Published: November 11, 2020
In Canada and around the world, parents have faced unprecedented difficulties over the past eight months as they have adjusted to a world of home education and distance learning. And with cases spiking across the country, there seems to be no end in sight.
Fortunately, ordinary people are rising to the challenge and finding creative solutions to education at home. From learning pods to hybrid online-offline education, parents are working hard to ensure that their children have a home set-up that is conducive to learning.
But in order to be truly effective, home learning arrangements need to be tweaked from time to time. It is important to be responsive to the evolving needs of children — particularly young children who may not be able to articulate frustrations with their learning environment in a straightforward way.
To this end, this article will provide a few points to help you figure out whether your home learning set-up is working or not, with some recommendations for giving your children the support that will help them focus at home throughout the coming academic year.
Home Learning Problems: How to Spot the Warning Signs
Even in the early days of the pandemic, it was clear that some students were coping better than others. Every child is different, and in a single family there can be wildly divergent responses to learning from home.
But if a child is struggling to keep up, or isn’t being sufficiently stimulated, or is simply bored of the material, there are generally a few consistent signs that learning isn’t happening. Here are some of the most common:
- Non-Attendance: as the pandemic rolls on, a growing number of students are failing to show up for their classes or submit homework. While truancy is often talked about as a disciplinary issue (and can simply reflect a desire to avoid schoolwork), it can also be a sign that kids are in over their heads and feel unable to keep up.
- Acting Out: Kids act out in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons, but researchers who study learning have found that children having a hard time in school often express it in roundabout ways, through aggression or attention-seeking behaviours.
- Listlessness: It’s easy to get into a rut when many of the leisure activities children rely on under normal circumstances are no longer available, but this is often exacerbated when kids are also facing an intellectual block of some kind.
- Spending too Much Time on Homework: It might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes an overly assiduous attitude toward homework can actually be a sign of trouble, especially if this represents a departure from previous patterns of behaviour. If your child is spending hours a day on school-related tasks, this may be because they are completely overwhelmed.
Even under normal circumstances, it can be hard to tell the difference between ordinary frustrations with school and actual learning issues. But if your child is exhibiting any of these four behaviours, you may want to get in touch with their teacher for a second opinion.
How Tutoring can Help
One of the challenges of dealing with learning difficulties under the present conditions is that resources are already spread very thin.
On top of planning and teaching classes, teachers are in many cases responsible for ensuring a safe classroom environment and may have underlying conditions that keep them from being able to fully participate in school life during the pandemic. Teaching and support staff, already stretched thin before the pandemic, are not always in a position to offer extra help.
Unfortunately, in order to engage in effective learning, children really do need at least some one-on-one support from educators who can explain difficult concepts and provide the kind of nuanced feedback they need to make real progress.
For this reason, this might be the time to find your local tutor for subjects like Math, Science, French, and English so your children are able to get supplementary, personalized lessons that will complement what they are learning in the regular curriculum.
Instead of hoping it will all blow over so things can go back to normal soon, it only makes sense to start adapting to this reality now. With no end to the pandemic yet in sight, some education experts are advising that a mix of distanced learning and tutoring may be the future of homeschooling for all children.
Prep Academy Tutors is working hard to connect skilled tutors with children who need one-on-one or small group learning support during the pandemic, so look into the options available in your city for professional online and in-home tutors to see what kind of support may be available for your family.
Even at the best of times, kids struggle to keep up with their lessons and fall behind at times. To some extent this is simply normal for children of all ages, and shouldn’t be stigmatized. But for some children, the pandemic has created a perfect storm of isolation and anxiety that is only compounded by the difficulty of adapting to new learning styles, and in such situations an intervention may be necessary.
Evaluating the effectiveness of your learning plan, and adjusting it based on changing circumstances, is essential if you want to help your children make the best of this difficult time.
In some cases, bringing in added support in the form of tutoring may be one way to provide them with extra educational support. If you are interested in knowing more about how to find out about what tutoring services are available in your area, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today.