September 08, 2020
Online learning has become a common format for many schools since the pandemic. Here’s how to ensure kids get in some offline learning, too.
Online learning presents all sorts of new challenges: kids aren’t always in classrooms, they’re on their own more, and they’re on screens more. With some classes being conducted via Zoom or Google Classroom, it might not be the best way for all kids to learn. After all, everyone has a different learning style. Here are some tips and ideas to help kids adjust to new digital study skills and some ideas for how to take studying offline.
Some of the best studying skills you can help your kids develop include:
- Create a study space
- Keep playtime screen-free
- Keep a study schedule
- Study with flashcards
- Use auditory learning
- Let kids be the teachers
- Adapt study strategies to your kids’ learning styles
- Set up for success, offline
Create a Study Space
Similar to how a classroom is set up specifically to encourage learning, dedicate a workspace somewhere in your home to be your kids' new online learning “classroom.” Encourage your kid to take an active role in creating the study area to personalize it and make them feel comfortable.
This can help them feel like it’s a place they want to be during the school day. A desk, comfy chair, reference books, and maybe some pictures or study boards will help them focus.
Keep Playtime Screen-Free
If your kids are like most, they probably spend a lot of their free time on a tablet, laptop, or cell phone. Messaging friends, watching TikTok videos, or playing games isn’t a bad thing in moderation. But for kids with online classes, it can mean their school time and free time is spent staring at a screen.
Keep an eye on how much time your kids are spending on devices. If they need to be at the computer for Zoom lessons or collaborative study hours, encourage Focus Time away from devices. It’ll give your kids time to build their attention span, relax, and stay active.
Keep a Study Schedule
Good study habits are essential to academic success, and planning is a huge part. It's most important for middle school and high school students. But even elementary learners can pace out vocabulary words or plan for a math test.
Get a calendar or planner and help your kids write down due dates for homework assignments. You can also help them create study plans (and even schedule study sessions) to prepare. Small blocks of study time are always better than procrastination and last-minute cramming.
Study With Flashcards
Many parents grew up before screens became the predominant form of education. Homework was done with pen and paper, and test-taking was always done by hand. While tests might have moved online, studying doesn’t have to.
Flashcards are a great way to help kids learn new concepts. Teaching kids how to make flashcards from the subjects they’re studying can help imprint information and improve memorization. And paper flashcards also provide some offline time to process information and learn more clearly.
Take some time to help your kids write the cards, and then quiz them with the cards—you can even make it a little game! And even though they might be taking classes online, make sure they have plenty of notebooks and a pen or pencil for note-taking—notebooks never slow down or crash.
Use Auditory Learning
Some kids' auditory learning style means they absorb best when listening. Educational podcasts like Stories Podcast, Circle Round, and Brains On are great resources to help expand kids’ knowledge base.
They’re also great active listening practice and can get kids hooked on a subject, encouraging them to do more extracurricular research. Podcasts are a way to fill in class time gaps or pass the time when doing chores like washing dishes, cleaning, or yard work. Listening is a great way for kids to double up on doing chores while learning something new.
Let Kids Be the Teachers
Another way for kids to learn is to relay information to someone else. Whether it’s a history project, a crash course on multiplication tables (who couldn’t use a brushup, anyway?), or a book review, having kids give a presentation can help them develop valuable skills, such as preparation, presenting, and public speaking.
Get creative with the audience, too. It can just be you and your kid, siblings or friends, some stuffed animals, or hopping on a video call with family. Presenting to an audience will help them grow and learn. It might even be the highlight of their school year!
Adapt Study Strategies to Your Kids’ Learning Styles
Teaching study skills only works if your kids start using what they’ve learned. And since every kid learns differently, the most effective study methods need to change for each kid. You know your little learners best, so think about what they’ve especially liked in school in years past, and see if there are ways to recreate that learning style at home.
For example, kids with ADHD can find online learning especially tough. After all, classes compete with everything else on the Internet, from online video games to endless YouTube videos. Encourage them to study away from the screen (maybe in their new study space).
You can also consider printing off online worksheets and other materials. Research has shown that we remember better when writing by hand than when typing.
Set Up for Success Offline
Encouraging kids to practice studying offline doesn’t only help develop new skill sets. It also gives them a chance to absorb more of what they’ve learned in a slower, more methodical way.
Adding Circle to your household can also help keep screen time in check, like setting filters on certain websites, so your kids don’t get distracted from their online schoolwork. Keep their after-school screen time to a minimum, so entire evenings aren’t spent online.
Find out how to make the most of managing screen time for kids during online learning, and help them spend more time studying offline. Buy Circle Parental Controls, and get started on screen time management today.