This year is going to be a test for everyone.
Tutors and parents are going to have to work hand-in-hand.
As a parent, there are some things you can do at home to foster a more conducive learning environment!
Why Stable Learning Environments Matter At Home.
One of the most important things for students to have is stability. Structure and routine create familiarity – the more routine, the fewer distractions, and the more likely students will be able to focus on the tasks at hand (i.e learning).
With everything going on at school, it is that much more important to create a place to learn at home.
How To Create A Stable Learning Environment At Home
1) A Mini Library
Reading is powerful. It not only helps develops imagination, as well as speech and other language skills, but it can foster a sense of self-determination and progress.
Even if you are not an avid reader yourself, finding time to sit and read out loud with your child, (or side by side) for 15 minutes a day is beneficial.
You don’t need anything fancy, a reading nook will do. Keep it simple – a shelf, some books, a chair and a light. When in doubt, use the living or dining room (wherever is quiet and free of distractions).
2) A Homework Area
A dedicated study space is important – now more than ever. Simply assigning your child to their room for homework is an option, but not the most conducive to learning.
You want to find a place (ideally quiet and isolated) that is not associated with another routine, like sleeping or eating. That being said, this is not always possible with space.
In this case, be sure to clear what space you choose of toys and other clutter.
Try to personalize the space in some way.
This could be as simple as creating a learning placemat, a poster on the wall, or pulling out a box of learning supplies and setting up the desk in a way that signals it is time to learn (it is even better if you can involve your child in this process – eventually to the point where they are self-sufficient at getting ready to learn).
3) Keep Learning Fun At Home
Learning can feel tedious. Add COVID to the mix and it may very well become a stressful activity for more students and families than ever before.
Help your child feel like learning can be more than a chore. This won’t always be possible (any parent can attest) but the more fun you can help your child have while learning, the better.
Use games, create incentives, and always encourage your child to lead the way in learning.
Keeping their interests in mind, give them several options. Choices make a child feel more in control.
4) Mutual Respect
Respect is a two-way street.
All parents want to instil the importance of using words like please, thank you, welcome, and sorry. Be sure to use the same language around homework and schooling.
“Please complete what your teacher asked,” and, “thank you for helping set up your learning station,” are examples of language that encourages students to feel like they are appreciated and empowered to learn.
There is always a fine line between parenting and teaching – the more you can empower your children, the less likely you will have to force them to sit down and learn (this isn’t always the case, but shoot for the stars).
5) Order, Routine, & Days Off
There is a need for order – but learning should not always be regulated and clocked by the second.
It is important to let your child balance formal learning with the learnings that come from their every day (which you are likely already doing a great job at)!
Children can love to wash dishes, stitch buttons, shop for groceries and cook. It is not until they are teenagers that they realize how boring these chores are! During each task, you can tell them interesting facts about the activity – making learning a part of your everyday routine.
Some form of order is necessary for every age group. Going to bed on time, waking up with the sun, managing homework and outdoor activities – but it is okay to have a little bit of wiggle room – just be sure to communicate the ‘why’ with your child.
This school year is going to be a test for everyone.
Don’t stress yourself out if your child misbehaves, occasionally throws a tantrum, or digs in their heels and decides to be stubborn at precisely the wrong moment – they might just be frustrated with everything going on at school that you don’t see.
Continue to give them your time, love and attention and ensure, as often as you can, that you help them learn along the way!
And get them a tutor!