Parents are now more than ever responsible for their children's virtual and home-based education. Despite the many advantages of homeschooling, it can be difficult for parents and students to learn at home.
In a home learning environment, it might be challenging to establish order and organization. This might cause pupils to become frustrated and even fall behind on assignments or learning objectives. Furthermore, your child's curriculum includes many moving elements, which becomes even more complicated if you have more than one child.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak school closures around the country, public schools offer a wide range of services. Since it might be difficult for schools to ensure that all students have access to critical hardware, such as laptops and Wi-Fi, some limit themselves to providing optional “enrichment” sessions.
If you're one of the tens of millions of parents who are effectively homeschooling their children, we've got some pointers to help you keep your kids safe while homeschooling this season.
1. Open Lines of Communication
Have a clear and honest discussion with your children about who they can communicate with and how they should communicate. Ascertain that they comprehend the need for friendly and supportive interactions and the fact that rude, discriminating, or improper contact is never acceptable. Encourage your children to quickly share with you or a trusted adult if they experience any of these. If your child appears disturbed or secretive about internet habits, or if they are being cyberbullied, be on the lookout.
Establish guidelines with your child on how, when, and where devices can be used.
2. Keeping Them Safe Online
Children can use digital platforms to continue their education, enjoy games, and communicate with their peers. However, greater online access raises concerns about children's safety, protection, and privacy. Talk to your kids about how the internet works, what they should be cautious of, and what good behavior looks like on the platforms they use, such as video calls.
Set ground rules for how, when, and where you can use the Internet as a group. Set up parental settings on their devices to protect their children from internet dangers, especially young ones. Find age-appropriate applications, games, and other internet entertainment with the help of groups such as Common Sense Media. Be aware of school and other local reporting channels in case of cyberbullying or an instance of inappropriate content online, and maintain numbers of support helplines and hotlines on hand.
Remember that accessing digital learning does not require children or young people to reveal images of themselves or other personal information.
Take a look at our review of the best apps to keep kids safe online.
3. Monitoring Apps
Check that your child's gadget has the most up-to-date software and antivirus programs installed, as well as that privacy setting, are turned on. When not in use, keep webcams hidden. Also, parental controls, including safe search, can help keep younger children's internet experiences positive.
Parental control apps can also tell you who your children talk to online, allows you to set internet access schedules and limits, and block problematic websites. A few of these apps can keep track of phone calls and texts and display the contents of texts and instant messages.
Some of the best parental control software that can help parents safely home school their children are:
Qustodio is a parental control app for Mac, Windows, and mobile devices. Although it's not required, it runs in the background and adds a menu bar icon (which can be deactivated).
However, these programs are most effective when used as part of a broader strategy for teaching youngsters how to be responsible online and offline. Talk to your kids about how they should behave online and how to avoid awkward situations. If they think your approach is too harsh, pay attention to what they have to say. Also, inform them that you will be watching their online activities.
Kaspersky Safe Kids:
Kaspersky Safe Kids operates on Android, iOS, Macs, and PCs, although many parental control apps are better suited to desktop or mobile platforms. Kaspersky may be installed on an unlimited number of devices, and it includes app blocking, location tracking (including geofencing), browser filtering, and time management, among other features.
Another well-known and highly recommended parental control application for Mac users is Mobicip, which protects your youngsters from the complex Internet world. It also assures that the child's personal information is only shared with his or her guardians, never with a third-party app.
ESET Parental Control for Android includes a number of useful features. It can, for instance, limit access to certain online categories or sites. You may set a time limit for each app or totally block access to dangerous apps. If your child leaves a set area, the geofencing feature sends you an alarm. You can control anything from your smartphone or a web dashboard.
4. Take Away Distractions
It goes without saying that when you work from home, whether you're a child or an adult, there are considerably more distractions. The television, the ping of a phone notification, family members, pets…the refrigerator!
What has worked best, in our experience, is establishing a peaceful, orderly environment in which the children can work. Make every effort to be mindful of one another, and encourage the children to take frequent brief breaks to help them stay focused.
5. Healthy Homeschooling Environment:
Spending the entire day with children can be challenging when youngsters become agitated and misbehave. When your youngster has difficulty learning, keep your cool and be patient, and create a calm atmosphere for a better outcome. Children can even feel lonely for spending too much time at home alone. So parents will have to take care of this kind of situation by connecting them with other fellow students. Technology can play a significant role here.
But then children may be exposed to more advertising than promoting unhealthy foods, gender stereotypes, or age-inappropriate material as they will spend more time online. Help children recognize web commercials and take advantage of the opportunity to discuss what's wrong with some of the bad messages they encounter.
6. Be Lenient
Spending most of the time at home with your children can provide an excellent opportunity for them to have quality time with you. So help them as much as you can to express themselves; this will allow them to be more motivated. Take proper initiatives to take good care of their health too.
Encourage your child to use online tools like online workout videos for kids and video games involving physical mobility to get them up and moving. Remember to have a healthy balance of online and offline activities, including time spent outside if feasible.
When contemplating homeschooling possibilities, being creative and thinking outside the box might be beneficial. But protecting children's safety is equally important too. Homeschooling might be a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun. On the other hand, homeschooling is not for every parent, and parents who are unprepared or unable to commit to being a good teacher should avoid it.
Teaching children to adjust to change is an important educational lesson. And as long as you approach homeschooling concerns with love and care, your child will be fine in the end—in fact; they may have one of their most memorable school years yet.
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