Blogger | Teacher
As Christmas break comes to a close, students are once again going back to classes. And while the year may have changed, some things remain the same – namely, the fact that many students still find themselves at home and learning online. Still unable to return to their normal in-person schedules or see their friends, some students may find themselves unmotivated and depressed about their current situation. It’s important now, more than ever, for families to find ways to keep their online students interested in school.
There are many ways to bring the joys of in-person schooling into your home, and not all solutions may work for all students. It’s important to try different things and see what works best for your family. Here are a few options for fun activities that may help keep your student excited for the semester, even from home.
1. Create a routine
One of the most frustrating aspects for students with online schooling has been the lack of consistent routine. With class schedules changing week by week and day by day, and technical issues canceling lessons altogether, it can be extremely difficult for students to keep track of their schoolwork. This stress and frustration can lead to a lack of motivation for students of all ages.
One way to combat this online-school blues is through the creation of a daily routine. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or lengthy. Maybe you make sure that every morning, you all get up a little earlier and sit down to eat breakfast together at the table. In the afternoons, you could take a walk around the neighborhood together and discuss your day. Or you might even turn on the radio to the same station every morning to hear your favorite DJ play his “Top 80s at 8” songs.
While it may not seem like much, having something consistent to look forward to daily can really help keep students on track and reduce the stress surrounding the uncertainty of their schooling. Creating a routine is just one way to keep online students interested in school.
2. Plan fun outdoor “field trips”
A major disappointment for many online students is all of the fun activities they are missing out on. Whether that’s prom, graduation, or even yearly field trips, many children lost out on some of the most exciting moments of their school year. Remember going to the science museum in fourth grade or going off to space camp in middle school? Those moments were unforgettable and have been carried with you throughout your life.
So how can we make up for these missed moments with students at home? One way is to plan personal field trips with your students! Whether it’s on a Saturday or in the middle of the week, take your student out somewhere new and let them experience a little bit of what they missed during online lessons. Whether it’s a science and history museum, an art exhibit, or maybe just to a cool city they’ve never seen before, students will appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house and go somewhere new.
If you don’t feel comfortable being indoors or around other people during the pandemic, many outdoor activities offer similar opportunities for exploration and adventure. See what your area has to offer you and what fits best with you and your family. Variety, even if it’s only doing something new once a month, can be a great way to keep students invested in their schoolwork, even while working from home.
3. Start at home clubs for your student and their friends
Social interactions are extremely important for all human beings, so losing that daily interaction can be detrimental to your student’s motivation. Looking forward to seeing their friends every day can prove to be a great way to keep students interested in school – but taking online classes doesn’t leave a lot of room for chit-chatting or getting to talk to others.
One way to combat the at-home school loneliness is to start clubs for your students and their friends! There are lots of opportunities for communicating with others online, but it can be hard to plan time into your schedule to do so. By creating clubs that meet once or twice a week, you can encourage your student to keep in touch with their friends and make time for hanging out outside of class.
Maybe the students play chess online or learn a new language together via zoom, or just watch a movie together and talk about it afterward – creating these opportunities for social interaction can be a great way to bolster their motivation and keep online students interested in school.
4. Keep active!
Students who’ve been working on the computer may find themselves feeling stagnant and tired. They are not getting the daily movement allotted to them by PE classes that prove useful for keeping children’s minds as active as their bodies. To combat this stagnation and stillness, push your children to do something active every day!
Whether that activity is a daily walk or bike ride, taking a virtual yoga class, or playing dance video games together, encouraging movement can be a great way of keeping students from feeling bogged down after staying indoors and online all day. This can also be a great way to push a daily routine and increasing serotonin levels in your students. By keeping them active, you can encourage your student to stay healthy and happy during virtual schooling.
5. Make time for art and music
Besides PE, students also missed out on many of the fun activities that come with art and music classes. While many virtual schools still offer art and music, they are usually on a weekly rotating schedule and can prove inconsistent when technological problems come into play. Not to mention, half the fun of music and art lessons had to do with the in-class experience.
To make up for this loss, parents can try to plan fun art and music activities with their students to help keep them interesting in school and their virtual art and music lessons. You could pick out paint-by-numbers to work on together or decide on a specific musician to “study” and listen to his music as a family, going over his different songs and the instruments that can be heard in each.
There are a million DIY crafts that can be found easily online, and numerous ways to incorporate music into your schedules – there’s no reason these fan-favorite classes should fall to the wayside. We must remember what we loved about these classes growing up, and continue to make them fun for our students as they experience them differently.
Going back to school looks a lot different now than it did when we were growing up. While post-Christmas school used to mean showing off all your cool clothes and presents to your friends between classes, students now are trying to make sense of virtual school and find time to talk to their friends online in the few minutes before class starts. It’s important now, more than ever, that we recognize the struggles children are facing and do our best to find new ways to keep online students interested in school and invested in learning.
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.