Learning at Home: Tips for Parents, Caregivers and Students

We know that for many, this is a new experience and that you may have questions about how best to prepare your child and their learning environment. We’ve compiled a list of study and learning tips for parents, caregivers and students as they prepare to learn at home.

We are offering suggestions for learning opportunities for those who wish to engage. As we are all trying to navigate this time the best way we can, here are some things for families to keep in mind:

  • You do not need to replicate “school” especially if this is causing stress for you and/or your children
  • You are not teachers, you are parents – don’t put pressure on yourself
  • The well-being of you and your family is the most important factor right now
  • Learning happens everywhere – not just at a desk or table
  • Learning happens through inquiry and play – your everyday activities (cooking, laundry, etc) can be great learning opportunities
  • Focus on supporting skills that are key to children’s future success such as:
    • Creativity – using their imagination, asking questions, problem-solving, sticking with a problem;
    • Communication skills – sharing ideas, listening to others, asking questions;
    • Healthy living – physical and mental health

Set compassionate expectations

This is a new situation for everyone. Go gently into this new situation and be compassionate with yourself and with your child. You can come together and rethink limits that aren’t working. For instance, it’s okay to not be okay sometimes, and you can find new ways to be okay together.

You don’t have to be the expert

Learning with your child can help them ‘learn how to learn’ as they explain the challenges to you. They can also use social media and online chats and video to connect with other students, friends, and family for support, group work, or just to work through a problem.

Set up a flexible routine

Routines can help us feel more in control of our days, and good sleep hygiene and eating well are part of it. Don’t get too locked into a set routine, though, because flexibility allows for unexpected learning and moments of joy. Setting goals of good food, good movement, and good learning will help you keep a routine (“we do these things daily…”) that is also flexible (“…but today we do them backwards”). Think of it as a flexible framework. Experts recommend going to sleep and getting up at the same time daily, but the rest is negotiable.

Sharing resources and spaces

A flexible routine may mean setting limits on devices or activities or noise that comes from them. You can help develop healthy boundaries by coming to those limits together.

Set up a space for quiet study

Set up a dedicated space to study. A good space is well lit, uncluttered, and free of major distractions and interruptions if possible. Keeping this space separate from sleep and leisure activities will help you put school away at the end of the day, but learning happens all the time.

Physical distancing with social connections

Chatting with friends online, in a video chat, on the phone, in a game, is an important part of staying connected while physically distancing. Make sure you all have time to be filled up by friendship, however it arrives.