Texas Tech University

8 Tips for Homeschooling and Remote Learning - Straight from Curriculum Experts

Hannah Fields

April 17, 2020

online learning kids

Texas Tech curriculum experts share tips on how to ease the stress of remote learning for parents and children.

Due to social distancing mandates, many schools have switched to an online learning platform to continue the school year while students are at home. If you are a parent, helping your child transition to online learning while managing your work schedule and more can be overwhelming. This transition can also be very stressful for your child. To ease some of that stress, curriculum experts Mara Driscoll, Ph.D., and Karen Alexander, Ph.D., from The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Studies have shared eight tips for homeschooling and remote learning to help you during this time.

1. Create a Dedicated Space for Learning: Just as classrooms are essential dedicated spaces for learning, so are dedicated learning spaces in your home. Whether it is a kitchen table or small desk in your living room, having a dedicated space will help with routine, consistency, and concentration.

And, while it may be tempting to sit with your child while they are learning, try to avoid falling into the habit of sitting at the table as your child does their school work, especially when they are on the brink of learning something new. By doing this, you reduce your child's dependency on your help.

2. Utilize Resources Given from Your Child's School: Most schools have set up online learning resources using platforms such as Google Classroom to share homework and assignments. Many teachers will provide links and resources associated with your child's work, so don't get overwhelmed with the wealth of resources online. Let your child's teacher guide you regarding what might be helpful.

This also pertains to instructions given to your child by their teachers. Helping only when your child can describe what their teacher has asked of them reinforces the importance of following their teacher's instructions, even in a virtual setting.

3. Reach out to Your Child's Teachers: If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your child's teacher – they are still available in a virtual setting. Many teachers have also made themselves available via Zoom meetings or even phone calls. Teachers are dedicated to your child's learning, even though the methods have changed due to current circumstances.

4. Leave Room for Grace/Patience: There will be times when a child will become frustrated with their work, and that can also lead to your frustrations. When either you or your child gets frustrated or angry, learning can become associated with these negative emotions. Despite this, there are ways to work through those feelings effectively. Set the assignment aside and take a break.

In addition, try to avoid forcing help when you see your child struggling with an assignment. Because forcing help can make a child believe they can't learn without help, this can also lead to frustration and anger. Instead, only help when your child truly wants it.

5. Add in Breaks or Snack Times: It can be difficult for kids to sustain attention, especially when they're at home. Incorporating snack times and breaks throughout the day can help with this. Incorporate a fun activity indoors or in your yard to recreate recess at home before returning to schoolwork.

6. Incorporate Ways to Make Learning Fun: Try incorporating talking, reading, singing, and role-playing to make learning fun. This can also be used during chore time. For example, measurements, ratios, and other mathematical concepts can be learned right in the kitchen when making snacks or meals.

7. Balance Work and School Obligations: When learning at home, remember that you're NOT restricted to school hours. It's okay for your children to get their schoolwork done at different times during the day, especially if you are busy with your work. You must do what's best for your family.

Balance work and school obligations. Make time to do things as a family that isn't work or school-related. Read a book together, play a board game, incorporate a family movie night – just don't forget the fun in-between the necessary tasks.

8. Remember We're All In This Together: Attempting to juggle work, school, and more during uncertain times. However, just remember we're all doing our best with what we can to make it through this. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends and neighbors, especially those who also have kids taking on this new experience of remote learning. Reaching out and talking about what you're going through or sharing remote learning tips can be incredibly helpful.