How to make remote learning work for you

23 Apr 2021

If you are a parent and struggling with remote learning, you are not alone. With many parents back at work, either physically or working from home, remote learning can become challenging. 

 But it doesn’t have to be; with the right strategies, you can make remote learning work for you and your child. 

 We share some tips on how you can make remote learning work.

 What can I do to make remote learning easier for my child and me? 

 Set a routine

 The first thing you need to do is set a routine for your child by using your child’s school timetable provided to you. This timetable will help guide you regarding when your child can start class if they have to attend an online class. 

If your child uses printed learning materials, it is also vital that you set specific times for them to start working; this will help them get into the routine. 

If possible, print out the timetable and go through it with your child the day before to prepare for the next day. Planning will allow you also to see where your child might require your help. 

While setting up a routine might be a challenge initially, Dr Ndivhuwo Luruli says setting a routine of regular school days helped her daughters. 

“ I got the girls to set the alarm for waking up, bath, change out of their pyjamas and get ready for the day etc. It really helps to set the correct tone for the day,” she says. 

Set up a workstation

Set up a workstation that is conducive to learning. If your child is younger, they might need assistance setting this up. Help them by ensuring that they have their stationery, books, headphones/earphones and devices they require to complete their school tasks.

Dr Luruli, who has two scholars at SPARK Schools says having a dedicated workplace works well for her and her daughters. 

At the start of lockdown, they would just sit wherever, but we quickly realised that we needed to have a dedicated workplace that they can treat “as a classroom,” Dr Luruli says. 

Be consistent

If you set up a routine, be consistent with it. Children work better when they have a routine and know what is expected of them. If you have to do other things the next day, check that they have everything they need the night before to ensure that you don’t change the routine.

 Choose a remote learning action that works for you.

Speak to your child’s school and find out what remote learning options they have for you. For example, SPARK Schools offer different options for parents to choose from. 

These include:

  1.  Online learning: consisting of live online lessons with educators, online assignments and digital resources. Live classes will be recorded and uploaded twice a week for learners who may miss a lesson due to illness, load-shedding, or other reasons.  This learning option has “drive-through” opportunities for parents to collect their child’s stationery packs from the school.
  2. Offline learning: consisting of printed learning packs collected from the school on allocated “pick up” days and can also be downloaded from the online learning platform and printed at home. Any assignments in the printed pack are submitted to the school for marking via drop off at the school, upload to SPARK Schools platform or emailed to the teacher. Parents receive feedback on work the same way they submit it.  This learning option has “drive-through” opportunities for parents to collect their child’s stationery packs from the school. 

How do I make remote learning work if I have a younger child?

With older children, remote learning is much easier, as you only need to set them up and work independently; however, this might not be the case for younger children. SPARK Ferndale Principal Alliah Halifa says it is essential to have a care circle before beginning their remote learning classes.

You can do this by asking them the following questions: 

  • What are they excited about?
  • What are they nervous about?
  • Which subjects do they think they will do well in?

“After the first day, have a care circle about how their day went, what worked and went well. Also, find out about what didn’t go well and what they need to do things differently the following day,” Halifa says.  

How do I ensure my high school student is doing their work independently? 

It is essential to set expectations from the beginning of each week. Communicate the rewards and consequences if they don’t complete their work and tasks. Halifa advises parents to have random check-ins to ensure your child is on track. This will also help you identify where they need support. 

Ask your child’s teachers for support

Your child’s school is there to support you, do not be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Your teachers are your support system and will always be ready to assist you whenever they can. 

Divide and conquer

 If you have other people in your household that can assist you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, if you have meetings all day or an urgent work project you need to submit, ask if someone else can ensure that your child is doing their work. Brief them the day before to know how the child has to log in or what tasks they need to complete if it’s printed work. This will help you not to feel overwhelmed.

Keep calm  

Stay calm and don’t be too hard on yourself; remember mistakes are part of the learning process. You might enquire about some challenges, such as your child struggling to log in or issues with an internet connection. Your child might be working on completing tasks; stay calm and just do the best you can; you are already doing an excellent job by ensuring your child gets an education.