August 20, 2020

Easy Ways Parents Can Help Students Transition to Online Learning

GoGuardian Team
A caregiver works with a student while a teacher is instructing on a laptop

Many school districts across the United States are making the transition to online learning. E-learning can not only ensure that students keep up with the curriculum, but it can also provide much needed structure in days spent at home. It can help students maintain a sense of normalcy.

However, being successful at online learning requires students and their families to adjust to new routines. Parents can offer pertinent guidance to students, help them find the best online learning approaches, make sure they are accountable for their work, and seek extra help when required.

If your child is one of the millions of students across the country switching to a digital classroom, you no doubt want to do everything you can to help them succeed in this new environment. In this article, we will outline easy ways parents can help students transition to online learning, including create a designated workspace, implement a schedule, become familiar with online learning platforms, and remain in communication with teachers.

Create a Designated Workspace

Having the right workspace can make a big difference in a student’s mindset and ability to focus. It can be a great help in making the transition to online learning. With online learning, students can choose where to complete their work. It’s important for them to put thought into what type of environment is best suited to their ability to learn successfully. Ideally, they should have a designated space that is utilized strictly for online learning.

Consider your child’s individual needs and personality when beginning to create a workspace designed around them. Make sure to have a conversation with them about where and how they will be most comfortable working online too.

For example, if your kid needs quiet to focus, make sure they have a desk and comfortable chair in a quiet room. If, however, they need a bit more interaction (and hands-on accountability), it might make more sense to set them up at a desk in the living room or kitchen.

Regardless of what your child’s workstation looks like, make sure they have easy access to all materials and supplies that they may need. This may include a mouse, headphones, notepaper, or writing utensils.

Implement a Schedule

In-class school days give students a lot of structure. It can be hard to replicate this structure when learning online. For some students, the flexibility provided by online learning is a good fit.

However, for a majority of students, especially younger ones, it can be a challenge to manage a lack of structure when learning remotely. Students have to be able to build their own routines and properly manage their time so that they stay on track and effectively transition to online learning.

Parents can assist by providing a well-thought-out daily schedule and making sure that it is followed. You can start by sitting down with your child and have a discussion about what they are responsible for accomplishing for their online courses on a weekly or daily basis. Be sure to ascertain how much time tasks will (realistically!) take and what other time commitments need to be considered.

Parents may wish to bring their child’s teacher into the conversation as well. Teachers can often offer good insight into how much time will need to be budgeted for course work. They also have an excellent understanding of the curriculum and can shed light on their own expectations.

Once both you and your child understand everything they are responsible for achieving for their online coursework, you can help them write out a weekly schedule. Be sure to print off lots of copies of the schedule and post them in different places around their work area. Some parents even place a copy on the bathroom mirror so their child can read it while brushing their teeth at night to prepare for the next day. Posting the schedule will help your student stay accountable and establish an effective routine.

Have Designated Break Times

Implementing breaks like recess and lunch is partly about maintaining a schedule and practicing daily routines. It’s also about encouraging healthy habits. Parents should encourage students to take active breaks that involve some sort of physical activity—even if it is just walking. Without prompting, students will often take a “break” from school screen-time by indulging in social media or gaming screen-time.

Become Familiar with Online Learning Platforms

Online learning means that students will spend a great deal of their digital school days immersed in an online learning platform (or serval). Parents should invest the energy to become familiar with the platforms their child is using, how they are using them, and what resources are available to them.

Begin by looking into any orientation resources provided by your child’s school or school district. In addition, check out the platform directly with your child. Make sure that they are comfortable with submitting activities and navigating the online content. Also, be sure that they can complete basic tasks, like submitting assignments and checking for test results.

Make sure to also spend time familiarizing your child with the communication tools available to them, such as on-platform messaging, video-conferencing, and other features they may have access to.

Some of the best online learning platforms offer parent portals. You should make sure to find this and explore any tools available. From the parent portal, you’ll be able to monitor your child’s process. If the online learning platform has any other materials or guides specifically created for parents, be sure to read through them.

Parents should understand the online learning tools being used by their child in order to better understand how they can most effectively provide support.

Remain in Communication with Teachers

Just because you no longer have face-to-face time with your child’s teachers does not mean you should lose contact with them! Students aren’t learning independently after all. They are still being supported by educators from their school digitally.

Teachers play a critical role in online learning, so parents should maintain open communication with their child’s teachers. They should also encourage their children to keep communicating with their teachers.

School district leadership will most likely set guidelines as to what communication will exist between students and teachers when online learning. This may involve daily live video lessons or weekly phone check-ins, depending on the area you are located in. Many different approaches can still be effective. Make sure you understand the communication expectations of your child.

In this article, we went over easy ways parents can help students transition to online learning. We explained how parents should set their child up with a dedicated work space because having one can help get them in the right mindset to focus and succeed. In addition, we went over how parents should implement a schedule. Students lack the routine and structure that in-school class provides, and having a schedule is a way of making up for this.

We also outlined that parents should encourage break times, such as recess and lunch. We then suggested that parents become familiar with their child’s online learning platforms. Parents can greatly benefit from a basic understanding of the online learning platforms their child uses. Lastly, we suggested parents remain in communication with their child’s teachers.