7 Tips for Effective Virtual Learning

With every new school year comes difficulties, but going back to school this year is presenting itself with a whole new set of challenges. As a parent with kiddos you may find yourself wondering how to best support them and helping them continue to grow their education when you haven’t been trained in math or social studies or science (unless putting Mentos in soda counts, then you are a PRO).

None of us anticipated an extended season of both working from home and being in an educator role at the same time, so we’ve put together a few tips on how to go about tackling virtual learning and all that it entails. So, without further ado, we present to you our 7 tips for effective virtual learning!

1. Order a pair of blue light blocking glasses

It should come as no surprise that this is the first item on our list! Virtual learning means a lot more time spent staring at a screen, and a lot more opportunities for headaches and potential damage to the eyes. Lucky for you, we have the perfect solution to all of that additional blue light! Blue light blocking glasses for kids are a really easy way to prevent eye strain and fatigue, and will prove to be a huge help during extended periods of online class and homework.

What’s the big deal with blue light? We are glad you asked. While a little bit of blue light is good and actually beneficial for good health, such as regulating circadian rhythm for a healthy sleep cycle, too much of it can be an instigator of headaches and eye strain. The use of blue light glasses for kids and teens is important not only during long periods of screen use during the day, but especially when using devices right before bedtime, as that is more likely to disrupt a healthy sleep cycle.

Pro tip: All of our kids glasses and teen glasses allow you to add either prescription or non-prescription blue light blocking lenses to all of our optical frames! This means your favorite frame styles can double as a shield against blue light. You can even start with one of our Home Try-On Kits, which allow your kids and teens to try on glasses at home to find the perfect pair. Hurray!

2. Put together a plan, but be flexible

While there may be a recommended plan that was provided to you by your child’s teacher (or, maybe their daily plan doesn't have much wiggle room based on their class schedule), putting a plan together may help your child stay motivated to look forward to what is next.

The biggest thing we can stress is to be okay when the plans change and just aren’t working out. Sometimes you may have what seems to be the perfect schedule in your mind, and after trying that for a day you need to scrap the entire thing. That is okay! It’s also okay not to force the schedule if it is not working out - these are [insert your version of unprecedented that doesn’t make you roll your eyes] times and we are all figuring it out day by day, which sometimes means allowing yourself to sleep in a little extra, play outside a little longer, or take a midday cookie baking break (...that counts as science too, right?).

3. Set aside time for breaks

Along with making sure you have a pair of blue light glasses handy during screen time, another really important reminder is to spend time away from the screen. A good rule to remember is the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen or digital device, it is recommended to spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet or more away. During the middle of online class this may mean just looking at an object other than the computer or tablet, but when class is over, maybe this means talking a walk around the block or around the house, or playing with your sweet pup. Remember that even when your kids are at school, they often are up and moving around during class or during their break time to use up some energy!

4. Create a space in your home for learning

Having a sense of routine and a space designated to focus can be so helpful for both kids and teens. You can get them involved in the process, too! Just like allowing your child to pick out their own pair of glasses can help them actually want to wear the glasses, allowing them to be a part of the process in creating their workspace can also encourage them to be excited for school and learning by being excited about a space that feels like their own. Also, keeping things organized within the space (as much as is possible) can help them stay motivated, focused, and on track.

5. Set realistic goals for learning

In instances where classes are being led by your child’s teacher, setting goals may come a bit easier and may even be made for you, but when that is not the case it’s important to set goals so your child has something to work toward. We recommend making sure the goals are clear, specific, and realistic! This may mean deciding on a certain number of pages to read, problems to solve, or questions to answer. Keeping the goals specific and realistic will ensure that your child feels they can attain and accomplish the goals without feeling overwhelmed. That said, if your child does not meet all of their goals every single day, it will be okay. Stress to them that it does not make them a failure and that they just need to do the best they can. They can strive to accomplish more tomorrow than they did today.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Queue the High School Musical “We’re All In This Together” soundtrack, because that is spot on! Helping fill an educational teacher role is new territory for so many parents, and it’s vital to reach out to other parents or your kiddo’s school for additional resources. It takes a village to raise a family, so don’t be afraid to reach out to that village when you run stuck helping with homework or explaining that math problem that your child can’t understand (and, if you can’t understand the math problem, try to find a tutorial online or check in with other families in their class to see if they may be able to help!).

7. Give yourself grace!

Let’s be honest: none of us anticipated what the year 2020 would bring, and we are all doing the best we can. Janel Peyton, the sweetest of mamas who happens to have a Jonas Paul Eyewear-wearing kiddo, offered some wise words when talking about teaching and learning from home, especially when your kids aren’t listening to you or things aren't going as planned:

“You can't force it. That will just make everyone angry and frustrated. They aren't used to you being their teacher, you aren't used to being the teacher, it's a transition for everyone and it will take time. Give it time. There will be growing pains. Everyone has been thrown into this. You didn't choose this path, but it's the path you are on. Tread lightly and patiently. Encourage them to learn at their own pace. Don't expect them to learn everything at once, don't expect that they will understand every lesson. They don't even do that in school. Take it one lesson at a time, one child at a time, one day at a time.”

Photo Credit: The always amazing Eyemart Express!