Monday, March 16, 2020

Tips for Helping Your Child Learn at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As I write this, my daughter is packing up her dorm room and getting ready to come home from university even though the semester hasn't ended. In response to an outbreak of coronavirus, the school moved all classes online subsequently thrusting her into the world of virtual learning. One, that I'm not sure she is ready for.

My daughter needs to have structure and routine in her life as well as accountability. She prefers visual learning aids and the opportunity to ask questions while learning the new material. Collaboration with peers and class discussions also deepen her understanding of content. All, of which I'm not sure will be as overtly and readily available on a computer screen.

She has no experience with online class delivery.  I also worry about her ability to stay focused on learning in our busy household. I have so many thoughts. Will her professors try to make lessons interactive or will they post presention slides with a dozen bullet points? When and how long will they be available for taking questions and clarifying information? What will her final exams look like? How will they ensure she still receives her learning accommodations?

As she prepares to come home and learn online, I am also getting ready. I'm not just making sure she has her favorite food in the house or her bed has fresh sheets. I'm also trying to create an environment in which she can successfully adapt to this new way of university life.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only parent who is simultaneously relieved that their child will be socially distanced from the rest of the student body but also concerned about their academic progress. So, last night I sat down and made a list of ways in which I am going to support my daughter's new digital learning experience. I thought I would share them with you in case you need some ideas as well! Keep in mind that these ideas can be adapted for a wide range of ages - from preschool to college!

Learning Space

1. Create or find a place in the home that will be free of distractions. Remove the television, limit noise, and take down photos or pictures on the walls that can draw attention.

2. Consider blocking outside distractions that can be seen through a window.

3. Ensure appropriate lighting.

4. Create ways to keep paperwork organized such as using binders, file folders, file trays, and bins. 

Photo Courtesy of

5. If a room is not available, think about making an age- appropriate study carrel from a table and cardboard box (I love this example for younger students). Learn how to make a study carrel here.

Pop-Up Station
Photo Courtesy of

Learning Supplies

1. Gather supplies such as:
  • pencils
  • markers
  • scissors
  • highlighters
  • calculator
  • sticky notes
  • notebooks
  • binders
2.  Keep supplies accessible and organized such as putting them in jars, pencil boxes, and ziploc bags.
Found on

Learning Materials

1. Print graphic organizers to help your child take notes and understand material that is presented online.

2. Provide manipulatives such as blocks, pasta, or beans. 

Photo Courtesy of The End in Mind

3. Get to know websites that can teach and clarify concepts such as:

4. Look for study guide books to help older students develop a further understanding of material. Many are available on Amazon

Learning Time

1. Create a schedule for learning. Find times when your child learns best and stick to it. 

2. Use a teaching tool such as Pomodoro Timer which teaches kids how to manage time and work flow.

Pomodoro Timer Technique

3. Help keep your child on track using a checklist of lessons and homework that have to get done. 


4. Finally, give your child some time to activate their mind and body by going for walks, reading their favorite book, or socializing with their friends online. The better they feel about themselves, the more ready they are to learn!

If you have any more ideas to support your kids while they learn from home, please comment below.

Stay healthy everyone!

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