COVID-19 Remote Learning: Most Common Challenges of Transitioning to Online Classes
What are the most common challenges of transitioning to online classes? Is it really that hard to adjust from a traditional school system to an environment devoid of one? Is it time to do away with traditional schools and just have everyone studying at home? Are there any clear advantages to doing this?
Online classes aren’t a new thing. Homeschooling has been around for decades. This type of educational format was once only offered to children in remote places. It has eventually opened up to families looking for an alternative form of education without sacrificing the teaching quality.
And it has never been more evident as now. Due to the unique circumstances the world is facing today, online classes are now seen as a viable solution for teachers, students, and parents alike.
Taking classes online removes most of the negative aspects of being in a traditional school. These challenges can range from simple logistics to financial matters or high cost of education and materials. The stresses of interacting with social groups, cliques, and situations in an unfamiliar and dynamic environment is also another challenge.
But is it the perfect and final solution we’ve all been waiting for?
Sadly, no. Remote learning and online classes still present challenges for everyone involved.
Today, we’ll tackle the most common challenges of transitioning to online classes and how to deal with it appropriately.
Table of Contents
Why Do People Choose To Homeschool?
There are many underlying reasons why parents opt to take their children out of the traditional school system and into homeschooling programs.
Here are some of the reasons:
Child’s Personality Doesn’t Fit The Traditional School System
It happens. Some children are just not fit to stay inside the traditional school system due to how it affects their behavior.
People believe that injecting children into the traditional school system is one way to help develop their social skills. To a certain degree, it works but not all the time. Some children just have an extremely difficult time adjusting to life outside of their home.
The Traditional School Environment Is Hostile
One of the most common setbacks of having children from all walks of life converging into one place is the prevalence of cliques and bullying.
Some would argue that this is one way to toughen children up. This is not a tried and tested formula. And, it isn’t held in a controllable environment with equal results.
Children who are bullied have shown high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This can lead to absences that result in poor school performance.
The same goes for children who either join the wrong social groups or get shunned by them. Getting mixed up in the wrong crowd spells a whole new world of problems for teachers, students, and parents alike. These are just some of the setbacks of placing children forcibly in social situations like schools.
Child’s Intelligence Is Beyond The School’s Capability To Cope With
This also happens. Sometimes, some children are just way too intelligent to stay in a traditional school system within their locale. One option is to send them to the proper facility that can further nurture their advanced intelligence.
Sadly, most times, the logistics of moving, emotional stress it creates, or financial demand to the household makes it impossible for the child to be enrolled in the proper educational facility. This is when homeschooling becomes an option.
Freeing the child from the constraints of a traditional school’s system’s rigid curriculum opens up the possibility of engaging in lessons that would otherwise be reserved for higher grades.
Okay, I’m Convinced. Now, How Do I Get My Child Into A Homeschool Program?
Getting your child out of the traditional school system and into a homeschool program is just one of the many common challenges of transitioning to online classes. You can’t just one day decide to pull your child out without the proper documentation.
Failing to do so runs the risk of having your child reported for truancy issues. This is simply a formal way to declare to the school that you are taking full responsibility for your child’s education and relieving them of theirs.
Withdrawing Children From The Public School System
First, you have to lay the groundwork for your child’s education out of the traditional system. This means getting the curriculum, devising a schedule and ensuring you have the proper forms for reporting your child’s progress.
You will also need to submit a formal letter to the school system’s superintendent informing your school district of your intent to withdraw your child from the system. This is a document expressing your intent to exercise your right to your child’s education and that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
You might be required to fill out a separate form for legal purposes. Being compliant and submitting all of the necessary documents will speed up the process.
Withdrawing Children From The Private School System
Taking your child out of the private school system is an easier task. All you have to worry about is ensuring you’re fully paid up the tuition and miscellaneous fees before being able to do so.
You might still need to create a formal letter expressing your desire to withdraw your child and then submit some forms. Compliance at this point is still required to ensure quick results.
Common Challenges You’ll Most Likely Face When You Do Decide To Homeschool Your Child
Homeschooling Is An Unpopular Choice
The first and biggest challenge you’re going to face is being part of a small number of parents or students involved in the homeschool format. People simply won’t get it and often look down on homeschoolers just because they don’t understand the concept of not being part of a traditional school system.
Homeschooled children still only account for a very small percentage of the total school population across the states.
Homeschooled children and parents alike always draw attention ranging from unfavorable remarks to a few questions as to why they would opt for an unpopular choice, instead of going through the traditional school system.
Although it has become more widespread, these things will still form part of the common challenges of transitioning to online classes you’ll face on a regular basis. The best way to go about this is by thinking of yourself as a brand ambassador or a positive representation of the homeschooling community.
Answering questions in a positive manner can help people learn more about the movement and make them more informed about the pros and cons of homeschooling. Should you encounter violent reactions, the best response will always be controlling your emotions and providing straightforward answers.
The current situation we’re all facing right now might help in showing those who are unfamiliar with the concept and help them understand better. But don’t hold your breath.
You And Your Child Will Feel Isolated
There’s no going around this. You and your child will feel isolated.
This is just one of the common challenges of transitioning to online classes.
There are homeschool groups that you can partner with but for the most part, you and your child will be left on your own.
This is, after all, initially an alternative educational system built for students who lived in remote places and barely had access to school on a regular basis.
Still, it helps to connect with your peers and devise a social gathering every now and then for educational or social purposes. You have the opportunity to do so given that you have a free schedule and the lack of a rigid school system that prevents you from doing so.
Keeping And Organizing Records Is A Chore
What are you basically paying traditional schools for? Aside from ensuring they provide high-quality education to your child, they’re also responsible for keeping track of their progress and recording them.
Organizing and keeping track of records is a huge undertaking even for one student. That’s why they employ an entire staff for that.
Welcome to that world. You’re now basically the records keeper aside from being the teacher and parent of your own child.
First things first, you will have to create a schedule to keep your program on the right track. Along the way, you have to keep tabs on the progress you and your child make to ensure they are always moving forward and not slacking off or reverting back to redundant classes.
You’ll have to ensure they attend each and every class included in your homeschooling program’s curriculum and grade them according to their performance. Tests, assignments, quizzes, and homework is included in that list.
You will also need to submit these records to the proper agencies to keep track of your child’s progress based on the US educational system’s requirements. Needless to say, strict compliance to adhere to these standards is required. This is needed once your child is done with the K-12 program, so they can proceed to college and other higher education.
And that’s just for one child. Now, multiply that task according to the number of children you have.
You’ll Need To Be Resourceful To Have Access To Resources
Your resources are only limited to your finances and the amount of resourcefulness. There is a vast multitude of boos out there that can help you educate your child properly.
The one obstacle you might face is paying for equipment that you’ll need to create a proper homeschool environment. High on this list is having a computer or another device that can help them access their lessons. Securing a fast internet connection with uninterrupted service is also part of this list.
Some states provide assistance to homeschooled children but you will have to be ready for instances when you are taking out a loan to pay for these miscellaneous fees.
You’ll Have To Take Full Responsibility Of Your Child’s Education
So now that you’ve taken your child out of the traditional school system, it’s time to live up to the responsibility behind ensuring your child gets a high-quality education.
Now, are you fully prepared for that?
This can be an extremely stressful task for any parent or teacher who engages in homeschooling activities as they are now taking on the role of an entire school system.
The way a school works is that it assigns classes to specialized teachers who are experts in their chosen field. In your case, you’ll have to be an expert across the board of a multitude of classes. Think of it this way, you’re essentially the whole school system, the principal, school board, and the entire roster of teachers in one.
This can be overwhelming for some parents.
The good thing is, there are now lots of resources you can use online to help you teach your child where your expertise falls short. You might still need to learn as you go along, but the added knowledge is just a good way for you to better connect with your child as you learn along with them.
Balancing Work And Life Will Be A Full-Time Task
Another of the common challenges of transitioning to online classes is maintaining a proper work and life balance in your family.
That’s going to be extremely tough presuming you still have work outside the home. There are only enough hours in a day to accomplish all of the things you set out to do when you take on the task of homeschooling your child.
Playing All The Different Roles In Equal Capacity
Teacher, guidance counselor, principal, these are just some of the roles you will have to include in your responsibilities aside from being a parent. The challenge there is playing each part in equal capacity when the situation calls for it.
So, is your heart still set on homeschooling? Good. Because the next section discusses solutions to some of the common challenges of transitioning to online classes.
Some Solutions To Overcoming These Common Challenges
The good thing about having certain challenges in life is that there are always answers somewhere. They may come from the most unlikely sources, but they are still answers nonetheless.
Homeschooling isn’t a new concept. It’s been around long enough for parents, teachers, and students alike to have created certain solutions for some of the common challenges of transitioning to online classes.
Now, not all of these may work in your situation but you can always come up with personalized answers to best deal with your own challenges.
Alright, let’s get to it.
Talk To Your Child About The Prospect Of Homeschooling Instead Of Making It Your Sole Decision
Some parents make the mistake of just yanking their children out of the school system without discussing it with them first. This can lead to a lot of confusion for the child who may be in the process of adjusting to their school’s environment.
Some kids simply may not want to leave at all and placing them in a homeschool program without their agreement could lead to a very rough transition. Sometimes, their difficulty in adjusting to their school may just be something that needs to be discussed to find out where the issues lie and how to deal with it.
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling isn’t always the answer when your children experience troubles in school.
You will need to discuss this in the open with the entire family before thinking of homeschooling. Lay your plans and ask for suggestions as to how to make things better. You will need to find out if homeschooling is in your best interest.
Make it an exciting discussion with room for concerns, target-setting, and an agreement that what you’re getting into is for everyone’s good.
Write The Letter And Sign The Forms
Write a formal letter to inform the school that you are choosing to educate your child at home instead of through the traditional system. Some parents forget this part and end up having to answer for truancy.
Get this out of the way as soon as possible to make way for homeschooling without any issues.
Lay The Groundwork Properly Before You Even Begin
We’ve already mentioned that you are now essentially taking the place of an entire traditional school system. To do this effectively, you will need resources. A lot of resources.
First things first, you will need a curriculum as the foundation of your child’s homeschooling program appropriate for his age or interest. Next, create a schedule and a timeline for when he starts and finishes classes or subjects to graduate to the next tier.
You might need to become an expert in certain fields of studies or use the expertise of others to help you teach your child better. There are hundreds of free and paid resources online that you can use to further your child’s knowledge.
Homeschooling Is Not Equal To The Traditional School System
Some parents make the mistake of trying to replicate the traditional school system into their homeschool program. This doesn’t work all the time.
Making your homeschooling program as rigid as a traditional school is going to work against you. Make room for adjustments along the way. Adjust learning and teaching styles according to how the child best responds to it.
Although your child has to understand that you are taking on a teacher role, it doesn’t need to be done in a formal manner. You can also share teaching roles with your spouse if the situation calls for it.
Your lessons don’t also necessarily have to be taught in a classroom setting. The whole world is your classroom. All experiences can be lessons. Anything can be taught and treated with the appropriate importance and rewards.
Learn Your Child’s Learning Style
Children learn in a variety of ways. Some learn through reading, others through applied actions, and others through listening. By learning how your child learns best, you’ll be employing the tactics and resources needed to help them maximize their potential.
Learn When To Be A Parent And When To Be A Teacher
Spare the rod and spoil the child. You’re taking on another role as a teacher apart from being a parent, which means you will have to be firm when it calls for it.
This will take some adjusting but you’ll eventually get the hang of it. You can still provide a fun environment for your homeschool program, but always draw the line between learning and recreational activities.
Get An Expert Where Your Expertise Falls
Homeschooling doesn’t necessarily just have to be between you and your child. The most important thing here is to ensure they get a quality education. Sometimes you won’t be able to provide them with the amount of learning they need simply because you don’t have the resources needed.
This is where employing the help of an expert becomes extremely important.
There are many teachers who provide online services now that can help you and your child learn difficult subjects better. Using their expertise is a great way to achieve leaps and bounds in your child’s learning.
Use Technology To Its Full Potential
Almost everyone has a mobile device in one form or another these days. Use that to its full potential. There are thousands of useful apps that you can use to help in educating your child.
Children are naturally drawn to these devices nowadays and you can take full advantage of that by steering them into viewing helpful content. You can create a schedule where they are allowed to use their mobile devices for educational and entertainment purposes.
You can also use it as part of your reward system at the end of their tasks and chores.
Furthermore, you can use social media platforms to allow your child to connect with their own social circle, so that they aren’t devoid of the opportunity to form relationships with other kids of their age.
Just make sure you supervise the time used online and that the content they view is appropriate for their age and education.
Understand That There Will Be An Adjustment Period
One of the most common challenges of transitioning to online classes is the adjustment period. Both parents and children are essentially thrust into a whole new environment and relationship level. This takes time to get used to.
You will need to do this if you’ve just taken your child out of a traditional private or public school system. You’re basically purging what they’ve been accustomed to all their life in favor of one that seems less rigid, less structured but with the same educational value.
The need to dress up and wait for the bus or getting driven to school is now removed, which essentially frees up a lot of time in their day. This will need some getting used to for both child and parent.
Stepping into the role of a teacher can be disconcerting for some parents especially when they need to shift gears from becoming a family member to an educator.
It will take time but with consistency, this should become easier for both parent and child.
You Are Not Alone
There are a lot more families engaged in homeschooling now than in the past few decades. This means there is an existing network of parents you can work with to get resources, compare best practices, and organize educational events.
The good thing about this is that there will always be children your child can interact with who are basically in the same boat.
Interacting with other families can help strengthen the community and you can learn new things from other parents through their experiences and sharing yours as well.
This is also a good way to get children into sports with other children without the fear of subjecting them to what the traditional school systems incorporate.
Make Room For Adjustments
You are embarking on a new journey with your child and there will be pitfalls and obstacles along the way. You’ll discover new things as you go along, which makes it a very exciting time for both of you.
You will need to be very observant as to how your child progresses to determine if there is a need for any adjustments or to tweak certain lessons to make it more in line with what they are interested in.
You can also add or remove certain extra-curricular activities that your child is or isn’t responding to properly. For example, some children are more interested in arts. So add activities that help them explore their creativity further.
You have all the freedom to add, remove, swap, or increase the number of activities you and your child gets involved in during the homeschooling activities.
Don’t Give Up
Last but not least in coping with the common challenges to transitioning to online classes is dealing with frustration. There will be days when you’ll want to put your hands up and pack it in.
This is the time where it will be best to remind yourself that these things pass.
Change things around if you’ve reached an impasse or take a break. Give yourself some time and space to clear your mind and refresh yourself. You can essentially take a day off and be creative about it by going on an educational trip, instead of subjecting your child to another day of books.
Think of it as a mini-vacation with some learning thrown into the mix.
Just don’t give up because putting your child back into the traditional school system after you’ve taken them out can be very confusing for them leading to learning issues in the future. Plus, there will be another transition period you and your child will have to go through again if you do that.
You don’t want that.
The most common challenges of transitioning to online classes can be dealt with in an objective manner. It is the responsibility of determining what challenges are presented and how to deal with them appropriately.
Parents, students, and teachers have to work together in assessing the obstacles in front of them and formulating the proper solution to overcome it.
There will always be challenges on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Laying out a schedule and creating a plan is a great way to ensure lessons are fully absorbed and learning through online classes maximized.
At AllDigitalSchool, we try to provide you with as much information and resources that can help you have a more seamless transition into online classes. Here’s hoping this has helped you identify and create unique personal solutions to the common challenges of transitioning to online classes for you and your child.
How Do I Deal With Periods of Inattentiveness?
Create a schedule with enough breaks to deal with the monotony. Having a non-rigid system can be a liberating experience for everyone involved. Studying alone online can be a daunting task, so you need self-motivation to focus. Dividing the day in easy to swallow chunks, you ensure full attention.
Can I Transition Back To The Traditional School System Anytime?
Yes. That’s the beauty of online classes. You’re basically learning the same curriculum students in traditional schools learn. This can help your kid in transitioning back to the traditional school system. All you have to do is provide the progress report to the school board for assessment.
Where Do I Start?
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