This year almost 1 in 5 families are choosing Learn at Home programs. These programs range from fully online, partially online, blended, teacher-led homeschool, and traditional home school programs. The thread that connects these choices is the desire to want the best, safest, and most timely education for our children. But once the choice is made, how do you safeguard your child’s success? In this article we will look at the challenges between learning at home and within a traditional classroom, as well as look at some tips and tricks for success and the development of productive study habits that support learning from home.
There are three main challenges when moving from the traditional classroom to learning at home.
- Learning the Learning Management System (LMS): Online and distance learning requires some sort of platform to house lessons, submit assignments, and participate in discussions. The LMS is basically a digital classroom; many teachers have their own style and way of presenting and receiving information. The other hurdle, is that depending on how your learning at home program is set up, you may have several LMS systems to learn – Google Classroom, Moodle, Blackboard, Fresh Grade – are just a few of the management systems that can be used. The important thing to know is that many of these systems are very similar, and through trouble-shooting and connecting with your instructor, you should be able to quickly learn how to navigate the platform. There are usually “how-to” videos that can help online learners at all levels.
- Time Management: When making the jump to online, there are sure to be due dates, but there aren’t classes and frequent reminders to stay on track or to get back on task. Some online courses allow you to move at your own pace (asynchronous), while others expect you to stay on track and provide hard due dates (synchronous). In both of these options, there may not be designated class or work time and it will be up to you to prioritize the learning and set up a schedule to stay on track. This can require quite a bit of self-motivation and discipline.
- Engagement: Learning online is no doubt a big adjustment in terms of how your child engages with the material, classmates, and their instructor. However, this is not to say that learning from home can’t be engaging – it is just engaging in a different way. Usually the instructor will try to use a variety of delivery methods for content – videos, articles, textbooks, and interactive games may be included. Students may also be asked to participate in discussions through forums or video calls. Most instructors will also allow students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways, utilizing technology to acknowledge different learning needs. Finally, building a strong relationship with the instructor through email, phone calls, and video chats is a great way to build engagement between your child and their instructor