As we’ve learned, learning from home in a blended, fully online, or homeschool setting can present its own challenges. The key is to overcome some of these challenges, which requires development of specific skills and characteristics.
- Time Management: This is one of the most important factors in experience success with learning at home. Having a good time management system can include setting up a schedule, a designated space, and specific hours to be working on various tasks throughout the day. While setting this up may take some time, it is worth the investment as good time management can help prevent stress and keep you or your child on track, avoiding that overwhelming feeling. Time management also includes designating time for play and personal interests. Finding balance is essential to success.
- Organization: This goes hand-in-hand with time management. When learning at home, chances are your child is taking multiple subjects. Keeping it all straight can be difficult, and just like in a classroom, setting up those routines can be crucial to creating a positive learning environment that supports healthy time-management skills. Posting the schedule, using calendars, to-do lists, or even sticky-notes can support good organizational habits. If your child is online learning, teaching them how to create folders, and name documents/assignments appropriately is also a positive way to further develop organizational skills.
- Self-Advocacy: Developing self-advocacy skills is essential when learning at Home. Traditionally in a classroom setting a teacher is able to make observations while they teach by reading the room and doing verbal check-ins with students throughout the day. When learning from home, this piece is missing, and instructors may not know that there is a challenge until they receive the first assignment and notice that the student is missing some key concepts. This is why it is so important when learning from home to establish that relationship with your instructor, ask questions, and clarify. The instructor is there to support your child in learning the content and experiencing success. Having your child send a quick message or highlighting a question they are having difficulties with is a sure way to not only develop that relationship, but advocate for themselves. While you can support communication with the instructor and be involved, it is important that your child is the one making contact with their instructor and asking questions.
- Motivation: In support of online learning, motivation becomes synonymous with self-discipline. This is because you and your child can check all the boxes above by creating a schedule, setting due dates, and building a relationship with the instructor – but if you aren’t sticking to the plan that’s been laid out, it will be hard to experience success. It is important that expectations remain high, but realistic, and that schedules and organizational habits fit the learner. Motivation and self-discipline are highly individualized, and when learning from home, students do not always have that person looming over their shoulder with reminders to stay on track and on task. Learning not to give up if they fall behind or don’t understand a question will support your child in developing resiliency, problem-solving, and perseverance over time.
Remember, these skills and characteristics constantly developing. It is rare that anyone starts learning at home fully ready to go with all of these traits mastered. We are all life-long learners and unique in our own approaches and needs in education. The key is support your child in discovering their identity as a learner and playing to their strengths to support success.