As I write this it looks like schools in Canada will be out for the rest of the school year. This can be seen as either a disaster or as an opportunity.
The disaster is that those students who rely on the individual attention they get from teachers in order to learn will miss out. They will not get the special support they need. There are ways to get around that. I will talk about that in another post.
How can school closure be an opportunity?
Many students can, with suitable encouragement, learn and enjoy learning on their own. They can use a variety of resources to help them either practice what they know or learn something new. Schools may have sent resources, arranged for them to be picked up or are teaching on-line.
How do parents handle this?
First, resist the temptation to try to replace your child’s teacher. If you try to do this, you will end up increasing your stress and confusing your child. You may even prevent your child learning – this is not what you want to happen.
Now is the time to consider options. Here are two to think about.
- On-line tutoring. If you have the resources to pay for this – it can be inexpensive – this is a good way to have a teacher for your child. As you may know, I work with Vnaya and recommend their tutoring services. Vnaya.com
- On-line resources. Learning on-line is different from learning in class. The materials have to be carefully prepared and structured so that students can easily progress from one learning objective to the next. This doesn’t always happen. Here is a post that explains why.
Assuming that the on-line course is well planned, there are still things to think about.
- Is your child self-motivated?
- Does he have goals to work towards?
- Is there a set schedule for doing the work?
- Is there a system for getting extra support when he does not understand something?
- Do you trust the person who has created the materials?
- Will your child be assessed on his learning?
- If your child is Word Smart, Number Smart or Self Smart he will enjoy working on line. However, if your child learns a different way this approach to learning will not work.
- What support do you need to offer a child who is working on-line?
- Do you and your child have access to help when you need it?
- How much time a day will your child be working on-line?
- Do you have the technology to support this? You may need access to more than one computer or notepad.
Don’t assume that learning on-line is almost the same as learning in class. There are big differences. These differences can be handled but the more you know about them the better the experience will be – for you and your child!
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do what I can to answer your questions and provide practical advice.
Together we can get through this – and help your child succeed.