It was not long ago I was homeschooling my middle son, Kobe, for tennis. He struggled at first with homeschooling but we eventually found a groove that worked for both of us. The following tips are what we learned from two years of virtual learning with EPIC. And while I believe home-schooling and crisis online schooling are entirely different, they share many of the same foundational tenets.
It wasn’t until I empowered Kobe with the resources to succeed that he began the confidence building activities that will serve him for, I believe, life. Children naturally want to please and succeed, but they may not always know how. Giving them the freedom to take control of their day allows them to make mistakes and learn from them, and eventually succeed.
For my experience with Kobe, who loses focus quite often, I created the 3 Ps method - Prepared, Polite, Positive. All of the items listed below each tenet can be done by children ages 5 and up with the exception of emailing.
Charge my device.
Prepare Supplies and quiet workspace.
Eat and use restroom prior to class.
Be early/Mute mic/Turn on camera
Eliminate distractions - iPhone, tablet, toys, food, drinks.
Turn off TV/radio
Move animals to another room.
Focus and listen
Raise my hand and wait my turn.
Use checklists or schedules to feel accomplished
Since older children may be required to attend online school for longer periods of time, special attention should be paid to eye health. For all ages, physical and mental states are very important to attend to, as well. Some advanced learning tips for older children include:
1.) Remember the 20-20-20 rule created by eye doctors for your eye health:
Every 20 minutes, look up for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away.
If you know you’ll be online for a long time, remember the 20-20-20.
2.) Make time for friends, even if it means seeing them virtually.
3.) Exercising daily will keep you very positive.
4.) Revisit your schedule. How did it work for you? Do you need to revise your plan?
5.) Self reflect on the experience learning from a distance. Look in the mirror; smile; say you are proud of yourself and pat yourself on the back!
6.) Share your learning with someone at home!
And I saved the best for last - online etiquette. Being polite involves focusing on the speaker as he or she is speaking. This involves 6 body parts and can be broken down to:
Ears are listening.
Eyes are looking.
Mouth is quiet.
Hands are still.
Body is facing the screen.
Brain is thinking
Online school may seem daunting at first but remember that change is inevitable and adaptability is key to success.