Learning Coach Secrets: Dos and Don’ts of Virtual School with Young Children

4 min to read
Tips for Leanring at Home with Young Children

Starting out as a Learning Coach for an elementary school student can seem a bit overwhelming, particularly if you have preschoolers at home. But it can be done--and done successfully! 

Here are some tips from Learning Coaches at Connections Academy, who balance online learning for young learners with other responsibilities, including having preschoolers at home.

How to Engage Young Students in Online Learning

As a Learning Coach, it’s important to get familiar with the dos and don’ts of online learning to help your student have a successful school year.

For new—and experienced—Learning Coaches, it’s important to know how to engage young students in online learning. Young children have shorter attention spans and can experience distractions from schoolwork. However, there are helpful tips and resources to help with online learning for young learners. 

Dos and Don’ts of Online Learning

Experienced Learning Coach, Alyssa Erickson, says that virtual school is a great way to enjoy time with your children, while making sure they’re learning. She offers these pointers for helping your little scholar succeed while keeping younger siblings content:

Do practice computer skills before school begins.

Children in early grades will have a smoother start in virtual learning if they have fundamental computer skills. Find some fun and educational online learning games where your little one can have fun while preparing for online school. By practicing using a mouse, scrolling, clicking, and using pull-down navigation menus, your child can get a head start on learning the technology they’ll need in school.

Don’t try to maintain a separate “classroom.”

Placing your student in a quiet school area, away from the sounds and sights of frolicking preschoolers sounds good, doesn’t it? In reality, this quickly becomes unmanageable for the Learning Coach, who must hop back and forth between the “classroom” and the “play” room. In addition, having your student try to complete their schoolwork in different locations throughout the day may actually improve focus and productivity.

Do pick a central location for doing schoolwork.

Find a space in your home where all of you can coexist. You’ll need a work surface for school—and room for preschoolers to spread out. For some families, the kitchen table becomes the classroom; others choose the family room or another area with ample space.

Don’t save school for a sibling’s “nap time.”

Many parents want strategies for how to do online elementary school while younger siblings are at home. But trying to squeeze in school for a big brother or big sister when a younger child is napping could end up frustrating everyone involved. By afternoon, your student may be tired, too—and feeling rushed tends to make both Learning Coaches and children cranky!

Do set a routine.

Your schedule doesn’t have to imitate the traditional school day, but establishing a routine is important for children. Try starting with a standard plan, but feel free to adjust and customize until you find an agenda that fits your family’s needs.

Don’t schedule challenging tasks at the end of the day.

Tackle the longest lessons and the subjects your child finds most difficult early in the day, while you’re both fresh. This will give your afternoons a little more flexibility when dips in energy can occur.

Do plan self-directed activities for younger siblings.

Plan a few quiet and engaging activities for younger siblings to do while you and your student work on lessons. Puzzles, LEGOs, and simple arts and crafts projects work well.

Do print out worksheets to complete offline.

Divide up longer lessons by doing worksheets separately. This will give your student a break from the computer, plus the opportunity to work in a different location. You can even find fun and educational printables and learning activities for younger kids, too.

Despite the challenges, educating your children at home can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. When it comes to online learning with young learners, be sure to make the most of your time together

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