We talk a lot about how our work lives have changed, in some ways permanently, by the pandemic. Most of us who typically would spend a lot of time in offices, or visiting clients, or participating in networking meetings and conferences have learned to adapt to doing these tasks in a virtual way as best we can. Working from home, while perhaps expanded these days, is nothing new.
But with schools back in session, we are now asking kids, who don’t have the experience and flexibility of the typical office employee, to learn in a completely unprecedented way. Part-time in person, part-time virtual, socially distanced education is not something we have done as a society before.
Maybe things will go back to normal for children as the public health situation changes. But in the meantime, we need to find ways to leverage technology to provide kids with the most cohesive and engaging experience during this unprecedented time.
Let’s talk about a few ideas that you and your family might find helpful.
TIP #1 - Have the right equipment
There’s plenty to distract us when we are working from home. Our families, as well as the attraction of all our home comforts, make it easy to lose focus and be less productive.
One thing I try to do when I’m working from home, and I think it would be really helpful for kids’ virtual education, is to get a good set of noise canceling headphones. Most laptop speakers are hollow sounding and can make it hard to concentrate on what’s being presented. Having clear sound will help your kids focus on their lessons as opposed to the various noises in the home.
The same thing goes for other peripherals like webcams, microphones, monitors, mice and so on. Sure, there are many things built into laptops and tablets, but sometimes a dedicated and more powerful piece of equipment is worth the typically minimal investment if their function is going to be heavily utilized. You don’t need go too high end with these things. Think about what your children may need to do over and over again if they are learning from home, and invest in some inexpensive equipment that can help make them more productive and create a positive learning environment.
TIP #2 - Focus on time management
As adults, we take for granted how regimented school was for us. When we arrived, every hour of the day was planned, from subject to subject, as well as things like our lunch, break times, and extra-curricular activities.
So a good way to deal with the disruption of this new way of learning is to replicate these schedules when learning from home. For time that is not specifically outlined for use by your children’s school, consider making a schedule of various activities throughout the day into the evening. Keep an open mind when creating this schedule and include things like homework time, independent study, exercise and outdoor time, as well as general recreational activity.
I also recommend that you have a dedicated space in your home that is used only for learning activities. I know when I’m working from home it feels like everything can blend together as the line between work and home life has blurred. So creating boundaries and schedules to separate school time from free time will help kids be happier, more productive, and enjoy more balance in their daily routines..
TIP #3 – Use Supplementary Material Available Online
One of the great things about the Internet is the amount of resources out there, most of which is free. It doesn’t seem likely that field trips or after school clubs are going to be as accessible for the time being, but we can try to simulate that extra-curricular experience with online tools.
One easy option for extra material is your local public library. You can find free resources like curated e-books, special on demand programming, research materials, and even tutoring or homework assistance. Many libraries also offer a curbside option for picking up physical materials.
There are other resources out there like code.org for free computer science lessons, or PBS Kids for a variety of children’s educational content.
Depending on what your child’s age, interests, and current curriculum are, a few quick Google searches can provide you with a lot of rewarding content that might not cost you anything.
You might also consider bookmarking webpages that your kids use frequently, so they can quickly and easily access the materials they need.
Once again, hopefully in the near future as the public health situation improves we will have more flexibility and not have to work around the pandemic, but we can make the best out of a difficult situation by utilizing the technology available to us so our children can continue to learn and grown.
What tools have you been using to help your child’s education during the pandemic? We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for watching this video, and as always, stay vigilant my friends.
Until next time, stay vigilant my friends.