not just surviving with at-home learning.
This pandemic has really exposed some issues regarding independent learning at home. Strange as it may seem, during this time of family isolation, this could actually be used as an opportunity for parents and caregivers to coach some essential skills at home alongside their children.
There are really two components to Learning, the WHAT, and the HOW. Traditionally, education has focused on “WHAT” needs to be learned - this is the course content in biology, social studies, and math. However, the “HOW” of learning is just as important SO skills like time management, organization, and prioritization, become even more essential in this new learning environment.
Since the closure of schools, some students (and their parents) are discovering that their self-management skills (these skills are referred to as executive functioning) may still be in need of development. Before the pandemic, the assumption may have been that a student had these self-management skills already in place but NOW, parents, in particular, are realizing that this may not be the case.
We also know that students who have Attention Deficit Disorder often struggle significantly with executive functioning skills and the development of these skills can be delayed as compared to their same-aged peers.
BUT the cool thing is, these are learned skills. Just like riding a bike or learning to read. These skills need to be explicitly taught, coached, and practiced over time, until the brain has fully matured, somewhere around 20 ish’ years of age.
We recommend families sitting down every Sunday and develop a schedule together for the up and coming week. This provides predictability and comfort for children.
This is the time students would normally have between classes on a typical school day. This time allows the brain to digest what just happened in the previous class and then prepare for the next focused activity. Transitions at home can be: grab a glass of water, soak up a few rays of sunshine, have a healthy snack…
It is important to maintain high expectations and standards, but the overall goal may not necessarily be results-driven by grades. Instead, it may be more important to focus on healthy learning habits. A big help is having an accountability buddy who can help the student reach their goals and keep them on track.
What we know about healthy relationships is that they can work magic in fostering independence, confidence, and competence in developing self-management skills.
TRAINING for DEVELOPING BRAINS
BE MINDFUL that the previous 4 points are all helping to train the brain and building your child’s confidence in managing their own learning. It has been widely suggested in research that children need to experience productive struggle. They need to see their current obstacles as opportunities to develop their ‘resiliency muscles’. This will actually make their brains stronger.