Among the many challenges with the global pandemic everyone has been forced to endure, homeschooling children was an unexpected addition at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The phrase, “Did not see that coming!” is now running to compete for the title of “the most widely used phrase in 2020!”
School closures across the country forced families to rapidly shift weekly schedules and routines, leaving many scrambling to find childcare options enabling them to continue working to sustain monthly incomes. At that time, “stressed” was a mild term that could describe those with school-aged children in the home. When the school year ended, summertime was a welcomed change of pace, though the questions about the follow-on school year began circulating with every evening news update.
Following the announcements for school reopening plans, many families were left with the decision to choose between different schooling options. Choices vary from blended forms of partial school attendance and half virtual instruction to full homeschooling.
While the decision rests solely with each family, the challenge presented is how to best equip the student for a successful school year. Here are some considerations to give students the best opportunity to succeed regardless of their learning environment:
Students who are provided an optimal learning experience have a higher chance of success! Learning your child’s DISC behavioral style with the Student Strengths Report is a critical first step to identifying their learning needs and motivators. It drives their social, emotional, and academic strengths and empowers them to become an active participant in their educational journey. This also helps parents effectively communicate with their students when they experience various obstacles or challenges. Wouldn’t it be great to know how your student communicates, approaches conflict, and views relationships and tasks (such assignments/homework) before you experience it with them?
Beyond the student’s unique behavioral style exists perceptual learning and cognitive thinking styles.
Understanding your student’s perceptual learning style unlocks how they best perceive information utilizing their senses such as auditory (hearing,) visual (seeing/reading,) and kinesthetic (touch/hands-on.) This can also guide parents when preparing a dedicated area in the home that supports effective engagement and learning during instructional time. For example, some students prefer printed reading material so they can hold the pages and make notes. In contrast, others may prefer scrolling through pages online or listening to recorded sessions while taking notes in a separate notebook.
Knowing how your student processes the information they receive, or their cognitive thinking style can also enhance their learning experience by understanding how they apply information received (literal, intuitive, theoretical, and experiential), often towards solving problems. If your student struggles to comprehend a particular subject or concept, you can assist them by finding different explanations or associating it to other areas they’re familiar with to help them form a better understanding.
Change can be difficult for some children to accept, and parents may find getting and keeping them motivated for months of at-home, virtual learning a challenge! One way to combat the inevitable friction points is to learn the student’s Values style. Even in their youth, students can be positively influenced when we understand what they care about or what inspires them the most. Think about how your child approaches chores. Do they do them because they love being involved in the process of cleaning up? Do they do them because they know they can play outside or earn money when completed? Do they do them because they enjoy the praise or affirmation received when they do a good job? When you know why they do what they do, there is much insight to be gained and applied when it comes to motivating your student during instructional time.
Regardless of your decision to send your child back on campus, enroll them in virtual learning, or homeschool this academic year, you can gain the advantage and start the year off equipped and empowered to help your student have the best learning experience possible.