Digital Promise and Learning Heroes have teamed up for a special blog series that explores how teachers and families can use technology to work together and facilitate learning for students of all ages. The series centers on the experiences of teachers and parents and provides family-focused tips and resources to support children’s academic progress, social-emotional development, and overall well-being. Take a look at the first and second posts in the series.
Educators navigating the new reality of hybrid and digital learning are making strides to partner with parents so that learning is seamless between home and school. Parents aren’t teachers but they are the experts on their children and can set up a positive learning environment at home. Below is a short message along with tips and resources that teachers can share with families as part of their ongoing communication.
Thank you for all you’ve done to help us kick off this very different kind of school year. Given the challenges of hybrid/digital learning at home, finding a healthy balance between supporting your child with their schoolwork and managing your job, home responsibilities, and other activities will help your family and child thrive. Below are tips and resources for creating a positive learning environment at home.
I look forward to working closely with you to support your child’s learning across home and school and invite you to stay connected with teachers and other families for more ideas and resources.
Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Family Tips and Resources
- Set up productive spaces for learning at home. Be creative based on your child’s learning preferences and your unique home environment. A learning space can be anything from a desk, a place at the table or counter, or a large box with pillows to create a study/reading nook. Make sure your child has the materials needed for the learning activity (e.g., paper, pen or pencils, digital devices). Try to limit distractions as much as possible. Here are more ideas for creating a learning space at home.
- Keep your child focused through a consistent daily schedule. We realize the shift to digital/hybrid learning is challenging for working parents, but following the school’s schedule as best as possible and keeping a routine is important for your child’s learning. This short article provides simple ways to help your child stay focused, and here are more tips to help with routines:
- Help with time management and goal-setting: Find time for a family huddle at least once each week. Talk about who will help your child join virtual classes on time and complete work. Involve your child in setting goals to practice self-control; they can write a list or draw pictures of their goals. As goals are completed, acknowledge your child’s achievement and encourage them to continue their efforts. Create a list of people who can support your child in their learning and arrange for your child to get help as needed. It may take time for your child to gain confidence and to monitor their own progress toward success.
- Change it up with brain breaks and physical activity: Alternate schoolwork with physical activity breaks (short walks, exercise), hands-on learning (reading, art, play, home science experiments), educational screen time (virtual museum tours, online activities), and social connections (such as playing games like Roblox or Minecraft). Make sure communications functions like chat with strangers are turned off.
- Plan ahead (as much as possible): While juggling work and digital learning, plan ahead and be creative about supporting your child with learning. Make the most of all parts of the day and find moments that fit your schedule to read together and talk about what your child is learning. Younger children will need help managing their learning activities. Older children may be able to do schoolwork on their own, but they still benefit from talking about what they are learning. Encourage your child to connect with classmates via phone, video, or email to socialize and work on projects together.
- Build motivation. Focus on your child’s effort and progress. Try language like, “You worked really hard on that,” or “Writing is hard, but I can see how much you are improving with practice!” Praising effort will help your child follow through with new and challenging tasks. Try these additional tips for keeping kids motivated, especially during online learning.
- Model self-control and organizing skills (executive function) by sharing your own strategies. An example is: “I’m having trouble focusing on my work today. I’m going to take a break. Do you want to take a walk together? When I come back, I’m going to make a checklist of all the things I need to do.” Check out this video series to help your children develop such skills as problem-solving, discussion, and self-regulation.
- Help your child learn by engaging them in new and different ways. “Active learning” means using newly received information right away in order to “learn by doing.” “Passive learning” is when you watch or listen to learn new information. Consider these tips for both online and offline learning with your child:
- Students benefit from learning information in multiple ways. They learn more, for example, from flashcards (print or digital) that incorporate both text and images—charts, graphs, etc.—than from cards that show words alone.
- Students’ interest is kept alive by trying new and different ways of learning, not just looking at textbooks all day. As long as the new activity really informs your child about the academic subject, clapping a math lesson—or sketching in science class, or acting during story time—can help every student learn better.
- Find out what’s appropriate for your child’s age. Check out this great resource for tips on setting screen-time limits and helping your child develop positive habits with technology.
For more tips and resources, sign up for our Action Report and stay tuned for our next blog on promoting life skills.