E-Learning: Tips for Teens and Parents

The COVID-19 pandemic is seeing local schools forced to close, sports seasons suspended, and college students sent home for the remainder of the spring semester. Suddenly, parents have students at home who would otherwise be in school. For many students, this fall will not look much different.

You may be worried about how to keep your child from falling behind! Here are some tips to help teens learn from home on a positive note.

Set Up a ‘School Zone’

To build good study habits, create a dedicated work area where your teen or college student has all they need to learn. Lounging on couches or beds may turn into naptime, so try to find a space with a desk or table. People who’ve spent most of their careers working from home agree they’re more productive and less likely to get distracted when they have a specific space that’s just for work.

This is also a good opportunity to find your child’s style of learning with CFNC’s Learning Style Inventory. The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and provides you with an assessment of how your child learns and works. It’s a great tool to make studying easier and more effective for your child.

Eliminate Distractions

Now that your student has a “school zone,” make sure it’s free from distractions such as televisions and video games. Teens may need their cellphones for schoolwork, but make sure they’re not wasting study time texting friends, scrolling through social media, or shopping online. Set a timer and ask your teen to study for a set period of time. When the bell rings, they can have 10 minutes to check their phone, and then it’s back to work!

Avoid distractions from other family members by making sure everyone has their own set of headphones. So, when one child needs to watch a video lecture from their teacher, the whole family doesn’t have to learn about accounting.

Create a Daily Schedule

With everyone at home, it’s easy to fall into a routine of staying up late and sleeping half of the day away. But experts say a good sleep schedule improves concentration, productivity, mental health, and more. So, while e-learning means your child can go to history class in her pajamas, she really needs to be getting a good night’s sleep first.

During the week, try to get everyone up and eating breakfast at the same time. If your teen has a class that meets at a specific time, make sure they don’t roll out of bed and turn on their computer. Taking a few minutes to eat a quick breakfast, brush their teeth, and get set up at their “school zone” will help them get the most out of their day.

Let your child have some input in the schedule. If they have online classes in the morning and want to go for a run in the afternoon, let them! Having some flexibility in the schedule is a fun distraction from being stuck at home. Don’t forget to schedule breaks for lunch and time for teens to connect with friends on video chats.

Build an Online Community

E-learning during a global health crisis is a first for all of us! It can be intimidating and stressful. Parents can create an email or text group with other parents to ask questions and support each other.

We video conference for work, why not set up a regular meeting with other parents? Share e-learning advice about what’s working in your house, and what doesn’t. (Who suggested a pottery class in the kitchen?)

Finally, go easy on yourself. This is new for everyone, and we will get through this together. CFNC has many tools to help families plan for high school, college, and beyond. For more information, visit https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/_default.aspx.