It has been more than five months since the lockdown was implemented. Communities have undergone different levels of quarantine and varying levels of fears and worries. Everyone, especially the elderly and the children (our learners), is kept home. Instantly face masks and PPEs have been a must for all frontliners; face shields and protection goggles have become a need for everyone. All these are imperative to keep everyone safe and unharmed. In this time of pandemic when Online Distance Learning is the modality of learning, parents have to wear yet another security costume—the hat of a learning coach. But how do they maintain a virtual collaborative learning environment at home?
The following are some pointers and practical tips in helping parents carry out their new responsibility as a learning coach to their children:
1. Maintenance of conducive learning environment.
We recommend that you identify a spot in your house where the learner will be comfortable for both physical and digital learning. Any place is not acceptable. The bedroom is not a good place for studying for obvious reasons. There really has to be a location where your child will be focused in his or her tasks. If you already have a study room, then that must be it.
In the study area, desk must be accessible to both print and digital resources. There must be proper lighting and ventilation for comfortable learning experience. Also, devices, gadgets, and internet must be accessible in this quiet spot.
2. Availability of educational and essential resources
The learners must have easy access to learning materials and other educational resources. With online learning, we encourage independent learning. Thus, we just prepare all the things the students need before the day begins. It is acceptable to be with them in the first two weeks, but gradually letting them own their own learning styles and habits. So, we suggest that you print a list of all the sites they need to go to, their username and password for different online learning portals, and also important numbers to call in case they need help. You can post all these where they are easily seen by your child.
3. Calendaring of learning activities
You are encouraged to know the class schedule of your child. This is not to police what he or she is doing, but to closely monitor his or her learning progress. The school has devised a special schedule in which screen time does not consume the students’ day. Make it a point to check Aralinks LMS My Calendar to know the upcoming activities or if there are scheduled real-time discussions, so you can prepare the needed apps or gadgets. This reminder is true for lower grade levels where you have the access to your child’s account. It will also help if the child has a to-do list that they will check at the end of the day.
4. Child First, Learner Second
Your son or daughter is first and foremost your child at home, so it is necessary that their well-being is your number one priority. Make sure that the learner during recess and lunch time is not anymore in front of the computer or their study materials. It must be an imperative break from everything. Let them have their snacks or meals, make them go out of the house and see plants and nature. Let them have a good break. But also allow them some time to discuss with you their learning activities—which parts were easy and which ones are challenging. Ask them what help they need to make things easy for their learning habits. It may also be helpful if you give them time to do some physical exercise. Let them play in the afternoon. Walk with them outside if it is safe. And as much as possible give them free time during the weekends provided that all tasks are accomplished at the end of the week.
They say that our first teachers are our parents and in this new normal, parents remain the same or perhaps even more instrumental in keeping learning going. The school year has just opened and it is just the start of a 10-month long online learning adventure, or may be less than 300 days. Who knows? But sure thing is parents are now certified learning partners. They are now academic frontliners.