Online Learning – Top Tips For Parents

by Anita Naik

With remote learning back on the agenda, there are several things you can do to ensure it goes smoothly. Whether your children are KS3, GCSE or A-Level here's how to help with their online learning.

Teach your children the skills for online learning

New factors come into play when pupils learn from home over being at school. Two of the most important ones are time management and organisational skills. Unlike being at school where teachers and peers fill in all the missing gaps, studying from home means getting used to a different timetable, keeping track of calendars, as well as reading notifications and emails. As a parent, you can help by passing on vital tips like having a written schedule, managing time effectively and regularly checking messages from teachers.

Understand why your child is stressed

Pupils are stressed because schools aren't always good at communicating how online work will be implemented. Add into this the different way faculties and teachers work, having to study in new ways (on apps or with Google Classrooms), and you'll see why your child may be more stressed than usual. Help get online work in perspective by assuring them if they miss something it's not the end of the world, and ask them what you can do to help. It may be as simple as showing them how to upload work to Google Classrooms or how to access a Google Hangout via a calendar link.

Find out how your child can get help

Every school and teacher is different, and pupils' expectations need to be set in advance of online learning. When this doesn't happen, it can be hard to know what your child needs to do for assessment and how they can get help from teachers. Most schools should have a process for how questions can be asked and the time frame for replies. If your child is unsure of this or you feel this process is non-existent contact your child's school.

Ask your child if they have understood the work

Finding out how remote learning is going for specific subjects and revision is also vital. Try to pinpoint exactly what's happening or what might be going wrong. Is it hard to focus, or is there too much or too little structure? Does your child need more clarity or a push? Only they can say. However, if it's a knowledge gap, identify what they need and what resources they can get from the school. Also, consider working with a tutor to help support their work.

Read all feedback

Feedback for remote learning is essential not only for motivation but also so your child's progress can be assessed. When teaching remotely, it's easy for schools to forget all of the ways teachers give feedback in a classroom from 1-to-1 feedback at a pupil's desk to whole-class verbal feedback. At the very least, your child should be getting some written feedback for work. All students need that interaction to guide them and give them the confidence to keep going when unsure of what they are doing.

Don't expect them to work a full school day

Being physically at school, timetable makes it easier for students to work for five to six hours on various subjects. This is easier as they have clear expectations of what's needed, they are with their peers, and they are supervised with few distractions. Remote learning does not work that way. As long as your child fulfils what the school wants and is working well and learning, don't worry about them achieving a full six hours a day.

For more on this see our posts on How to keep studying in challenging times And Top ways to help students with stress and anxiety.