16 Tips To Improve Your Child’s Virtual Learning ExperiencesSeptember 13, 2020 2023-08-17 5:02
16 Tips To Improve Your Child’s Virtual Learning Experiences
Gulnaz Ahsan is the Founder and Editor of Halal Parenting Magazine, a quarterly publication of articles written by parenting experts, psychologists and physicians through the Islamic lens to help Muslim families through practical strategies that are rooted in the Sunnah and backed up by modern psychology. Gulnaz is also a Studio Arabiya parent, with all four of her children enrolled in Quran classes. In this exclusive article, she brings in her expertise and hands-on experience as a parent guiding her children through the new normal of virtual learning and offers other parents 16 tips and best practices to make the most out of their child’s virtual learning experiences.
Virtual learning: navigating a new normal
Many children will experience virtual learning at some point in their educational journey, whether they are participating in Quranic and Islamic studies online classes because they live far away from the local mosque, or they are adjusting to mainstream secular school moving online due to a global pandemic. When compared to face-to-face learning, virtual classes are a very different experience and things can become overwhelming very quickly – both for children and their parents. It is still very possible to make the most out of your child’s virtual learning experiences. The best way to smooth the path to an easy learning journey is preparation – it is essential to not only physically prepare your children for what they need to be successful, but to also have meaningful discussions with your children about what it means to learn and what it takes to do well.
How to prepare your child for virtual learning
There are several things that you can do to prepare your child for virtual learning:
- Establish a designated work space
Provide a comfortable chair and desk space that is quiet and free from distraction. Consider giving your child headphones with a microphone so their attention is focused on their teacher and classwork.
- Keep supplies nearby
Keep textbooks, workbooks, pencils and paper nearby so they don’t have to go searching in the middle of class.
- Set up a good routine
To help your kids get into the learning mindset, establish a routine that includes bedtime, shower and meals and stick to it. Routines give children comfort because they know what to expect and when they anticipate that it is time for their class, they will be less likely to resist it.
- Teach them how to organize their work
Keep their notebooks and homework in a designated spot so they can pull it out when needed. Show your kids how to make notes and highlight homework and assignments in a planner to help them keep track and not fall behind.
- Ensure their technology is working and up to date
Be sure that computers/laptops/tablets are charged and ready to use. Connect the webcam and microphone before class. Be sure that the webcam is clean and shows your child in good lighting with a neutral background, and test them before class starts to be sure they work.
- Make sure they are dressed appropriately
It is important for your child to be both comfortable and in a learning mindset when they attend an online class. Make sure that what they are wearing will tick both boxes, and avoid leaving them in their pajamas even for an early morning class so that they can mentally transition into a learning mode.
- Make sure their basic needs are fulfilled
Children who are tired, thirsty, hungry or need to use the bathroom will not be able to focus during class. Ensure those needs are taken care of prior to the class to avoid any disruption during class.
- Be calm
Kids who are stressed out, upset or agitated won’t do well in class. Be proactive and make time for exercise during the day to counteract negativity. It’s good physical and mental relief, and will help ensure your child won’t have the wiggles throughout their online class.
Other important best practices
In addition, there are some additional considerations such as:
- Online safety
Kids stuck at home with virtual learning are spending a lot of time on the internet, which puts them at even greater risk than usual for all kinds of online problems, including cyber bullying, harassment, getting hacked and more. As parents, you should have access to all their different online accounts, meaning you have their login credentials and can periodically go in and actively monitor who they’re connected with and what kinds of interactions they are having online. Talk to them about why this is important and how they should always immediately come to you if anything inappropriate is happening.
- Monitor their learning
Observe your children in class. See how engaged they are. Are they taking notes? Are they asking questions? Are they just zoning out? Is there adequate interaction and stimulation by the teacher? Identify the hang-ups and challenges and then think about what you can do to help them through those. Reach out to your child’s teacher if you feel that there’s not enough interaction and it’s having an adverse effect on your child. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the teacher and let them know what struggles or concerns you or your child have about the class. Teachers often appreciate the feedback because it helps them better tailor the class to your child’s needs.
Talking points to address with your child
For children to succeed in anything, they have to understand that they are making a commitment to learn and they need to fulfill that. You can help facilitate this by talking regularly with them and discussing the challenges they may face and how to overcome them. Some discussion points to touch on with your child include:
- Being self-motivated
Distance learning can be isolating at times. Reassure your child if they lack motivation and reward their commitment rather than their results.
- Staying focused
Being at home means children are even more susceptible to distractions and losing focus. You can help your child maintain engagement during online learning hours by making a few simple adjustments such as putting cell phones and toys away during learning time.
- Knowing when to ask for help
Explain to your child that asking for help is a strength not a weakness. Successful students try to solve a problem themselves first but aren’t afraid to ask for help so they can deepen their understanding and make progress.
- Learning how to study independently
Encourage your child to take initiative by seeking help from other resources, other students and teachers when needed, and make sure your child knows where or how to access those resources.
- Connect and engage with their studies
Staying engaged is key to success and motivation. Encourage your child to participate in online discussions and activities, ask questions and speak up in online class.
- Be able to persevere and not give up when things get hard
Show empathy to your child by acknowledging that learning is not always going to be smooth sailing. There will be challenges and difficulties that they will face and they will make mistakes. It’s okay to step back for a moment – the important thing is to not give up.
No matter what your child’s situation might be, whether virtual learning is a choice or something that they have to go through due to their school’s decisions around COVID-19, you can make the most out of this experience with them. In fact, there are great benefits to studying online, for children and also for adults. Stay tuned for an upcoming article on this topic for our new Virtual Learning Series!
Do you have other tips to share to help children make the most of virtual learning? Comment below! 👇