Why Your Child May Struggle with Remote Learning and How You Might be Able to Help

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Why Your Child May Struggle with Remote Learning and How You Might be Able to Help

Remote learning is here to stay. Most schools use it at least some of the time. Maybe your district has a system for pivoting into remote studies during inclement weather. Maybe they are actively trying to hybridize certain aspects of the curriculum to put an even bigger emphasis on remote learning. 

While many people enjoy the flexibility that e-learning provides, there is no denying that some people struggle with it. Why?

In this article, we look at a few common barriers to learning that remote education can create. We will also look at how you can help your child overcome those barriers. Read on to learn more!

Remote Work is Often Self-Guided

Often, though not always, remote learning requires the student to do work independently. The teacher may pre-record a lecture, or even direct the student toward a digital learning module that they complete on their own. 

Not every school-aged child is self-motivated enough rise to that challenge. 

Your House has More Distractions

Schools are optimized to be distraction-free. Your home probably is not. It can be hard for a student to commit to studying or listening to a pre-recorded lecture in the same room where they keep their Xbox. 

Homes are also where life happens. Maybe there is a baby crying in the background. Maybe you are taking work calls or running the vacuum. These distractions may not feel like a big deal but they can break concentration and make it much harder for your child to get things done. 

Teachers Can’t Monitor Student Performance as Effectively

This issue is not your fault—nor is it the teacher’s. Remote learning environments simply do not allow for the same level of supervision that is inherent to classroom learning. Even in situations where the teacher is using live lectures and video conferencing software, there are small differences that add up. 

In the classroom, teachers look at body language to determine how engaged the students are with the lecture. That’s not always possible online. Many kids rightly keep their screens black—they don’t necessarily want their friends or teachers seeing their homes. 

Even students who do use the video feature aren’t showing up with life-like definition for the teacher. They are one of thirty small squares on a screen. 

It is much easier for a student who is struggling to slip through the crack online than it is in-person. 

They Lack Supervision

Schools are intensely supervised environments. From hall monitors to teachers and paraprofessionals, there is someone there to witness virtually every step the students take. This isn’t by accident. It takes a lot of people to get children to focus for seven hours a day. 

That degree of supervision is hard to replicate at home. Maybe you have other kids dividing your attention. Maybe you have a job and can’t stay home with your child at all. 

It’s not your fault—but it can be a barrier to learning. Your child may need extra help and attention that they just can’t get at home. 

Cultural Barriers

Minority families often find that school materials do not adequately reflect their background. This can take the form of language choices, or even the images used in posters/websites/educational materials. 

When every learning example is framed around blonde-haired, blue-eyed children named “Sally and Johnny,” it can feel exclusionary. 

Schools are getting better at using materials that reflect the entire student body’s background. However, progress is slow and often incomprehensive. 

Though kids generally don’t refuse to work with materials that don’t reflect their experiences, they may not engage as completely with them. This lack of engagement can have a significant impact on learning outcomes over time. 

Many schools are now implementing DEI boards to help make sure all students feel seen and included.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion boards review school policies, procedures, and trainings, and make tailored recommendations to ensure that the learning environment is optimized for everyone attending the school. 

If your school does not have one, consider contacting the district superintendent. You may find that they are very receptive to the idea of starting one. 

Remote Learning Represents an Abrupt Change of Circumstances

Don’t discount the fact that the conditions contributing to a remote learning scenario can also negatively impact its effectiveness. Generally, remote learning is applied when a situation has emerged very abruptly. It could be a snow day. It could be a viral outbreak. 

Regardless, the student is not prepared for the pivot. This can make it hard for them to fully commit—particularly when they know they will be back in the classroom in the next few days. 

Remote Learning Simply Isn’t for Everyone

Everyone learns differently. Remote learning simply isn’t a natural fit for every student. Even those who do well with it may very well benefit more from the structured environment of a classroom setting. 

If your child is struggling with remote learning in a way that doesn’t fall neatly into any of the aforementioned categories, it may be because the online curriculum is not addressing their specific learning style. 

What You Can Do

Parents often feel helpless when they see their children struggle with school. While administering your child’s education is ultimately someone else’s responsibility, there are things you can do to make the process more effective. 

  • Create a controlled learning environment. Try to set your child up with a space that is as free from distraction as possible. Even if this means putting them at the kitchen table with a stack of books and computer—it will be better than putting them in a room where they usually pursue leisure activities. You may also consider implementing parental controls on gaming or social media sites that might distract them. It’s also important to keep the space as quiet as possible. Give your child space to learn. Postpone noisy activities that can wait until after school.
  • Communicate with your child. Ask them what they are struggling with. Ultimately, there is no better way to identify their pain points. Some kids are better at communicating than others. You’ll get far with patience and active listening. 
  • Communicate with their teachers. No one wants to make a nuisance of themselves. Good news? Most teachers love hearing from parents. They want your kid to succeed almost as much as you do. Help them make that happen. 

Parent involvement has a MAJOR influence on academic outcomes. The fact that you are actively engaging with this problem will benefit your child. Be persistent and keep your head up. 

Conclusion

If your child is struggling with remote learning, they aren’t alone. Remember: the broad use of remote learning as a concept is very new. While correspondence studies have existed in the college setting for many years, the idea of taking ten-year-olds and asking them to learn from a laptop has only really existed for four years. Many kids struggle with it. 

Your commitment to offering help and support will make a difference. Communicate with your child. Find out what they need and advocate for them as best you can. Ultimately, that’s the best thing any parent can do for their struggling child. 

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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