Schools are closed and e-learning has thrust parents into the driver seat with respect to education. In a matter of weeks we became classroom teachers, learning assistants, principals and administrators all wrapped into one and most of us agree that it’s not easy. Even with excellent curriculum modification and hands on instruction from my kids’ teachers, I’ve had my fair share of hurdles to overcome but, I get up every day with my 2 boys – one in early years and the other in grade 2 – and give it my best shot. We’ve had more successes than failures so here’s my two cents on how you can survive e-learning…
Establish a routine
The best thing I’ve done so far is establish a daily routine. By laying out a clear schedule with wake up, log in, meal and bed times for school days, everyone’s expectations are properly aligned. It took my 5 year old a couple of weeks to differentiate school days from weekends but once he got it, mornings went way more smoothly.
Structure is good and it truly helps to keep everyone on track but flexibility is a must. Our school day currently runs from 9:30am to 2:30pm (Ramadan timings) but I’m not rigid with regard to finishing everything within that timeframe. There’s nothing worse than wrangling with a kid to get schoolwork done. Plus, if they’re not into it, they won’t retain anything. I’ve found that it’s much better to give my kids the flexibility they need to get things done when they can be attentive.
Take frequent breaks
Powering through leads to burnout and frustration for both you and the kids so be sure to take frequent breaks. Close the device, back away from the workplace and give yourself and your student a moment to recharge. You’ll be glad you did.
Reward their efforts
If managing the current situation is difficult for you, imagine how hard it must be for students. Let’s do our bit to keep them encouraged. Remember to pause and give positive feedback, recognize their effort sand celebrate milestones. Maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing is just as important as academics. Pizza and buckets of popcorn from VOX Cinema on a Thursday night is our way of rewarding the boys for an awesome week. What special thing can you do?
Allow for mistakes
This is a big one and something that I still grapple with daily. Remember that learning is a process. Kids aren’t going to master every lesson the first time around and that’s okay. They aren’t going to spell every word correctly or compute every math problem right and that’s okay too. Mistakes are simply an indication of the areas that need more work so let them be your guide. Try to stay cool – even when they tell you that one plus one is three. Teachers also need to see their mistakes to set appropriate academic goals so guide them but don’t expect perfection.