One of the best ways for anyone to learn is to teach someone else. This is not confined to the current circumstance, but parents can always help by allowing their child to “teach” them some part of the course. The more the audience questions, the better the explanation needs to be so any lack of expertise in a subject is actually a benefit rather than a hindrance. The simplest of questions are usually the best: “So where does this lead?”, “What other evidence supports this?”, “Who / what else is involved in this part?”, “How does this idea build upon your previous learning?”
Clothing does make a difference! Whether adult or child, the clothes we wear and where we do our work can set the right mental tone (or wrong one). We can be more productive (and so finish the tasks more quickly and with better outcomes) if we dress as if we are to go out, sit with an appropriate posture, avoid distractions such as personal items and hobbies. The ideal situation is to create a physical and mental bubble that isolates you from the relaxed, home environment. Dress appropriately, go there for specific times and leave that space when having a break. At the end of the day, change location and clothing to demonstrate that you have now finished working and can relax.
Asynchronous tasks are where the teacher and student are working at different times.
Shifts in motivation are a very natural part of human nature and a natural development of your child as a learner. The first action is for the student to acknowledge they have a motivation issue and talk to their teacher about strategies. Parents can help a great deal by sharing their approaches to getting tasks completed (particularly the ones that may not be as interesting as others). Finally, as with all motivation, building in a reward structure can help. As the problem is mental fatigue and disengagement, the reward needs to stimulate those parts of the brain (so not a food treat or physical item). The best sort of rewards for getting work done are: feeling good about the finished product (so sharing the success with a parent or peer); telling someone else what was found or learnt; changing activities totally to give the brain a break.
In a normal school day, homework can be useful to promote independent learning. It also allows the student to work at his or her own pace. Our current program is a mixture of synchronous (teacher and student working together at the same time) sessions with the teacher in a web conference and asynchronous (teacher and student working at different times) tasks where the student can work at a time and pace that suits them. Thus, we already have a rich program that provides the benefits of homework within the off-campus structure. Students should not feel pressured to do even more asynchronous tasks but should also feel free to extend that time if they’d like to work a bit more slowly and think a bit more deeply.
A routine is essential (so get up at the same time each day, change into clothes suitable for going out, have meals at the same times each day). Build exercise into each day. Get plenty of sleep.
Try breaking the task up into smaller chunks. Make a plan of action and when you finish one part, take a break. Do the more creative parts earlier when you are feeling fresh. The more routine, processing parts, can be done a bit later in the day. At the end of the task, take the time to read through and check to see that everything fits well and answers the question that was asked.
It can be harder to quickly catch up with your teacher, so when you do, you need to cover all the problems you have had. Make a list!
When you get to something you don’t understand, think about it for a few minutes, try and find an answer online or in your textbook.
If those don’t help, add the item to your list and move on to some other question. Then, when you contact your teacher, share the whole list of problems and you’ll be able to sort things out quite quickly.
There will be wide variety of tasks used by your teachers to find out what you have learnt. Some of the normal tools won’t be as applicable online and so it is more important than ever that you let your teacher know if there are things you don’t understand.
When you have a quiz or worksheet to do, take the task seriously as these will be used to determine the pace and sequence of the course.