5 Tips to Help Your Teen Learn at Home

The shift to remote learning has been a challenge for everyone – teachers, parents and students, alike. No one has mastered it, so don’t be too hard on yourself and expect that you should have this figured out. This might be helpful advice to share with your teen too. Here are five tips to make the transition a little easier on you and your teen:

Set a routine and create a plan for success together.

It’s important that you and your teen sit down and map out a schedule and goals for learning. Make sure to get their input rather than impose a schedule on them. They are likely already feeling anxious, so this is an opportunity to give them a sense of control over something. Your teen will feel empowered and motivated when they feel they have a voice in the decision-making. Be clear that the schedule can be changed in the future as you both learn more about their school’s approach to remote learning. The environment at home is very different than school, so it may be hard for your teen to get motivated. Help your teen set up a space at home to mimic the school day. Setting up a designated area for learning will help them transition into a mindset for learning. Using a timer like the bell at school can help your teen know when to move on to a different subject or assignment. If your teen struggles with attention, try setting a timer for 15-minute increments (to start) to help them focus.

Teach your child how to be an independent learner.

Staying focused, organized and on-task are skills that are crucial to be a successful learner remotely. Look at the assignments and schedule online (if their school has switched to distance education) and show them how to create a weekly or monthly calendar for any upcoming deadlines. Discuss how they can break each project down and plan their time accordingly. The calendar is a great guide to create daily to-do lists as well. Encourage your teen to reach out to their teacher if/when they have questions versus you doing it for them.

Connect your teen with a tutor online.

If the change from parent/child to teacher/student is causing any stress or frustration, sometimes it’s best to call in a third party to support your child with their learning. As an owner of a tutoring company, we have parents call us, some even teachers themselves, who are struggling to teach their kids at home. So even though you may be an expert with the curriculum and can create super fun lessons, your teen may just simply have a hard time seeing you as anyone other than their parent. Or, as a self-conscious teen, they may not be comfortable admitting they don’t understand something to you. Connecting them to a tutor online can be a great way to bridge your teen’s switch from in-person learning to online. Not to mention take some of the pressure off you!

Pick a few resources to support your teen’s learning.

Parents can easily become inundated with homeschooling resources online. You start Googling and then suddenly find yourself with dozens of tabs open not sure which sites are reliable. It’s best to start with only a couple of resources that have been recommended to you. Talk to your child’s teacher to see which resources would best complement what they’re learning in class.

Balance is key.

Socializing and extra-curricular activities are an important part of your child’s daily life. Breaks for social media, video chatting or gaming with friends, and physical activity should all be included in your teen’s daily schedule.

Stay safe and best of luck to you and your family during these unprecedented times.

Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada. She is also the CEO & Founder of Teachers to Go which is an online tutoring company that matches students with teachers looking for support in all grades and subjects across Canada. For more information, please visit www.teacherstogo.ca.

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