As a parent, what is my role, and what can I do to best support my child’s education?
Page 2: How Do I Get My Child Ready To Learn?
Maybe your child is learning virtually this year. Maybe she is learning at school on certain days and at home the rest of the week. Or, as has become increasingly common, maybe your child has been learning at school but is now transitioning to virtual learning as COVID rates in your area rise. Regardless of the number of days your child is learning at home, creating a learning space will make things easier, and more sustainable. Read on to learn more about how to do this.
Create a Learning Space
If possible, create a place where your child can work, or if you have more than one child, where each child can work. For example, one child can work at the kitchen table and another in the living room. If your child already had a place to do homework, he or she can use that place to learn at home. Having a space can help your child stay focused on learning. This space should be quiet and free of clutter and other distractions.
Tip: Limit Common Distractions
- Other children playing
- TV, music, loud talking
- Things going on outside
- Clutter in the learning space
- Electronic devices (phones, video games)
Below are some common challenges for setting up a learning space. Click on each for ideas.
Make space dividers. Separate the learning spaces for each child. These don’t have to be fancy. Use supplies you already have at home (binders, tissue or cereal boxes, leftover cardboard).
Binders as space dividers
Cereal boxes as space dividers
Cardboard box as a privacy barrier
Folders as space dividers
Paper towels as space dividers
Tissue boxes as space dividers
Use different rooms. You can create spaces in different rooms for each child. For example, one child can work in the kitchen and another in the bedroom.
Rotate kids. If you only have one space for learning, the kids can use the space at different times. You might want to have a basket or container for each child’s school supplies. They can even carry the basket with them as they move in and out of the space.
Use headphones or earbuds. Several members of your family might be working or learning from home right now. Using headphones or earbuds can help reduce noise.
Remove electronic devices. Put away devices that are not being used for learning.
Avoid learning spaces near windows. If your child gets distracted by things going on outside, either cover the windows or move your child away from them.
Remove clutter. If your child is working in a space normally used for something else (such as the kitchen table), clear away items that might be in the way or might be distracting (table settings, utensils, salt and pepper shakers).
Make a quiet space. If possible, create a space in your home for quiet work. Family members can take turns working there.
If you’ve already been supporting your child’s learning at home, you’ve probably learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps a shared learning space was too small for multiple children to use. Maybe a family member interrupted “class” by watching TV with the volume turned way up. Maybe an older sibling turned out to be better at explaining 4th-grade math than you did. Think about what worked and what didn’t and use that information to plan for a better situation as you move forward.
Depending on your family dynamics, consider having a series of family meetings to discuss these issues. Brainstorming together might result in more creative ideas. When everyone is able to contribute, they also might be more willing to abide by the solutions.
Getting your child ready to learn from home can be difficult. For more ideas about how to do this, check out the following resources.
How can I help my elementary child stay focused during online learning? Learning at home via a virtual environment can make it hard for younger kids to remain focused. This tip sheet from the IRIS Center offers some ideas to help. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish. ¿Cómo puedo ayudar a mi hijo(a) que asiste a la escuela primaria a mantenerse concentrado(a) durante la enseñanza virtual?
My child says she doesn’t like online learning. How can I help? Created by the IRIS Center, this handy tip sheet offers practical ideas and strategies for helping your child adapt to some of the challenges and frustrations of learning in a virtual environment. This tip sheet is also available in Spanish. Mi hijo(a) dice que no le gusta la enseñanza virtual. ¿Cómo puedo ayudarlo(a)?
Motivating Children To Do Their Homework: Parent’s Guide. This document from the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk explains how to set up a reward system to help kids complete their homework.