Tired of sitting in front of the computer all day long? Do you feel exhausted after a full day of virtual school, or do you feel you are not learning enough?
Kids have so much energy and to expect them to sit still in one place and learn without much interaction is unreasonable. Young minds need much physical and mental stimulation to develop and here are a few ways you can help become better learners.
1. Start with music
Begin each school day with some feel good or calming music. A 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute found that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. According to the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM Foundation), learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning and even increase SAT scores.
You can play your favorite songs, do a happy dance together, or play an instrument. You will see that listening to or playing music each day will help in improving brainpower, creativity and expression.
2. Set goals
Home schooling can be overwhelming as you juggle multiple classes, homework assignments, and teach yourself new skills. Also, you may be distracted by siblings studying in the same room, pets trying to get attention, or parents constantly checking in. Start each day or week by writing down tasks that you need to achieve in a day. Use a planner or whiteboard. Break down lessons, reading assignments and homework problems. Then cross them out as you complete them. This will allow you to stay on track as well as visually see your progress through the week.
3. Invent Games
This is your time to get creative and think outside the classroom! Hands-on learning is so much more fun and you can use what you learned in school to come up with new games to entertain and learn. Look for things you already have around the house and see how you can incorporate them into fun activities. For example you can learn math by adding grocery receipts and creating a budget for your family, conduct simple science experiments in the kitchen, test your memory skills by remembering all the TV channels, and much more. Also, you can make a speech at family dinners about your findings and share your inventions with everyone.
4. Go outside
Studies have shown that children who play outdoors regularly are more curious, self-directed and likely to stay with a task longer. As you need more focus than ever for virtual learning, reduce your stress level and gain more energy by taking breaks outdoors.
Instead of watching TV or checking your Instagram feed, take a walk in the garden or around your neighborhood. Run, jump, throw balls, catch, pull things, smell the flowers, observe ant colonies, watch butterflies, and listen to songbirds. By taking a field trip to the backyard, you will also get some much needed vitamin D and fresh air that will help boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick.
Another advantage of virtual school is that if you didn’t like the look of your classroom, you can now make it anything you want! Redecorate your learning area (desk, chair, office) with your favorite posters, colors or accessories. Add some fresh flowers, bobblehead dolls or even have your best stuffed toy join you in distant learning.
Taking breaks for your mind and body are equally important. Incorporate daily yoga, meditation, stretching and exercise into your school schedule. By practicing yoga poses, children learn how to exercise, develop confidence, and concentrate better. According to toddler and children’s yoga teacher, Alexandra De Collibus, in a Parents interview – yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable. She also believes that yoga is something children can practice anywhere and that the breathing, the concentration, the poses, and the way kids learn to act or react to situations, leads to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness. Plus, yoga is portable, and no mat, special clothing, or special pillow is absolutely necessary.
7. Treat yourself
As you attend school from home it may be easier to step into the kitchen and grab snacks throughout the day. This is a good time to learn to eat healthy. Limit yourself to a treat only when you accomplish something and deserve a reward for it. For some additional fun, make your own cookies, cupcakes, or whatever you fancy. Learn new recipes and teach yourself the chemistry of baking!
8. Dig deeper
There are so many ways to learn beyond textbooks. With access to technology, you can virtually be anywhere or study anything! Each week, take a topic from school and expand your knowledge on it by researching it online, watching documentaries on the subject, listening to podcasts, visiting museums virtually, and learning all you can about it. You may even find references to what you are learning in ‘Beato Goes To’ books. To reinforce, discuss your findings with your classmates or organize a debate.
9. Learn a language
Nothing is more fun than to speak in a foreign language that not everyone around you can understand. Use this time at home to learn a new language by writing out words and sticking them around the house, like your bathroom, microwave, desk, etc. You can also join virtual language clubs where you can make friends with kids who speak that native language and practice your skills. Many cultural centers in your community may also offer language lessons for kids. Here are some online games and puzzles in Spanish and French.
10. Meet friends
While it may not be possible to meet in person, set up a virtual playtime or Facetime chat with friends so you can talk about your day outside of a formal setting. This is when you can just be yourself without any agenda, while helping build communication skills and feel good. Remember, we are all in this together!