How to make remote learning work for you

If you are a parent and struggling with remote learning, you are not alone. With many parents back at work, either physically or working from home, remote learning can become challenging. 

But it doesn’t have to be, with the right strategies you can make remote learning work.

SPARK Ferndale Principal Alliah Halifa and SPARK Schools parent Dr Ndivhuwo Luruli share some tips on how to make remote learning work.

Set a routine

The first thing you need to do is set a routine for your child by using your child’s school timetable provided to you by your child’s school. The timetable will help you in setting up a daily routine for you and your child.

This routine can include, the time your child should wake up, the time they should start working, break time and some playtime.

READ More: How to prepare your child for high school

If possible, print out the timetable and go through it with your child the day before to prepare for the next day. Planning ahead will help both of you to not feel overwhelmed.

While setting up a routine might be a challenge at first Dr Ndivhuwo Luruli says setting a routine of normal school days helped her with her daughters. 

“ I got the girls to set an alarm for waking up, bath, change out of their pyjamas and get ready for the day etc. It really helps to set the correct tone for the day,” she says. 

Set up a workstation

Set up a workstation that is conducive for learning. If your child is younger, they might need assistance setting this up. Help them by ensuring that they have their stationery, books, headphones/earphones and any devices they require to complete their school tasks.

READ MORE: How to help your child manage their fear and anxiety in a new school

Dr Luruli, who has two scholars at SPARK Schools says having a dedicated workplace is very helpful.

“At the start of lockdown they would just sit wherever, but we quickly realised that we needed to have a dedicated workplace that they can treat “as a classroom,” Dr Luruli says. 

Be consistent

If you set up a routine, be consistent with it. Children work better when they have a routine and know what is expected of them. If you have to do other things the next day, check that they have everything they need the night before to ensure that nothing changes in their routine.

Choose a remote learning action that works for you.

Speak to your child’s school and find out what remote learning options they have for you. For example, SPARK Schools offer different options for parents to choose from. 

These include:

  1.  Online learning: consisting of live online lessons with educators, online assignments and digital resources. Live lessons are recorded and uploaded twice a week for learners who may miss a lesson due to illness, load-shedding or any other reason.  This learning option has “drive-through” opportunities for parents to collect their child’s stationery packs from the school.
  2. Offline learning: consisting of printed learning packs collected from the school on allocated “pick up” days and can also be downloaded from the online learning platform and printed at home. Any assignments in the printed packs are submitted to the school for marking via drop off at the school, uploaded to SPARK Schools platform or emailed to the teacher. Parents receive feedback on work the same way they submit it.  This learning option has “drive-through” opportunities for parents to collect their child’s stationery packs from the school. 

How do I make remote learning work if I have a younger child?

With older children, remote learning is much easier, as they can work independently and may require some support every now and then, however, younger children may require parental assistance.

READ MORE: How to make weekend learning effective

SPARK Ferndale Principal Alliah Halifa says it’s important to have a care circle with your child to check how they are doing consistently.

You can do this by asking them the following questions: 

  • What are they excited about?
  • What are they nervous about?
  • Which subjects do they think they will do well in?

“After the first day, have a care circle about how their day went, what worked and went well. Also, find out about what didn’t go well and what they need to do things differently the following day,” Halifa says.  

How do I ensure my high school student is doing their work independently? 

It is important to set expectations from the beginning of each week. Communicate the rewards and consequences if they don’t complete their work and tasks. Halifa advises parents to have random check-ins to ensure your child is on track. This will also help you identify where they need support and where there are barriers.

Ask your teachers for support

Your child’s school is there to support you, do not be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your teachers are your support system and will always be ready to assist you whenever they can. 

Divide and conquer

If you have other people in your household that can assist you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, if you have meetings all day or an urgent work project that you need to submit, ask if someone else can ensure that your child is doing their work. Brief them the day before to know how the child has to login or what tasks they need to complete if it’s printed work. This will help you not to feel overwhelmed.

Keep calm 

Stay calm and take it one day at a time. Being frustrated, will not help you or your child. If something doesn’t work, for example, you find online learning being challenging for you, do offline instead.

Remember that there will always be challenges, but you need to do what works best for you and your child while ensuring they don’t miss out on their learning.

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