If you’re working full-time from home during the pandemic while also adjusting to your kids being there around the clock thanks to remote learning, you’re probably seeing sides of them you hadn’t before. You might see them slacking off a bit in school since they don’t have a teacher there to keep them on track. They might be taking breaks a little too frequently or walking away from their work whenever they get bored.
To an extent, you can’t blame them. You’re probably facing many of these challenges yourself. Having so much freedom tempts you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise since there’s no one there telling you otherwise. Maybe you’re listening to loud music while you work, wearing sweats while on business calls, or starting work at 11 a.m. instead of 9. But if you see your children’s newfound freedom is causing them to fall behind in school, it’s time for you to take some initiative.
Remote learning can be difficult for kids. The limits of online schooling make it much harder for teachers to provide comprehensive learning plans, especially for students with learning challenges and disabilities. Dads, therefore, have to seek out additional resources and make a plan to fill in the educational gaps for their children.
Remote learning intensifies pre-existing struggles
Remote learning has posed many new challenges for kids who were already struggling to keep up in school. Children with ADD, who already have trouble sitting still in the classroom, are struggling even more as they are forced to sit through hours of required screen time. Kids who struggle verbally, whether they have a stutter or are just painfully shy, are even more hesitant to speak up during video learning sessions. The challenges of kids with pre-existing learning struggles and disabilities have intensified with remote schooling — and parents must take it on themselves to find a solution.
So where do fathers come in? If it took working from home for you to realize your child is behind the curve, don’t give up hope. Instead think of schooling from home as a blessing —if it wasn’t for remote-learning you may not have recognized this problem until much later. Now that you have recognized it, you need to figure out how you can be proactive in preventing your kid from falling further behind.
Scheduling private time with teacher
A great first step is to talk to their teachers to see if they also are aware of your kids’ learning difficulties. While they may not be as attuned to your children’s educational weaknesses as you are, their teachers are aware that many kids are struggling to adjust to remote learning and should provide solutions for getting them back on track. If their teacher is willing, schedule a weekly or bi-weekly time for your children to attend one-on-one video sessions to work on subjects they’re struggling with.
If one-on-one sessions with the teacher isn’t an option, don’t worry. There are plenty of online learning resources to give your kids the extra help they need. Some websites provide links to online resources and platforms your children can use to get help with subjects they’re struggling in. For example, if your students are struggling with math, they can check out a variety of video lessons and digital worksheets to get all the help and practice they need to improve.
Finding freedom in the “new normal”
Another reason your children may be struggling with online schooling is because they don’t have other classmates around to keep them motivated. To cure this, find creative and safe ways for them to see their old friends. Reach out to their classmates’ parents to see if you can organize a day at the park when the kids can participate in socially distanced learning exercises. This could be writing math equations in chalk, acting out history lessons or having an outdoor spelling bee. As long as all social distance rules are followed, these playdates provide a healthy outlet for kids to get reacquainted with each other and give kids the opportunity to get help from classmates who excel in subjects they struggle with. Your kids have been deprived of normal socialization for almost a year and if anything, seeing their friends can bring back some normalcy.
If you’ve noticed there are certain times of the day when it’s harder for your children to learn, consider rearranging their schoolwork schedule to be more strategic. Work around their required online schooling sessions to give them breaks at times when they tend to be the least productive. A great thing about remote learning is kids have the freedom and flexibility to choose when they do things, to some extent. So if one of your children is not a morning person, why should he start school at 8 a.m.? Let him sleep in and start the day when he is fully rested and ready to learn.
Setting up kids for online school success
While you may be enjoying all the extra time you have with your children because of remote learning, it’s important for you to establish that education comes first. If you see struggles because of distractions at home, a lack of socialization or because school’s just hard for them in general, make sure that you’re doing everything you can to keep them on track. Using online resources, taking advantage of the freedoms of schooling from home, and scheduling socially distanced playdates are all ways you can set up children success while they’re learning remotely.