As schools shift to online or distance learning this coming school year, parents are also scrambling to provide the right tools and equipment for their kids. But aside from looking for the right laptop, or the right table and chair, parents should also assess if online learning will be the right fit for their child. Yes, it might be the best option right now considering the pandemic, but can our kids effectively adapt to it? Or will it just lead to a stressful situation at home?
If you’re considering your kid’s schooling and learning options this coming school year, here are a few questions to ask yourself to gauge if online learning is right for you and your child.
Can my child sit through the required video classes and can I (or another guardian) give him the necessary support to succeed in an online learning environment?
Several schools will implement synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real-time, while asynchronous learning happens through online channels without real-time interaction. Ask the school you’re considering regarding their plans for the school year — including the required number of hours per day spent on video classes/conferences, and the amount of parent or guardian supervision required — especially for younger kids who might still be familiarizing themselves with a laptop or computer. Considering the amount of supervision your child will need along your working hours if you are also working from home will give you an idea of how a typical day will look like for your family once classes resume.
Can my child use a laptop or computer and navigate the Internet easily?
Can your child open your laptop or computer on his own? Can he type? Does he know how to navigate through browsers and windows? If not, can he learn a few basic computer skills before the official start of classes? The answers to these questions will determine how much guidance or help your child will need regularly. Granted, teachers and schools will probably give a few considerations or even additional support or training especially to younger students, but giving them a general overview of it might help in getting them interested in online learning.
Can my child effectively communicate with his teachers and classmates in an online setup?
Communication is also important in a learning environment, and interaction between teachers and learners will be different in an online setting than in a classroom setup. So you should assess and support your child in how she can effectively communicate via voice or video calls and even how to use the tools required by the school.
Can my child effectively comprehend and manage online classes and self-study tasks?
Schools will most likely require students to attend online classes for certain periods and also assign self-study tasks each day. Your child should be able to be patient enough to sit through these online classes or video conferences and also comprehend the lessons taught during the sessions. At the same time, you should also consider if you or a guardian will be available to guide or even sit with him throughout the sessions if he tends to get easily distracted or even guide him on his worksheets.
Is your child easily distracted?
As mentioned before, kids who get easily distracted, especially younger kids, might not adapt as easily to online learning as older kids. It would be better to assess your child’s ability to stay on a task first, or even how long he can sit still in front of a computer listening to a teacher, before enrolling him in distance learning. If he’s having a hard time focusing, then online learning might not be the right fit for him at this time. You can consider other alternatives such as homeschooling (independently or enrolled in a program) or even skipping this year for now.
Is my child interested in online learning?
Perhaps one of the most important questions to ask is: is my child interested in online learning? Or ask your child, do you want to go to school this year? Then explain to him the situation and the set up so that he’ll know what to expect. Kids who are uninterested in online learning right from the beginning might have a hard time adjusting, while kids who miss school and learning will most likely adjust to it despite experiencing any initial setbacks.
Another thing you can do is to enroll your child in a short online course or classes before the actual school year just so both of you can experience it firsthand. And remember, even if your child might not adapt to it as quickly as other kids, it doesn’t mean that he won’t.