Last year’s sudden transition to remote and hybrid learning models has been challenging for many students. Is your child struggling with distance learning? Here are the two most common signs to look out for, and what you can do to help!
Sign #1: Less time is being spent on homework. If you notice your student is spending significantly less time on assignments and homework than they would during a normal school year, they may be facing some difficulties. One of the unfortunate side effects of online learning is that it’s seemingly easier for students to neglect homework assignments when they are just links or bullet points on a computer screen (as opposed to a handout or take-home assignment that their teacher would normally explain face-to-face in a classroom). That being said, teachers are doing their best to provide the same level of quality education to their students that they would receive during any other school year. In most cases, virtual classes still start in the morning and run on a schedule – the amount of time your student is devoting towards school during the day should remain more or less consistent. A common concern we hear from parents is “My child never seems to have any homework.” In most cases, this is due to students rushing through assignments or simply falling behind with online learning procedures.
Sign #2: They have trouble talking about their school day. Try asking your child open-ended questions about what they learned at school today, or if anything important is upcoming during the week. If your child struggles to answer these questions, it can be a sign they are having trouble focusing during the day. Attention issues have always been any area of concern with children, but the transition to learning at home has exacerbated these problems in some students. After all, it’s a lot easier to become distracted sitting in the comfort of your own bedroom, in front of your own laptop (as opposed to being seated at a desk in a classroom). Many students are attending virtual classes but have trouble staying focused on the lesson – or as one student put it, “After staring at the screen for so long I start to zone out.”
What can you do to help?
1. Help create a schedule. Because students aren’t physically attending schools, many feel a lack of structure. Parents can help by creating a color-coded agenda or schedule to help with organizational and planning skills. For some students, simply creating a “to-do” list is enough to start blocking off their time for the week. Check out our blog for more great tips on creating a planner!
2. Encourage breaks. Staring at a screen for many hours is straining on the eyes, so make sure your kids get up to stretch and take breaks once in a while. We also recommend providing healthy snacks to keep energy and focus levels high during the day.
3. Work with a tutor. The transition to distance learning has been harder on some than others. Due to early school closures last year, many students are also behind on their grade-level requirements. Recent studies project that students returned in fall retaining approximately only 63-68% of their learning gains in reading and 37-50% in math (in comparison to a regular school year). A tutor has the unique ability to backtrack and return to previous concepts that may have needed more time.