Long before the corona virus outbreak, e-learning had always been available but for lots of parents in Africa, where I live, we had relied heavily on traditional schools and partly paid attention to e-learning opportunities for our kids. Personally, I had simply downloaded a few educational apps for my kids and that was that! But with the corona virus pandemic leading to global lock-down, schools were shut down and e-learning began. In Nigeria, our case is quite unique because we have a high proliferation of private schools offering various curriculum while the government simply plays the role of monitoring. What this means for us is that education in Nigeria is not balanced and very expensive. There is a high disparity between private owned schools and public schools as public schools in Nigeria are under-funded and poorly equipped, adding to the disparity in quality of education being offered. So comes the corona virus outbreak and while private owned schools are launching e-learning and taking advantage of Zoom classes and Google Classroom, amongst others, public schools were cut off from e-learning. To fill the gap, the government started tutorials on television and radio stations across the nation. So when I talk about e-learning in this post, I am referring to pupils in urban Nigeria.
So while parents are trying to make head of the corona virus pandemic, they also have to grapple with e-learning for their kids, which is tough by-the-way, coming from a country where we do not home-school our kids. To cope with the challenges to having our kids ready and eager to learn online, we had to provide computer devices for them and have internet access, which is not cheap down here and after that, we have to work really hard to get the kids involved and be interested in learning online. But the key to e-learning for kids is time management.
Time management is so essential to e-learning because you could spend an entire day lost in the fluster of home-schooling that your kids can miss out on actual learning so you have to be strategic, purposeful and deliberate with your time. Here are some tips on how to manage your time effectively for your benefit and that of your kids:
- PREPARE AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR E-LEARNING: Start by providing comfortable work stations for your kids. Don’t encourage learning on the bed or learning done haphazardly; rather have a designated spot for e-learning that can accommodate a laptop or tablet, books and with room for the child to write.
- STRICT ADHERENCE TO BED TIME AND WAKE UP: Kids need a minimum of eight hours of sleep so if they can go to bed on time, they will get ample rest and wake up energized the following morning. In my household, bed time is 8 pm and you could decide to extend it by an hour but do not go beyond 9 pm while waking up time should be 8 am this way they get more than twelve hours of sleep. Try this and you will find your child energized and ready to go! As for you the parent, please be in bed by 10 pm latest because you also require a good rest to avoid being grumpy and messy in the morning. Remember, you are now the teacher and your mood whether good or sour will affect your child’s performance.
- NO VIDEO GAMES, NO TELEVISION: It may seem a bit harsh but kids get distracted easily and you need their concentration during e-learning so in my household, I do not allow video games on week days as the kids go on a break from e-learning on weekends. I also do not allow television until in the afternoon after learning is over.
- STRUCTURE TIME AND CONTENT OF LEARNING: Creating a structure makes your time management even more feasible so start by fixing the commencement time and the termination time for e-learning. Because kids are most productive in the morning, my kids start learning at 9 am and end at 1 pm. I have structured their learning to be short and simple so that it is not too cumbersome or tiring so they do not lose interest in learning. For Nigerian schools, I am currently using www.schoolgate.ng for the kids’ academic tutorial so this is usually where my kids start their day from. They begin by learning one topic each in all 6 subjects offered on the website and then we move on to the more fun websites – https://www.e-learningforkids.org/, https://www.coolmath.com/ , https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html , https://www.funbrain.com/ To make learning easy, bookmark these pages for easy reference and visit. So, in my structuring, I put into consideration core academic subjects and other fun activities like reading and fun educational games and videos so that by the time the class is winding down by 1 pm, my kids are ending their sessions with a fun game or video or some fun activity that they can do from home.
- DON’T FORGET SNACK BREAKS! AND BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT: Please make sure the kids get to eat breakfast before they commence learning because they can be cranky on empty stomach. And for much younger kids, give room for a ten to twenty minutes snack break so they can pop some juice or simply jump around while listening to educational songs.
- And lastly, keep learning fun and interesting by blending fun learning with core academics.
This is how I have been able to cope with e-learning. I hope this helps.
How are you coping with e-learning? Are there any tips you could share with us? Please do leave a comment.