As the public school system still remains in remote learning protocols, our children stay at home and can fall into ruts with their routines. As guardians watching over them and making sure students are keeping their yearning for learning alive, we have to help them keep their momentum in their school work. Here’s 3 ways we can keep curiosity alive.
Rewards Mean Everything
We’ve talked about this before. Students respond to visual cues and rewards while working. This keeps them motivated. Now this doesn’t mean to go out and spend money on them every time they have some work that needs to get done. That would be way too expensive. The key is to let the student have a feeling of accomplishment in what they are doing. Use a calendar or a whiteboard to show what they have to get done and what they have already done. This will let them see exactly where their progress is and ease their studying time. This in turn will let the student feel as if they are in control of their mind and feel accomplished that they are getting everything done.
Another kind of reward that you can give students is the ability to openly explore what they are learning. One of the best parts about remote learning is that if students are not understanding something, they have the ability to explore other avenues in understanding that same topic. Not just through their school work. Doing this will build upon and expand on what they are learning by forming a natural connection. For example, if they’re learning about the solar system, let them stay up late on a weekend night and use an astronomy app to map the night sky. This is going to actively reinforce what they are learning and still occupy their brains with a relaxation period where they are absorbing knowledge without working hard to obtain it.
Stir It Up / Change It Up
A change of scenery can make or break the understanding of certain topics for students. As adults, you experience this all the time. You may need something to be explained a little bit differently for you to understand it. Well, it’s not exactly too different of a case for children. They just need help from adults to change up how they are learning something. If a student feels that reading a book is too “boring”, explore an audiobook option or make the reading time into a read-aloud time. Get them doing the same activity in a different manner.
If you have some control over when they do the work, break things up a little. Let them get everything that they can get done before lunch, and take the rest of the day easy. Make deals like this with your students to get them excited to work fast. Of course, during the times that students are engaged in online school, there’s no point in changing or breaking up the schedule. However, when they are working on their own time on assignments, give them small breaks and change how much they have to get done in a day. Don’t pile everything on at the same time. Change up how much time they give to one activity.
Stay Positive and Realistic
Let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has off-days. Yes, as guardians you always want good grades and the utmost in productivity out of your students. But be realistic here, how much work can you (yourself) do before you need to take some time off? The answer to that question is rhetorical. Everyone burns out and everyone needs to take breaks to refresh themselves. It is unrealistic to always expect perfection from students. They won’t learn if they are not making mistakes. School prepares students for the real world and the real world is littered with small setbacks and stumbling blocks. As guardians, you have to keep students positive when they have setbacks and encourage them to keep going. As long as they are trying their hardest and doing their best work, they will be okay. We can’t always be number one, and acknowledging effort can be more important than rewarding the results.