For many in Malaysia, the landscape of the country has been dramatically and forcefully changed in the 18 or so months following the declaration of a (still ongoing) global pandemic.
Businesses have closed. The healthcare industry is at a breaking point but still forging ahead, thankfully. Politics are akin to incessant bickering among toddlers. The list goes on and on.
But nothing quite sparks more doom and gloom than the education field — you know, the one thing that our future generation has to depend on to succeed in life — taking a massive hit due to various problematic and questionable decisions by the Education Ministry.
However, contrary to popular belief, one of the decisions made (for better or for worse) to have students begin online learning at home for the past several months is a decision that isn’t necessarily a bad one. For one, you get to stay home and stay safe. Two, students (and their parents) need not wake up at some ungodly hour to get ready for school. Those are just some of the benefits of online learning. That being said, the environment in your bedroom/living room/kitchen/closet might not be the most conducive to learning. In this article, we’ll take a gander at some online learning tips that you may adopt to adapt your children to the home learning environment.
Set A Schedule, Stick To It
Just like how work-life balance is of the utmost importance to most of us working adults, setting a delicate balance between studying and enjoying the time at home will be one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face as you try to adapt your children to home learning.
Where once the ringing of a school bell instantly signals that it’s time for a change, that isn’t the case at home. Students may find any and all excuses to postpone learning in favour of a few extra minutes in bed, on their phones, or watching just one more episode of their favourite TV shows.
You may find yourself being in a tense negotiation with your kid — “If I can play one more hour on the Playstation, then I’ll definitely start working at 9.00 AM.” Then 9.00 AM becomes 10.00 Am, 10.00 AM becomes 11.00 AM and so forth. Procrastination is a thing, y’all. We’re sure parents are already aware of this.
Instead, set a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling not only makes us more efficient and productive, but it also brings about structure and a sense of normalcy to our lives — something that students surely needs in order to learn.
A good place to start is by designing your children’s schedule around how the average school day starts and ends, while also giving more breaks to account for no travelling or commuting. This would help to alleviate some of the built-up pressure from being kept at home for long periods of time.
Variety Is The Spice of Life
What most parents don’t get about online learning at home is that it affords students the opportunity to learn more about non-syllabus mandated topics compared to when they were “forced” to go to school.
This would also help to keep things fresh in order to avoid turning the home learning experience into a drab affair.
The key here is hands-on learning via Project-Based Learning (PBL). Maybe you could change a reading assignment into a scriptwriting task and turn that into a whole video acting activity. Or you could turn a dry English activity into an arts and craft project. The only limit here is your creativity!
Not only will these diverse activities help in staving off the inevitable boredom, but they’ll also help in developing a broader range of soft skills too.
Set Up A Dedicated Learning Space
Here’s an important homeschooling tip: YOU NEED A DEDICATED, WELL-ORGANISED LEARNING SPACE FOR EFFECTIVE LEARNING.No, you don’t have to spend a fortune on remodelling your entire home to add on another room for learning, but you do, however, need to gather up a few essential supplies. Having a well-equipped learning space will only serve to create a more conducive learning space for students.
With a well-thought-out and stocked learning space, students won’t have to jump up every five minutes to look for a paperclip, pen, or dictionary. Having these things within arm’s reach ensures that less time is wasted and your child’s concentration doesn’t get broken.
And with regards to the supplies, it will vary according to the specifics of your situation. Some essentials that you would definitely need in this learning space include:
- A non-cluttered desk
- A computer
- A pencil case with all the basic stationeries
- A printer, paper
- Arts and crafts supplies like glue, cards, crayons, colouring pens, etc.
- A dictionary
- An atlas
Where you set up the learning space will also depend solely on the layout of your home. We’d recommend a bedroom or a kitchen table here. Though, wherever you may choose, be sure to also minimise distractions as much as possible. This means no TVs, phones, or gaming consoles in the learning space!