As we head into back-to-school season, many schools across the world are continuing with an all-online plan for the 2020–2021 school year. Even in areas where schools are reopening full or part-time, parents and guardians may still decide to keep their kids at home to protect them from the spread of COVID-19.
How Parents Are Preparing for a Home-Based School Year
One alternative system that some parents and caregivers are turning to is microschooling. Microschools, also called “pandemic pods,” typically enroll no more than 10 children in the effort to lower health and safety risks. Microschooling also gives children a chance to socialize, while providing childcare for caregivers who are unable to stay at home.
It’s an easy decision for some, but paying thousands of dollars toward a teacher’s full-time salary is an option frankly inaccessible to children from low-income families. Coupled with the COVID-19 slide, educational inequity will only increase.
For these reasons as well as logistical roadblocks (local regulations for childcare, licensing, liability, payroll, and more), some caregivers are opting for more informal small gatherings with their child’s friends or classmates for enrichment activities. Others are simply looking to take a more proactive approach to support their child’s learning at home, after many students struggled to stay engaged during online classes last semester.
If you’re looking for ways to integrate effective, engaging methods for supporting your child’s learning—whether they will be learning independently or in a small group—read on for 6 tips to enhance your home learning routine.
1. Get the Creative Juices Flowing
Creative projects are great for independent learning and for small group activities, and provide students with choices about how they want to document their understanding in ways that are meaningful to them.
Creativity is one of the best ways to make learning more interactive, which is key to keeping your child motivated at home. Look at what your child is learning about and encourage them to explore the topic by drawing, painting, writing a story or poem, or any other creative project that sparks their imagination.
2. Gamify for Learning Wins
Turning a learning activity into a game is one of the most effective ways to engage children in encourage active participation.
After watching a BrainPOP animated movie, reinforce and track their learning by transforming the accompanying quiz into a game show-style activity where students become “contestants” and race to call out the correct answer as quickly as possible.
You can also connect them with a high-quality online educational game for more independent learning. With our Homeschool plan, your child can even code their own game with our Creative Coding activity.
3. Discover Your Child’s Learning Style
Some children are visual learners. Others learn best by listening, reading, or moving. You may not know what your child’s learning style is, since they’re usually in the classroom, and your child may not know yet themselves how they learn best. Now that you’re home together and can work one-on-one, it’s a great opportunity for both of you to find out.
Notice what kinds of learning experiences are most engaging for your child and from what kinds of learning experiences they retain the most information. For example, try different books, videos, songs, hands-on activities, and so on. Empower them with the knowledge about how they best learn!
4. Tailor Your Child’s Learning Activities for Their Needs
This is one of the great advantages of at-home learning. Once you get a feel for your child’s learning style, you can tailor your activities to fit their needs and keep them more engaged.
For example, each of BrainPOP’s 850+ topics contain materials and activities in a variety of forms, including animated movies, reading materials, and games, all of which can help you determine your child’s learning style.
For a quick guide to making the most of these activities and features, members with our Homeschool plan can get tips and tricks from the below tutorial created by Robert Miller, BrainPOPs Lead Learner.
5. Get Up and Get Moving
Exercise may not seem like a priority when you’re focused on your child’s academic progress, but it can actually be key to effective learning, as it helps reduce stress and anxiety, improves memory and concentration, boosts mood, and more.
Try putting on music your child loves and start a dance party. Explore kid-friendly yoga. If you can, let them run around outside and enjoy the fresh air. Recess is still important, even when learning from home!
6. Set the Tone with Co-working
It can be difficult for kids to focus on schoolwork in a noisy or busy room. If you have quiet work to get done too, try setting up together in a quieter space of your home and start working.
Experiment: Does playing calm instrumental music in the background help or distract? Does sitting side-by-side work, or is it more productive to have a bit of space? Once you’ve begun, and you’ve created a calm but focused atmosphere, your child may find it easier to follow your lead and concentrate on their own work.
Learning at home can be a challenge for both you and your child, but it can also be an incredible opportunity to discover how your child learns best and what they need to learn successfully. And remember, no matter which strategies you use in your at-home routine, simply your supportive presence can make a world of difference for your child.