Teaching your kids at home? Here are a few easy ways to make the transition from dining table to desk

As with everyone, parents are having to adapt and change because of the current pandemic which is affecting all of us around the world. One of the biggest changes that parents are now faced with is having to become teachers as their children learn from home, while in many cases also juggling a full-time job. At Kumon Canada, we’ve compiled a list of tips that help to ease the pressure on parents and help to make teaching from home a little bit easier.

Here are 10 tips to make the transition as seamless as possible…

1. Create a process that works best for your child

All children learn differently, so find out which way works best for your child and adapt accordingly. Some children are great independent leaners, while others are better in groups. If your child works best in groups, try setting up a video group study session to allow them to connect with their school friends and work together, or allocate time for siblings to work collaboratively.

2. Set up a designated space for learning

It’s important to separate school from everyday life and by making a designated space, it means once your child is finished with school for the day, they can put everything aside. It also means that when they go to that space, they know it’s time for schoolwork and learning.

3. Make a flexible schedule for you and your child

Although a daily schedule helps to create a predictable study routine and structure, no one is expecting you to teach for seven hours a day. Aim for two to four hours a day, but don’t put any pressure on yourself if there are some days that doesn’t happen. With older children, work on the schedule together, so they feel involved in the process.

4. Remember to unplug and limit screen time

There are great learning tools online, but children don’t spend the majority of their classroom time in front of a screen. This should also be reflected in how children are learning during the pandemic. Tools such as Kumon, which is built on prepared pencil-to-paper assignments, mean that parents don’t have the pressure of trying to create worksheets for themselves.

5. Integrate pencil-to-paper learning

Pencil-to-paper learning is simply the art of using these more traditional tools to learn versus a digital source such as a computer. Many studies have proven that writing things down helps us to remember them, and the act of producing work independently from memory without the prompts provided by a keyboard forces pupils to engage with their work more closely. As a result, this helps them to commit their learning to long-term memory. It is the basis of our teaching at Kumon, where children are assigned worksheets each day which are tailored to their learning and ability, to help them progress at a rate that works for them.

6. Tailor your lesson plans

It’s important to reflect your child’s level of learning in your lesson plans. You need to make sure that the lesson is at just the right level of difficulty for your child. Don’t try and push them too much, as it will demotivate them for the task.

7. Learning happens outside of the classroom

Taking your children outdoors helps to get them moving. Learning doesn’t have to be boring or limited to desk work; the outdoors can offer plenty of learning opportunities. And getting outside and staying active can also help with concentration. Just be sure you are adhering to pandemic safety regulations set by our government and public health officials.

8. It’s OK when things aren’t perfect

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t put added pressure on yourself. If there are days when your child doesn’t achieve everything you wanted, that’s OK!

9. Use everyday moments as learning opportunities

Learning can happen while making lunch or dinner! For example, children can work on their math skills while cooking through measuring, counting and fractions. You can also get children to create their own board games to play as a family, which can help children strengthen their creativity and problem-solving skills.

10. Celebrate the victories, small or large

Children thrive on encouragement, so make sure you celebrate all the wins, even the little ones like figuring out a tough problem or a new concept on their own. This will help to keep your children motivated and foster a love for learning.                        

Lisa Kaul is the Senior Vice President at Kumon Canada