education when you get home. Ask questions about what they’re learning, discuss their papers and provide help with homework. Read the same books they’re reading. Take walks to discuss their science projects. Set up a “study hall” when you’re home from work. Invite your children to work in the same room with you, making yourself available to assist with homework as needed. Showing your attentiveness and interest in their education goes a long way in cultivating your children’s love of learning.
Homeschooling is truly an adventure that presents families with a variety of challenges, yet with planning, plenty of communication and the support of a trustworthy partner like Wilson Hill Academy, it can also be deeply rewarding.