Updated: Mar 14
Online learning, e-learning, computer learning; these are all terms that have become part of the social lexicon over the last two years. The COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual learning the alternative and, at times, only option to connect children with their teachers, their peers, and other learning support programs.
It’s exhausting for families at home. Let’s face it; we are all beyond fed up and burnt out from
this pandemic. As the Omicron variant of coronavirus tears through communities, schools have
once again been closed, forcing children back to the online learning department for the
For parents, the need to act as a substitute teacher, and not for the first time, is especially
daunting. In fact, many parents openly admit they feel guilty that they can’t help their children
with the same level of attention, insight, and knowledge that trained teachers can provide.
So how can families cope with the latest educational lockdown and maintain the best possible
prospects for their children’s futures? How can you ensure your child remains focused on their
studies so that they’re ready to take the next step in their education when this pandemic
eventually (hopefully) subsides?
How to adapt to e-learning in lockdown
Online learning is not the optimal learning environment for most children. Students absorb more knowledge when they can interact with both educators and classmates in a shared learning environment. The ability to ask questions and engage in discussions on specific topics in the lesson plan open minds to new ideas. This is what reinforces a child’s strengths and helps them work on weaker areas.
Unfortunately, in the middle of a lockdown, there’s no way for children to move back into that productive environment. The stay-at-home e-learning model is all that’s available, requiring families to implement the right environment to stimulate productive learning at home.
Here are some ways that you can make the most of online education in 2022 and help your child achieve their full potential.
Encourage outdoor activities in between screen time
When class is in session, children need to be at their computers so they can hear what their teachers have to say. However, too much screen time can impact your child’s sleeping habits, and it may even be responsible for early symptoms of anxiety and depression. There needs to be a break from the screen to help children remain grounded, productive, and focused.
Fresh air and exercise are great ways to help both children and adults release built-up energy and adrenaline. In a lockdown, there are limited places to go but you can still encourage outdoor activities. If you have a backyard, your children can run around and burn off some of that adrenaline. If you don’t have a backyard, you can go to a neighbourhood park and take a family hike to clear your minds amidst the backdrop of beautiful nature.
You can also encourage bike rides when there’s little or no snow on the ground. Days that resemble the heart of winter can be enjoyed on a skating rink or out on a hill with a toboggan. Regardless of the circumstances, there are many activities you can do to break up the screen time and help your child clear their head before going back into the e-learning environment.
Let go of the “I’m not a teacher” guilt
As parents, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to support, protect, and empower your child. Even as children mature into full-grown adults, parents still feel an underlying compulsion to protect their children using whatever means is possible.
But no parent is equipped to do everything all at once, especially if certain skills require years of training to develop. Many people in society take teachers for granted, but they undergo rigorous programs to become capable educators. Teachers impart knowledge and wisdom by helping students connect the dots between problems and solutions, empowering them to take control of their own lives and their learning potential.
These skills are not something that can be learned overnight, and parents with no training as educators can’t reasonably expect to flawlessly step into those shoes. If you’re unable to provide the degree of one-on-one support that a teacher can provide, don’t beat yourself up over it. If you don’t understand the extent of what’s in the curriculum, don’t feel guilty.
Instead, shift your own mindset and focus on helping your children with how to learn instead of what they should learn. Teach your child how to apply educational skills to their own interests, such as the way they use problem solving to advance to a new level in a video game.
Also, don’t be afraid to become a willing participant in their learning programs. Let your child walk you through the work they’ve done and explain why they did it. If you’re an open and engaged audience member to your child, they’ll feel more passionate about showing their work and, in a way, being their own teacher to show how they solved a problem.