Transitions can be a challenging part of life and change can be difficult for any child, regardless of their learning abilities. For many families, the current shift to home learning is a big transition and a huge change for students who thrive on consistency and structure. That’s one of the reasons LDS is proud to be continuing our 1:1 instruction via a dynamic, interactive online platform; we call this our Research-informed Individualized Student Education at Home program – RISE at Home.

Here are five simple steps that will help you make home learning a success for your child.

1. Set up a schedule

A normal routine brings comfort and consistency, helping children understand expectations and develop self-discipline. Try to include your child in this process and make it interactive through checklists or reward systems. Checking off activities as they’re completed reinforces routine, organization, and structure. As many parents and educators know, students love reward systems. An effective reward could be more time for creative, play, or social activities.

Keeping a similar structure to their regular school days will help establish consistency. Meal and bedtimes can stay the same along with their learning hours. Hang up the schedule where your child can see it. The fridge or their designated learning space are great places.

Here’s an example adapted from Youth Mental Health Canada:

Time Task Details
Before 9am Wake up Eat breakfast, make bed, get dressed, put PJs in the laundry basket
9-10am Morning walk Family walk with the dog, indoor yoga if it's raining
10-11am Academic time NO ELECTRONICS
Sudoku books, flash cards, study guides, journal, workbooks
11am-12pm Creative time LEGO, drawing, crafting, playing music, baking, etc.
12pm Lunch Ask your child to help you prepare lunch!
1-2:30pm Quiet time Reading, puzzles, nap
2:30-4pm Academic time ELECTRONICS OKAY
LDS Online Resource list, Remote 1:1 instruction with LDS, iPad
4-5pm Afternoon fresh air Ride bikes, walk the dog, play outside
5-6pm Dinner Whole family
6-7:30pm Free TV time BONUS: Watch educational shows
7:30-8pm Bedtime routine Brush teeth, floss, wash face, bedtime stories, etc.
8pm Bedtime All kids
9pm Late Bedtime Kids who follow the daily schedule and don't fight!

2. Designate a learning space

It doesn’t have to be a desk or in the child’s bedroom, but it should be in a place where they feel comfortable, able to learn, and where you can monitor them. Noisy, shared spaces might not be ideal if your child has attention difficulties or is easily distracted.

Once you and your child have decided on the space, work together to set up all the tools your child will need. At the end of each learning day, allow for time to tidy up and take note of any supplies that are running low.

Check in with your child after the first few times using this space to see if it will work for them. Be mindful of tricks! They might try to move to another space that has less supervision or more distractions.

3. Start each day with setting goals

Goal setting is an important skill in life. It provides your child with what they’ll be working toward for the day, the hour, or each task. Keep the goals minimal, starting with no more than three, and S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Starting off with simple and easily achievable goals are great ways to build self-esteem and help with on-task behaviour. Ask them what their goals are, what challenges they may see in their learning for the day, and what strategies they will use if they have these challenges.

Write down the goals on a small whiteboard, piece of paper, or on a computer for your child to refer to. Keeping track of all their completed goals will build their confidence and show them how much progress they’ve made. Completing each goal can also be included in a reward system. Extra points earned for achieving all three goals!

4. Make time for play

Another way to involve your child in structuring their learning is to let them choose their play activities. These are fun activities that allows your child a break from academics and keeps them engaged and learning. They can be creative, social, or physical exercises and can be used as a part of reward system for motivation.

All students need breaks and putting the emphasis on constructive breaks that include a different way of learning can be a great way to keep your child stimulated and on task. Learners with attention difficulties may need more frequent breaks in their academic learning. Remember to structure in these extra breaks and set clear boundaries for your child to help direct them back to the task.

5. Find resources for your child’s needs 

A Google search of “learning resources for students” will come up with endless results, but we can help! We’ve done our own searching and have created a list of online educational resources that we’re excited about. It may take a couple different tries to find the best math program for your child’s needs and that’s okay. Our top ten are in the resource list. Let us know your favourites!

Online learning may be a challenge for your child and might not be the first place you go to for support, but it is an excellent way to keep your child engaged in the learning process while they are away from school. Give some of the tools on our list a try to change things up and keep your child engaged. Many resources explain the material being covered and can assist you with helping your child.

If you’re interested in additional academic support for your child, stay connected to us for more information on strategies to set your child up for success and remote learning options coming soon.

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