These are exceptional times.
While it’s important for children to keep learning during this unprecedented suspension of in-class instruction, there is no expectation that the pace and rigour of a normal school day should be duplicated at home. This is an emergency situation. Everyone will respond to it in their own way. Students might need wide latitude from parents — how much involvement you have will depend on your child’s age and needs.
The Ministry of Education's Keep Learning website offers the following suggestions for parents:
- Let your child see you’re interested in what they’re doing and be positive and cheerful in your approach.
- Encourage positive communication with the child (to give and accept instructions).
- Encourage the development of good work habits and help your child take pride in work well done.
- Be patient with your child and yourself. This is a new experience for everyone and will take some time to adjust to. The most important thing is for your child to feel safe, loved and supported.
Specific advice for teenagers:
- Most teenagers in the senior grades can work directly with their teachers on what they need to do without any direct help from parents/caregivers.
- Teenagers will likely be missing the social engagement of school. Encourage them to keep up with friends and family (virtually).
- Listen when your teenager wants to talk. Encourage them to figure out approaches and solutions to what they’re working on.
Common Sense's Wide Open School offers the following suggestions for supporting students that are adjusting to learning at home:
Set a schedule.
- Having a mix of online and offline activities is important each day—as is time for breaks. Routines can be comforting for everyone. Communicate your own schedule to your family and if possible, trade times with another member of the household to check in on learning.
Create a consistent workspace.
- It may be hard to find separate spaces for everyone in the home to work. If possible, set up a location for each person to work or store materials or projects.
Empathize about change.
- This is a new experience for your kids, as well as for you. Help them understand that it will take some time to adjust to new tools and ways of learning.
Make time for breaks and fun.
- Many of us are anxious as we manage this new reality, so take any opportunity to relax and laugh together. Your kids are going to remember this unique time together more than they will remember their math lessons. Make sure relationships come first.
Managing online time.
- Support the transition to virtual learning and help students think critically about what they see online. Consider these special circumstances. Some of your rules about screen time may need to be adjusted. However, a consistent time for screens off at night will help maintain good sleep habits for a healthier immune system.