Coronavirus has changed the entire nation in so many ways – health, socializing, and even tasks as benign as daily errands all look substantially different than they did only a short six months ago. Perhaps nowhere is the “new normal” more evident than in the educational experience for children in 2020, with a significant percentage now working online-only or taking a hybrid approach to schooling due to the pandemic.
Alongside their children, parents are slowly easing into the idea that school might be across the room for a while, rather than across town. In the process, they are also making some surprising discoveries about the benefits of online education and the positive impact it’s having on children across the country.
Home Distractions Aren’t a Huge Problem
In the home, familiar distractions are easily tuned out through repetition—the whining of a pet dog, for example, or the chatter of a younger sibling. In school, distractions are novel enough to hold attention and disrupt the learning process: these are stimuli a child hasn’t been exposed to yet, such as a classmate’s new hair or clothing choices or grade school gossip about crushes. Removing these physical distractions from the learning environment gives the educator a chance to engage on a deeper level while teaching.
Partially Self-Paced Learning Helps
Nothing ratchets pre-teen and teen anxiety up like deadlines – a test, a project, a paper. While online learning does still incorporate time-based goals, there’s generally a lot more flexibility to learn and brush up on a difficult subject. With many self-paced modules being used in classes across the country, children that need extra help or a review prior to time-sensitive projects are able to get it with the click of a mouse.
Bullying, Whispering, and Tattling are Cut Back
Under the instructor’s watchful gaze during online learning, he or she is placed front and center of the class. There’s no secret note-passing, stealing pencils, pulling hair, and other physical teasing or bullying behaviors because they’re literally impossible. If a child attempts to bully a classmate through chat or voice, the educator will notice immediately and put a stop to it. Kids that often had a “stay-home stomach ache” when their bullies were particularly relentless are, thanks to online learning, healthier than ever and ready to tackle each day’s lessons.
Assignments and Work are More Transparent
When work is entirely online, there’s no such thing as burying worksheets or packets in the bottom of a bookbag. When parents are able to log on – and in some cases, even occasionally virtually sit in – their children’s classes, everyone benefits. Teachers feel more supported, and homework and projects are less likely to fall through the cracks. If a child is having trouble managing their course load or doesn’t know “what to do next,” their parents can read through their progress thus far and help them navigate the class. This represents a significant advantage for caregivers that formerly felt left out of the loop, giving them top-down oversight on a child’s progression.
As a parent, helping your child do his or her best in online school starts with the basics: set up as quiet of a workspace as possible, familiarize yourself with their due dates and workflow, and don’t hesitate to hire a professional pandemic tutor with any questions. While the road may feel a little rocky in the short term, once you find your stride with your child, success won’t be far behind.