Making Online Learning Better (infographic)

Across the world, 90% of students have left classrooms and started to learn remotely. At first the idea was to keep them engaged in school so they could eventually return in a few weeks, but as the pandemic worsened it became clear that this academic year would be a wash. Educators turned their efforts to keeping kids engaged with learning and with their peers, but the stress of such a sudden disruption in typical education has made it difficult for many kids to stay engaged and on task with their learning. But parents and teachers alike are learning a very valuable lesson in all this - education doesn’t have to be rigorous for students to benefit from it. Education can be fun and can focus on life skills instead of academic skills and students can actually enjoy it. How can parents support their children through in-home learning?

Life Skills Count

Have you ever heard someone complain that you didn’t learn to do X in school and therefore your entire education was a failure? Now is the time to teach those skills. You didn’t learn to balance a checkbook in school? Help your kids learn about bills and earnings and how to keep the family budget in balance. You didn’t learn to do taxes in school? You’ve got an extension and plenty of time on your hands to have them help.

Cooking is a great teaching tool for kids of all ages because it can be easily tailored to different age groups. Cooking teaches math and baking teaches science. Even just baking a simple loaf of bread can teach kids valuable life skills while empowering them to learn they can take care of themselves. Meal planning and cooking for the family are skills that are not too advanced for kids of most ages depending on the complexity of the meals and meal plans. And the added bonus is that it can free parents up from having to take care of absolutely everything on their own while trying to work from home.

Academic Skills Aren’t That Difficult To Teach, Either

So you’re not a math teacher, does that mean you can’t teach basic math skills to your elementary aged child? Think again. Games like Monopoly and Yahtzee are great tools for teaching math skills to elementary aged kids, and spending time together as a family is also great for everyone’s mental health right now.

Reading to your younger child and encouraging your older child to read are crucial things to do, but you don’t have to force “The Classics” on them. Let them choose what they are interested in and make use of digital copies that can be checked out at your local library for free. In addition, audio books are widely available online and you can even find a Little Free Library in many neighborhoods.

There are also many different ways to engage with science while you are at home. Stargazing and learning about astronomy and constellations is always fun, and tools like the Heavens Above app or Google Sky can help you see where constellations are relative to you and even show you satellites that may be passing nearby.

Gardening can help teach kids about plant biology, food science, and self-sufficiency. Both vegetable and flower gardens are great places to learn about earth sciences. Leafsnap can help kids learn to identify trees and other plants in their yards, and iNaturalist can offer suggestions for identifying animal species in your area.

Learning doesn’t have to be hard, and it’s best to acknowledge that parents aren’t teachers so we shouldn’t be trying to emulate a classroom learning experience. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to make learning fun at home so that kids don’t even know they are learning. Learn more about making online learning better below.

Right now, 90% of parents are concerned about their kids falling behind academically, and more than 80% say they are struggling to keep their kids engaged in learning. This infographic outlines how to keep your kids engaged by making learning feel like play and exploration more than an academic exercise.

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