By now you and your students have adjusted to working and learning from home. But distance learning is still pretty new to us all. Students who have spent their academic careers learning in a formal classroom setting, collaborating with peers, and participating in group work are feeling the struggle of trying to remain focused and engaged in lessons and assignments from their home living room. To help your students, and their new-to-home learning parents succeed until your school can re-open its doors, share these three learn-from-home tips with your students.
- Make a Schedule. As long as students complete assignments by their deadline, and prepare themselves for exam days, all other work must be self-paced. For many, setting and keeping to a schedule is the hardest part of establishing disciplined work-from-home habits. Encourage parents to help their students create a daily routine that includes:
- A morning “to do” list which includes all of the activities that a student should work on each day. Teachers might want to provide a “to do” list for parents and students, especially for the elementary school level. Outline the number of hours to focus on schoolwork each weekday, and during what times.
- Include plenty of breaks and creative playtime.
- General study and concept application practice (more on this in #2).
- Deadlines for when to complete individual lessons in preparation for related exams.
- Ensure General Study Time is Part of The Daily Schedule. Best practices for regular study time still apply in a work-from-home environment. While every lesson may feel like homework, students still need to spend dedicated time reviewing concepts, practicing questions or equations they previously got wrong, testing themselves using flashcards, and participating in any other routine study habits. Test preparation is still essential, even when learning from home.
- Create a Dedicated Work Space. Students need a distraction-free, comfortable, focused place where they can learn, study, and practice. While learning at home, it may help a student focus by moving his desk out of his bedroom (and away from toys and TV) and into a distraction-free home office room, dining room, or other area of the house which is not the bedroom. Students who do not have a dedicated desk space will need a space to sit and learn that offers the best possible ergonomics for reading, studying, and writing. Young people may struggle to write assignments while lounging on the couch (in front of the TV), for example, and may be better able to focus at the dining room or kitchen table.
Make sure to check-in with students and parents frequently to ask which lessons and concepts are difficult for students. Also, ask what students’ biggest learn-from-home challenges are. Gather such feedback and use it to adjust assignments and share best practices with all students.