Back to Online School – Creating a Positive Home Learning Environment
Whether you are just starting online school or are an “old pro,” the beginning of a new school year is a good time for a reminder that, as Learning Coach, you help set the tone for your children’s education. As the daily presence in your home classroom, you should make sure your attitudes and actions reflect the mind-set you want your kids to absorb. Here are some back-to-school pointers, many drawn from Jon Gordon’s best-selling motivational books, The Energy Bus and The Energy Bus for Kids, to help you create an energized, can-do atmosphere that will inspire your family’s learning!
Keep it positive. Attitudes can be contagious, so evaluate yours before you enter the learning space. Take a moment to pause and set aside any self-doubt, tension, anger, and other negative “vibes” you don’t want to pass to your kids. Think about the benefits your children will gain from your daily involvement in their education, and commit to making the day a positive experience. Taking just a few seconds to switch gears can make a huge difference! Visit The Positive Pledge online for inspiration about how to create a positive attitude, plus a free pledge poster to download.
Recognize success daily. At the end of your school day, take time to ask each child individually for his or her “success of the day.” On days when your children are struggling, they may need help in identifying the day’s accomplishments, which gives you the opportunity to praise them for staying focused, making extra effort, or maintaining a positive attitude. You may also want to start keeping a success notebook so kids can record their daily accomplishments—and at the end of the school year, be sure to flip through it together so you can see how much they’ve grown!
Make your home a complaint-free zone. Discourage complaints—and the whining that often accompanies them—by requiring complainers to become part of the solution. Establish a house rule that in order to “earn” the right to make a complaint, a person (child or adult) must also provide suggestions for fixing the perceived problem. By encouraging children to brainstorm for positive solutions, you empower them to learn how to resolve issues on their own as they grow up. (And incidentally, creating—and enforcing—a whine-free zone also results in a happier Learning Coach!)
Establish positive daily goals. Help your kids stay upbeat by avoiding the “don’t” trap! Instead of nagging, “Don’t wait ’til the last minute to study for math,” or “Don’t procrastinate on your reading,” set three to five positive, specific daily goals you expect your students to accomplish. You might say, “Practice math facts for 15 minutes,” or “Read 20 pages before 3:00,” for example. By setting daily goals for each child—and communicating them clearly—you equip your kids to work toward achieving them. As kids mature, guide them in setting their own daily goals. By modeling and teaching children to meet small goals now, you lay the foundation for long-term goal-setting and success when they are adults.
Teach kids to overcome challenges. Don’t be afraid to let your children struggle or to let them try something new—and fail. Reassure kids that you believe in them, and that everyone struggles occasionally; what really matters is that they keep trying. Offer your support, guidance, and resources, but allow them to work through some problems on their own. They’ll learn that failures shouldn’t get them down and to develop qualities they’ll need throughout life, such as patience and persistence.
Remember your higher purpose. When you’re buried under a mountain of laundry or rushing from swimming lessons to soccer practice, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the positive. To renew your spirit, remind yourself of your higher purpose! Whether reviewing lessons, making lunch, scrubbing the toilet, or reminding your child (for the 15th time) to practice his or her math facts, you are contributing to your family’s well-being and helping your children grow into successful adults.
Remember, as much as we want to, parents can’t prevent difficulties from cropping up in our children’s lives! But by showing kids how to deal proactively with problems and learn from their mistakes, we can help them establish a pattern of positive thinking—and positive actions—that will serve as a foundation for a successful future.
What tried-and-true tips can you offer for creating and upholding a positive outlook in a virtual school environment? Share your most effective and uplifting ideas in the comments.