Keep Kids Focused on Studying through the Winter
Between the excitement of starting school in September and ending school for summer break in June lies the long slog of winter months. Perhaps these months feel so long because the sun sets earlier and, in many parts of the country, the weather is less hospitable for outside activities.
So, how do you keep your student focused on studying when the winter blues set in?
- Participate in a club or extracurricular activity.
If you haven’t already signed up for an activity, now is the time. Not only will it give your student the opportunity to engage his or her mind in a different way, but also clubs and activities allow for more socialization and knowledge sharing. Many students participate in coding challenges, writers’ groups, or online chess tournaments. These activities can all be part of your strategy to keep your child motivated because they give your student something to look forward to after a day of coursework.
- Connect with other students.
Don’t isolate yourselves in your home. Online students have the opportunity to go on field trips and meet in person to enhance their school experience. You can use trips to museums, national landmarks, or live theaters; factory tours; or symphonies to break up the days and add excitement to your student’s studies. If you are planning an activity on your own, look for how your idea for an outing will align with the curriculum, and plan accordingly.
- Ditch distractions by denying devices.
Computers, tablets, and phones all have a place in our lives and even in educational programming. But when your phone sends alerts, rings, or vibrates in the middle of a lesson, it can be very distracting. To really focus on learning, set aside unneeded devices or set them to airplane mode. Since being online is vital to your child’s schoolwork, take the extra precaution to make sure that the online classroom is the only browser window open during learning time.
- Concentrate on coursework in short bursts.
If you are coaching an elementary-aged student or a student with attention issues, you will need a strategy to help your student manage the time he or she spends doing schoolwork. Like a muscle, the brain needs some training to be able to sit for long stretches reading, solving equations, or writing a report. So, set a timer for a short and focused ten minutes of uninterrupted work. Then, when ten minutes seems too easy, increase the focused work time, giving short movement breaks in between focused work. Check out this list of awesome visual timers.
- Prescribe PE for your child’s brainpower.
Go on. Unplug to recharge your batteries, especially if it involves getting your student to add physical activity to the schedule. If the weather is keeping you inside, stream a yoga video, set up an indoor parkour course, or play your favorite tunes and go gaga and just dance! Not only will your child get exercise, but also his mood will improve, brain cells will start firing, and maybe he will be better prepared to tackle an afternoon’s work with increased energy and focus.
- Shake up the schedule.
One of the greatest benefits of online school is the flexibility it gives students to shape the daily schedule. While coursework has to take place within a certain time frame, families have the option of switching the day around. If your student wants to tackle algebra first on Monday but last on Tuesday, that is no problem. By shaking up the schedule, you may be helping to break up some of the doldrums of a stale routine. Online school gives you the power to make those on-the-fly decisions to make school work best for your child.
The winter months may require more focused time from the Learning Coach as well, checking comprehension, making sure assignments have been completed, and following up with teachers to keep your child on track. But winter also presents a great learning opportunity for your child to become more independent. As you incorporate these winter learning tips into your child’s days, your child will be learning strategies to implement now and into the future.