The Silver Lining in the Covid-19 Dark Cloud

Residential Schools in Coimbatore

To some extent, the COVID19 pandemic seems to be the proverbial Shakespearean Shylock threatening to extract a pound of flesh from so many of us; the lives of many as well as the livelihood, but we are positive that this too shall pass. We are all homebound, trying to protect ourselves and our loved ones from a catastrophe. Larger issues concerning the education of our children, their future, board exams, and university admissions hang with many questions.

However, there is a silver lining for every dark cloud. Several new possible ways of learning have opened and all of us are attempting to get a stronghold in the remote learning bandwagon. We are not sure how far it will lead us and, in all earnestness, schools are trying to keep children engaged. In a situation where children are forced to learn by themselves, where they are in control of their learning, the role of parents becomes vital. “What should I do with the material that I got for my child? How far should I go in guiding my child? Will they be able to cope once school opens? ” Such questions are natural and a set of guidelines would come in handy.

1. Self-management is basic for a learner.

As your child settles down to study every day, let them act as if they are going to school, wake up at the same time, and prepare just as if they would go to school. Routine gives them reassurance. Help them organize their material, notebooks, textbooks, printouts of worksheets, and home assignments. This is a vital skill, the lack of which has cost quite a few good students their future. Keep baskets, trays for loose papers, or maybe folders for each subject. Color coding helps a good manager, a color for each subject, completed tasks in one tray, and incomplete ones in another. When parents and children go through this task together, a sense of achievement and pride for the child is a booster, and that in turn sets the pattern for their learning behavior.

2. Learning should not be connected to any exam.

The joy of learning as an end in itself is the best solution for parents who somehow want their children to start performing in school. The first thing that we should consciously think of doing is disconnect from tests and exams if we want to learn. That starts with accepting errors and analyzing them. If we start guiding them towards a perfect, error-free answer, children will never learn and the whole thing will snowball into a critical problem in senior grades. They should attempt to complete work on their own first and analyze their mistakes on their own. When they cannot self-correct, parents will do well to ask question prompts that will get them thinking. If they still insist on erroneous work, guide them in looking up their books and leave it at that. Eventually, they will learn when they repeatedly do their topics.

3. Self-learning is strong learning.

Just as they self-correct their work, they must start self-learning with supervision from an adult. Children can learn by reading, watching, or listening, and by doing. They may do it aloud or silently but they need to capture the essence of what they read or listen to. It helps to throw some open-ended questions with `Why ’or` How do you know?’. All that they gather is knowledge for another time when they need to speak or write. A student who takes responsibility for his or her learning will make a good older student. They can avoid the pain and stress in the future by building attitude and skill today.

4. Connect learning to day-to-day life.

Learning ought to unhinge from school work and this is a golden opportunity to do it. Normally, when they go for full-time schooling, their evenings and weekends go in following up on instructions from the school. But now is the time when parents can take the lead in discovering the interests of children. This happens, of course, via trial and error, but one way of finding out is involving them in day-to-day chores, something that they never do in the normal course. Daily cleaning and other household tasks will deepen their understanding of what they study. They will learn to deal with little scratches on their knee or with spilled milk. They will imbibe the nuances of expressions when they write and it will build their language skills. They will pick up estimation skills and find out what 500gm feels like instead of seeing it as a number on paper. These little experiences are what is missing in the teenagers who are struggling with language and Math.

We have this opportunity to convert what is a catastrophe into a learning experience, what sounds depressing can become a motivation for many. Let us make the most of it.