So much of our everyday lives and routine has been turned upside down thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, as parents and kids alike have found themselves on a remote learning adventure with nationwide school closures. While the move to eLearning has made our children and others safer from the virus, it has also resulted in plenty of frustration and possibly even left your kids feeling discouraged about learning.
Considering how quickly teachers and schools had to move their lessons to an online format, it’s understandable that things are running a little differently, and not without its hiccups. STEM subjects can be particularly tricky as most parents don’t have the kind of materials, knowledge, and tools necessary to make it as exciting as the teacher could. Kids are also having to learn very quickly how to work successfully as a remote student.
With all of that in mind, keeping our kids excited about learning while at home will take some extra, but simple tips and tricks.
By Luke Smith
Utilize Online Resources
The one perk to learning from home is more freedom. Considering the typical classroom size and restrictions most public school teachers have, more hands-on activities are usually far and few between. When working with just your own children though, turning STEM lessons into something fun and exciting is an easier possibility. However, the downside to learning from home is parents are also likely trying to juggle their own work and home responsibilities while still helping their children at school.
Those at Maryville University tell us that STEM education does not have to be boring or too complicated. They then go on to provide a hearty list of educational websites that can turn your children’s STEM lessons into something they look forward to doing — without you having to be constantly by their side.
As Maryville University further explains, “All sorts of STEM subjects are covered in these websites, from astronomy, ecology, and wildlife to chemistry, mathematical equations, computer coding, and design.” Turning to online resources and websites is also a great option for a variety of learners. For visual learners, there’s Bill Nye the Science Guy, and kinesthetic learners can take a stab at the fun coding options listed. Try everything and see what your kids gravitate to the most. It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing either, just a break from their usual curriculum.
Get Everyone Involved Through Team-Building Activities
If you do happen to have extra time on your hands during a remote school day, and you notice your kids being particularly unmotivated to tackle their school day, try taking a page from the business world’s book. It isn’t just kids working through this new remote work landscape, many parents and adults are also learning how to navigate this unfamiliar way of life as well. Luckily, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies were already making the switch to remote work, even if just partially. This means that there are a lot of great resources to make remote life less difficult and lonely.
One thing we lose while working from home, whether as a student or not, is the connection with other people. Oftentimes, the best part about STEM learning activities is doing things like science experiments with lab partners or a group project about the solar system. This team-building can make learning more fun and exciting. At home though, it’s a different story. When it comes to finding more ways to make this eLearning period better, try brainstorming some remote team building ideas, even taking tips from those revolving around office remote culture.
If your kids are preparing for a quiz in their math class, invite some of their classmates to participate in an online gameshow. The gameshow can include questions from their study guide and if you can, consider throwing in a small prize to the winner, to provide even more incentive to win the game. This will provide some important social and team-building time while also helping your kids study. You could set up a Two Truths, One Lie game involving biology or engineering trivia. Anything that can help orientate your kids to this new virtual classroom life while also keeping them invested in their STEM subjects can help ensure they don’t experience burnout.
Keep in the Mind the Pressures of Online Schooling
At the end of the day, keeping our kids excited about learning while also dealing with the curveball COVID-19 has thrown our way can be beyond stressful. When our kids dread their time logged on at school, it’s felt throughout the entire day. This stress can also affect your kids outside of school hours, making them more irritable, disrupt their sleeping patterns, or generally, just have them feeling blue. It’s a strange time for everyone, but finding more fun and interesting ways to make this (hopefully, temporary) transition a bit easier will help your kids find more success in their remote student life.
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