Parental Guidance: Use This Time To Teach Kids Non-Textbook Learning

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While online learning has its benefits, increased use of this mode of learning might not provide us with the results that we were looking for. So how can we support our kids’ education and enable them to thrive when it comes to learning?

To balance their studies and leisure time, teenagers must follow a certain kind of routine.

Most parents today face the dilemma of whether or not they should be sending their children to school. Even though many schools in India have not opened up, there are several others, especially boarding schools, that are calling back students who will be sitting for their board examinations this year. Schools have also given the remaining students an option to return to school in small batches. However, very few parents are choosing to send their children back to school, and understandably so.

Both the government and parents are treading with caution with regard to opening up schools because, at present, we do have sufficient data about the risks involved. According to the information provided by the World Health Organisation, kids below the age of 18 years only comprise around 8.5% of the total number of reported cases. Additionally, it has been found that for children belonging to this age group, there have been comparatively fewer deaths. But that being said, there have also been reports of severe cases (1).

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The problem is that even though children may have mild symptoms of coronavirus, there is no way to ascertain there will be no person-to-person transmission. This can be a grave concern, especially if there are elderly members in the family.

Moreover, kids who are under 18 do not even fall under the list of people who are being prioritized for vaccination. Thus, it is only reasonable to act with caution and try and go for a blended learning approach if that can be done. Such hybrid learning experiences require kids to attend school in small batches, only for a few days in a week, and the rest of their education continues online.

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But here’s the thing, while online education has been a boon in these unprecedented times, one can also make the case that it is quite easy to get distracted or zone out in this setting. This method of learning can be especially damaging for older kids as they may have access to social media sites and online television even while they are studying, which leads to decreased concentration. Now that the pandemic has been around for a while, kids have also become slightly more laid back regarding their exams and school work.

To add to that, there are some downsides to online learning that need our attention. Many children are finding it difficult to study in this format because classes tend to get banal over some time. The quality of student engagement and class participation has also been severely affected. Hence, a lot of kids find it difficult to pay attention in class. Therefore online education is unable to tap into the full potential of young learners.

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Another concern is that the course work and class recordings are at the student’s disposal. This extreme flexibility means that kids just don’t get to it. What can we do to make this year of online education a little more fruitful? Should we take away their devices during their class timing? Or maybe we could take this opportunity to inculcate the life skills of being self-motivated and disciplined even during difficult times.

When the time comes, our children will need to grow up into individuals who know how to strike a balance in life between work and leisure. So we need to ensure that they build a strong foundation for a healthy and responsible lifestyle. Otherwise, as adults, they will have a hard time sticking to deadlines, managing multiple tasks simultaneously, and taking time for themselves.

There’s only so much that we can do about the circumstances we’re in, but what is certainly in our hands is how we choose to organize our life in those circumstances. This is a great opportunity for us to help our children develop certain essential skills they will need later in life. One of them being, they should make a schedule and follow a routine for studying, exercising, sleeping, and meals. Having a proper routine can keep us grounded in times of crisis. And this is a great way to ensure that our children are ready to face problems that life throws their way.