The ability to learn and work online could shape your child’s future. Online learning has become the norm for families in 2020 and, in a national poll, 40% of families said they are more likely to homeschool after the lockdown ends. Twitter, and we expect other companies to follow, just announced a permanent work from home policy. With work and school moving online, your child needs to be prepared to learn and work online. 

Most of us were taught in a typical classroom setting. Learning online has different challenges than learning in person. Not only are there more barriers because most of your child’s current curriculum was not made for online learning and delivery, but we are also delving into new systems. So, how can you help your child do something you’ve never done? 

Luckily, online learning is a CodeWizardsHQ specialty since it’s how we’ve always taught our students to code. Online learning can be highly successful with the right motivation and tools. We’ve developed a structured curriculum and a proprietary platform that allows us to deliver the most fun and effective coding classes possible, and we want every class to be like that for your child. 

After 6 years of teaching online, we’ve learned a thing or two. Most of the time, it was the hard way, but we’re better for it. We know you can make learning and working online a great experience for your kids and set them up for a successful future. As parents, you can learn from our mistakes and use these seven pro tips to help your children learn online successfully. 

1 – Teach your child basic computing skills

Especially for younger children, basic computing skills are essential. Giving your child a how-to before they start their online class or activity can give them the confidence to focus on the subject at hand. 

Basic computing skills for kids include:

  1. operating the mouse and how to select, cut, copy, and paste
  2. using the keyboard and how to type
  3. navigating to a website and switching between sites or tabs
  4. using and switching between computer programs
  5. turning the camera and microphone on and off
  6. how to login to the account or platform they will be using 

We’ve been teaching on Zoom for the last 6 years and even the youngest children, at age 8, are able to navigate Zoom once they’ve been shown how to navigate the application. Most kids will pick up on these skills quickly. Then, it’s all about the fun and the learning!

2 – Use the Right Tools for the Job

Start with the right tools for your online class or activity. If you need headphones or a microphone, make sure those are set up correctly.

Your child also needs to be able to see, hear, and interact with the content being delivered. If you are, for example, using an iPad for a program meant for a desktop, students may not be able to see the teacher’s slides on such a small screen. Your child’s learning experience can be affected by not having the right tools for the job. Just like adults at work!  

Your child can learn to code from home.
Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

3 – Fix technological issues ASAP

Technological issues can easily cause kids to be frustrated. Adults too, right? When kids are stressed, they’re much more likely to give up on learning altogether. 

Technology and distance create an additional barrier to learning. Each student is using a different operating system, different browsers, and different versions of the browser. Not all online software works seamlessly together. So, expect and fix technical issues prior the classes starting.

Do a test run of new systems and logins before your child uses them for the first time to minimize technological issues. Have a backup plan if your technology fails. You have to take on the roll of IT support while your child participates in distance learning. 

4 – Limit distractions

It’s not your child’s fault they’re distracted. With everything going on in real life, it can be hard to focus their attention on the computer screen. Did the cat just run by? Maybe a cartwheel sounds good right now!

If the teacher, video, or lesson isn’t engaging, children will lose focus much more easily when learning online. 

You can support their learning by creating a quiet, chaos-free environment. Let your child actively engage in class, instead of having to mute and unmute or worry about noise and distractions. Since it’s more difficult for teachers to see all students and give one-on-one attention online, your child has a bigger responsibility to focus and ask questions. Encourage them to actively participate and speak up. This will greatly improve their experience. 

5 – Fuel connections and relationships online

In our group classes, students have cited making new friends as one of their favorite things about class. Many of them ask to stay in class together and it’s what they continue to take class for. 

Encourage your child to build connections with teachers and classmates. This can mean setting up online playdates like gaming together or video chats. Many of our students are having online parties and hangouts with friends and getting to know each other that way. Just because they’re not in the same room doesn’t mean they can’t have fun together and share their interests.

Seeing classmates as friends versus boxes on a screen will help make class fun and something your child looks forward to. 

Your child can learn to code from home.
Try our live, online coding classes for kids risk-free.

6 – Stay Involved from start to finish

Learning online is a great opportunity for you to learn along with your child. We always recommend sitting with your child for the first 15-20 minutes of a new online class or activity. It helps you understand the platform and format of the class and troubleshoot if needed.

Give your child that extra push to stay engaged. Your child wants to spend time with you and learning together is a shared experience that benefits everyone. 

It’s also important to track your child’s progress. Distance learning may involve more self-study. Is your child actually learning? For our students, we provide weekly progress reports on homework and quizzes. If your program doesn’t provide regular updates, like your report cards in school, make sure you schedule time to ask your child and their teachers. That way, you can provide the right motivation and support when needed.

7 – Set rules and create structure

Online learning can easily turn into playtime. Be clear about expectations for your child’s online learning. Make a schedule for their assignments. Help your child organize their work. You can use computer software and online calendars or a big piece of posterboard on the wall. Whatever your style is. This can help students stay in a school mindset, from home, during specific hours of the day.

We create structure in our curriculum through homework and quizzes. You can build in this structure by setting specific school hours and adding due dates to assignments. 

As a bonus, here are some of our favorite tips from moms and teachers in our Facebook group:

“Consistency, students knowing ahead of time what we are doing, knowing your students, have fun and relax” – Jacki A

“A weekly breakdown of assignments. What’s expected for each day … I like things organized so I can check them off as they do it. It made it a bit easier to work with two kids in two different grades. ” – Jennie P

“Mandatory attendance … Google Classroom or other such LMS to track assignments. Clear due dates and expectations. Dependable internet access. Dependable computer device to complete work.” – Deb B

“More actual live connections. My kiddos school does lots of videos they can watch, but I really love when there are actual live zooms. For parents, a check in by the teacher would be awesome … My son has a 504 plan for ADHD, so I would love to feel like that was better supported/checked in on.” – Megan B

“Not having so many sites to log into. I hate that my first grader has probably 8 or 9 different sites we have to go to in order to complete her work.” – Monica L

Share Your Secrets to Success for Teaching Kids Online

As one of the first companies to teach coding to kids online, we are excited that so many businesses and families are seeing the benefits of online education. Kids are able to learn and play, and there’s nothing more important than that. 

If your child has a passion for websites and games, consider our elementarymiddleor high school online coding programs. We’ll show you how we make learning online fun and successful.

Do you have any tips for teaching your kids online? Email us to be included above.