What Are the Consequences of a Year of Online Learning?

In 2020, COVID-19 forced nationwide school closures, compelling children to access education via remote learning. This had serious consequences for some students. Others, however, have learned to thrive in this atmosphere. 

We’ll take a look at the impact of online learning during the lockdown. Then we’ll discover some ways parents can help their students mitigate the problems it presents.

The Consequences of a Year of Online Learning 

Children were meant to play with their peers and get outside. But once the pandemic hit, the lockdown forced students to remain at home for their education. Online learning saved the school year but impacted the physical and mental health of students. Once stuck inside, kids were online for longer periods. This increased their risk for health issues like obesity, related diseases, sleep disruptions, and eye strain. 

Isolation also hurts their mental health. Some students struggled with ADHD, depression, and other mental challenges associated with screen time and lack of peer interaction.

Specific student groups had additional challenges:

  • Younger students cannot pay attention to screens for long periods of time. Their schoolwork suffered. Plus, growing children missed critical peer interaction necessary for development in these early years.
  • Students with special needs also struggled. Some cannot focus on a screen or work independently. Others require in-person instruction; for example, hand-over-hand guidance.

In addition to this, parents working full-time often could not provide the support required by these students.

What can be done to remedy these challenges before another lockdown strikes?

How to Help Students Meet Remote Learning Challenges

Parents and teachers can work together to help students overcome these remote learning challenges. If your child is struggling with school online, the first thing to do is discover the root of the issue. Here are some strategies you can use:

Health Testing

Depending on the issue, you may want to take your child for formal testing. For example, students struggling to focus may have ADHD or they may need prescription glasses. This will help you rule out problems that can be more easily solved.

Assess Your Child’s Learning Style

Not every student learns the same way. When your child is learning from home, you’ll have to figure out the best way to approach his online education. 

For example, some students are visual learners. Some do better by taking notes. Others need to hear the subject matter. Take note of what works best for your child.

Work With Your Child’s Teachers

The best thing to do is to talk with your child’s teachers about their learning habits. They may be trained in different learning styles. Ask them how they have supported your child when remote learning was used in the classroom. They may have tools and tips that can help them at home.

Get Support in the Home

You can also get additional support for your student. Tutors and other types of aides can work alongside him to direct his attention. If your child has an IEP or 504 plan in place, he may qualify for behavioral support or other in-home providers to get him through the school day.

Supportive Education Apps

Another good idea is to find educational apps with supportive features to help your child in their studies. Be sure to look for apps that have interactive sessions, live tutorials, and testing features. It’s also wise to find an app with the capability to take attendance so that you can track your child’s logins.

These ideas help organize your child’s remote learning time. Equally important, though, is teaching them to manage their time properly.  

Time Management for Better Health

It’s not realistic to have students spending the same amount of time on remote learning as they spent in the classroom. At school, days are broken up with peer engagement, changing classes, lunch and recess, gym activities, and other school assemblies. You should do the same at home.

The best approach is to teach your child to manage his time. This will help him find that essential balance between work, movement, and relaxation that is vital for good health. 

Some activities you can do with your child even in times of lockdown include:

  • Game breaks. We recommend board or card games to take a break from screens.
  • Life skills. There’s nothing wrong with assigning chores but try to make it fun or empowering. Kids feel independent when they get to do their own laundry or cook for the family.
  • Get outside. You can give your kids their own “recess” time in your yard if you have one, or by walking or biking. Or pick up some sidewalk chalk and let your child create art outdoors.
  • Nature walks. Nature has been proven to improve your health. Research shows that it improves brain function, physical health, mood, self-esteem, and more. You can even include science lessons at a local park!

A year of remote learning has had a tough impact on students around the country. These steps reduce the negative impact of online education so you can have a happy, healthy, thriving student.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash