Are you and your children new to the online learning community? Change can be a difficult journey, and you may be feeling overwhelmed adjusting to a new world of learning.
However, you and your children are not alone, and you can help them succeed in many ways.
Reach Out for Support
When your children are transitioning from an in-person classroom to an online environment, you will need to consider instruction, materials, technology, and scheduling.
If you are enrolled in Lincoln Empowered through a school district, you can find guidance by:
- reaching out to your school district for materials, guidelines, and expectations.
- connecting with other students and families in your district who are learning online.
- emailing your children's Lincoln Learning teachers for additional assistance.
- exploring free resources, such as tutorials from our Help Center.
- utilizing Lincoln Learning client support, available through our website, live chat, and phone.
Feeling confident and prepared as you transition with your children will, in turn, help them feel reassured.
Learn with New Technology
As you engage with online learning, you may be using new devices. Before you dive into the online classroom, take a moment to assess your abilities and your children's abilities and needs.
- What do I/my children know about this device?
- What do I/my children know about the online learning platform?
- What will we all need to support navigating?
From there, consider what you need to do in order to feel comfortable.
- Take turns logging in to the device and learning platform. Explore the programs on the desktop and in the online classroom.
- Search online for ways to do certain actions, such as taking screenshots, copying and pasting information, and turning on the camera and microphone. If you use Lincoln Empowered, you can find hundreds of support tutorials at our Help Center.
- Ask for technical support through your school district. Many schools have teams who assist with device setup, navigation, and technical issues.
Technology is ever-changing, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Feeling at ease while using technology will make the learning process less disruptive.
Set Up a Schedule
When change happens, it can be tricky to set up a schedule that works for you and your family. It is important to take the time to develop a consistent routine. Your school district may provide a schedule to you, or you may need to create one, depending on how online learning is implemented.
If you need to create a schedule, consider the following:
- Determine your family's availability for active learning.
- Decide which subject areas require more time and attention and how your children learn best. This will likely vary from child to child.
- Tweak the schedule as needed.
Having a routine and structure is beneficial when your children are learning online. You may choose something similar to an in-person academic setting, or, you may find doing more work at certain times of the day is best. However, routines may change or need to be reworked when life happens, and that's perfectly fine and to be expected.
Take Frequent Breaks
As a Lincoln Learning teacher, I encourage my students to apply what they have learned to their own environments. Many students use this opportunity to step away from their devices to regroup.
If you notice these behaviors while your child is learning, your child may need a break:
- showing boredom or disinterest in the material
- becoming easily distracted
- feeling frustrated
Breaks can range from a few minutes up to a few hours. Some children rejuvenate quickly and prefer to learn in small bursts more often, such as 20 minutes of learning and then a 10-minute break. Others prefer longer periods of learning, followed by extended breaks.
Here are some ideas to help your children decompress and refocus.
- Eat a snack and rehydrate.
- Use the restroom.
- Go for a walk together, alone, or with the dog.
- Engage in free play.
- Get up and move around, stretch, shake out the sillies, or dance.
- Take some deep breaths.
Breaks are just as important for active learning and retention.
One very important way to help your children feel like they aren’t alone is by reflecting together. Consider taking time after a difficult or exciting lesson to have a short discussion.
- Ask what they liked and disliked, having them detail their favorite and least favorite parts of the lesson.
- Share your own thoughts, but be mindful of how those thoughts may impact your children.
- Point out what they did well first and then what they can continue to practice.
- Depending on age, have each of your children keep a journal to note moments, thoughts, or concepts to remember.
- Relate the lesson material to the real world, such as what your family or society does with the particular knowledge and/or skill.
Keep in mind, learning online is—for parents and children alike—a drastic change from a typical classroom setting. Finding your family's groove will require some time, adjusting, and adapting. Know that there are support systems available to help your children transition and learn long-term. This way, you can feel closer to your children, rather than distanced—figuratively speaking.
Erika Duso has more than 8 years of combined online and classroom teaching experience. She currently teaches first-grade English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Erika enjoys backpacking, reading, and looking for rocks in the Great Lakes.
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