Around this time last year, you’d see children, teenagers and college students across the country excited to go to school. Well, most of them, at least. Admit it or not some of you were glad to bid your children adieu for the day. Well, the good news is that most schools are holding online classes this year thanks to the pandemic. That means more time to spend with your little devils, err, I meant bundles of joys. Yey.
It’s not just the kids and parents who are adjusting to this new normal. School teachers are doing their darn best to still provide quality education to their kids despite the current situation and obstacles. That alone is a pretty good reason why everyone should celebrate teachers not just on World Teachers’ Day but every darn day.
While teachers are doing what they can, probably with limited sources at that, we as parents can help ease the adjustment to homeschooling or distance learning by adopting the proper environment for stress-free online classes.
Online Learning Devices
Online learning means the teacher and student will be communicating via the internet. Both parties will need a decent device for this to succeed. Some of your options include a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
The ASUS VivoBook 15 is one of the more popular laptops on Amazon. The Vivobook 15 F512JA-AS34 model sports the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor to go with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. These figures basically mean the laptop performance is great. It also offers a huge 15.6-inch Full HD screen with NanoEdge bezel display, which would be great for watching instructional videos and attending meetings or classes.
Online classes involve synchronous learning, which simply means the teacher and student needs to be in the same place at the same time. In this case, they’re on their respective devices and connecting through the internet during a specified time. It’s important, therefore, to have a webcam and headphones or earphones so you can see and hear each other.
When it comes to headphones and earphones, choose the noise cancelling ones. The Sony WH-CH710N Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones utilizes its very own Dual Noise Sensor technology to automatically detect noise and keep it from hearing your lessons.
Asynchronous classes, meanwhile, are video recordings, assignments, tests, and other recorded instructions that the teacher leaves for the student to accomplish in their own time as long as they’re done on or before a set deadline.
Whatever device you choose, you need it to have the right specifications in order to perform as needed. Laptops are still the best choice since they’re portable, have built-in webcams, and can perform a variety of tasks. However, not everyone can afford a laptop or even a desktop computer. More affordable options such as tablets and smartphones are limited.
Other devices you need for stress-free online classes are a webcam (if your device doesn’t have a built-in one), and noise-cancellation headphones. Some optional items include a wireless mouse, mouse pad, USB flash drive, laptop stand and a Bluetooth or wireless keyboard if you don’t want your kid pouncing on your laptop. Oh, and do yourself a favor by getting a surge protector. This will give your device some level of protection versus power spikes.
Fast and Stable Internet Connection
If you ask teachers, parents and even kids, they’ll surely say the most common cause of stress nowadays is poor internet connection. Just imagine being right in the middle of class when you lose connection. Poor teacher then has to wait for you to be back online before he or she can continue with the lesson. Otherwise, you have to disrupt the class by asking what you missed. For sure that’s pretty stressful for the child.
Obviously, you need the right internet service provider (ISP) for stress-free online classes. If you don’t have one yet or your current ISP is not providing the service you deserve, then it’s time to look for the right one.
First, do a little investigating. Find out what ISP your neighbors are subscribed to and see if they have complaints. Ask about their ISP’s customer service, too, and if they act quickly if there is an issue. You thorough research should give you an idea on what plans and speeds are available. You can also narrow down your choices by determining their costs. Once you’ve figure out which one meets your online class requirements, apply for subscription.
Find A Quiet Place
When you’re in the classroom, you have to focus on what the teacher is saying. Otherwise, you won’t learn anything. It’s the same with online classes. You need to focus on the teacher and the lesson so you will not get left behind.
On that note, one huge factor in having stress-free online classes is to hold it somewhere quiet. Find the most peaceful spot at home and set up your “classroom” there. Pick a place where people don’t gather or pass through frequently. That means the kitchen, dining room, and living room should be last on your list. Of course, the bathroom is a no-go.
If you have a spare room, you can turn use it for online classes. You can even share it with your children if you also need to work from home. If there is no available room, use the bedroom. Just make sure no one else enters while classes are on-going. In case that is still not an option, the living room will do but, again, you need everyone’s cooperation. They should stay quiet during school hours. That means no TV, radio or loud conversations during this time.
Other places you can use are the balcony, porch, or patio. If you have a wide enough backyard, you can set up a shed for this purpose. It would be ideal to be near a window to get some natural light and nice scenery but if you can often hear cars and noisy neighbors through the window you may want to find another place.
Set Up Your Faux Classroom
One good thing about home learning is that you don’t have to keep moving. If you’re at school right now, particularly in the university, you’ll probably be going from classroom to classroom or taking the first empty seat you find. With the coronavirus still lurking, this is not an ideal situation at all.
Also, you get to choose your desk and chair. You don’t have to suffer through class sitting on a hard, uncomfortable seat or armchair anymore. Spending hours in front of the computer can also take a toll on your back and bum so pick a chair that provides comfort and support for your back.
The Klause Office Chair White Naugahyde Seat by Burke Décor features … The seat, with a depth of 17.8 inches, can be adjusted from 18.3 to 21.5 inches. The back measures 23.5 inches high and is curved to provide support to the back. It also comes with an armrest for added comfort. The base is made of chrome aluminum and comes with caster wheels.
As for your desk, you need one that has enough working and storage space to fit your device and other online learning needs. The stunning Junction Desk in Walnut and White by Canadian-based design collective Gus Modern is a minimalist’s dream come true. The easy-to-assemble desk’s writing surface measures 48 x 24 inches with an open trough at the back for storing books, school supplies and other items. The desk is 29.5 inches high, which a tad under the standard height of 30 inches. However, this should serve its purpose well for younger and smaller users.
Aside from the open trough, the Junction Desk also comes with an open storage compartment where you can easily store your school stuff. Beside it is a push-to-open drawer with a white lacquer finish which should complement your white Klause office chair.
Obviously, you need light to see what you’re doing. Poor lighting can strain the eye and make feel tired and sleepy quickly. When this happens, you’ll surely be stressed that you can’t focus on your online class. So make sure there’s enough light for your child to see things clearly and for the teacher to see him, too.
A desk lamp like the Scout Adjustable Task Table Lamp will be necessary. The desk lamp designed by Rico Espinet is made of metal with a polished nickel finish. It uses a type A bulb up to 60 watts. The Hi-Lo Rotary switch is located on the shade. The adjustable Scout lamp also comes with 96 inches of black fabric wrapped cord. The Scout Adjustable Task Table Lamp looks like the logo of Pixar. That’s something your kid will smile about every time he’s oat his desk.
Ring lights are pretty popular nowadays since a lot of people are going on Zoom meetings. Invest on the LED Ring Light 6″ with Tripod Stand from MACTREM Store if you’re one of those who do online meetings or if you want to be a YouTube star. Share it with your kids when they need it for their online classes.
You can say anything you want about how geniuses prefer clutter desks but the fact is, not everyone is like Einstein. Your child may be the next Richard Hawkins or Neil deGrasse Tyson but they should still learn the value of cleaning up and staying organized.
Young students probably don’t need that much space for their books and school supplies but you should still get them their own shelves. Having and being responsible for their own space would give them a sense of discipline and, well, responsibility.
Aside from the shelves and drawers on their desks, they’ll also need a container for their pens and other small items. The Wooden Pen and Pencil Holder by DHH Designs and available through Wisconsin Made Artisan Collective is gorgeous, to say the least. In fact, the wooden pen and pencil holders are so masterfully crafted that you’d want them for yourself.
The set is made of the finest Wisconsin hardwoods with African Padauk wood accents for that burgundy color. Each one measures about 4 x 1 1/2 x 4 7/8 inches. There are a couple of 1 inch openings on the top for the pens and pencils.
Establish A Routine
Early in their life, children are thought the value of having a routine. You feed them at certain times of the day and make them wash up in the morning and evening. They have to brush their teeth after every meal. You tuck them to bed at this or that hour. These are just a few ways that you teach your children about routines.
Routine is important to learning, too. If your child follows a routine at school, he develops a sense of order and responsibility, which helps in keeping him calm. Help your child to develop a routine for his online classes.
For example, he should wake up early to clean up and have breakfast. After brushing his teeth, he then changes into his uniform while you get the laptop and other devices ready. After his online class, he’ll review the lessons or do homework. At night, he’ll go to bed early and get some much needed sleep. Remember, lack of sleep is unhealthy and will only ruin your day.
If he fails to do one thing, it may throw him off track thus causing stress. Print out his daily schedule to help him with his routine.
Eat Well and On Time
How many times have you found yourself out of focus because your tummy is grumbling? Surely there’s at least one instance when you kept looking at the clock and wishing it’s already lunchtime because you’re hungry. That’s what you get for skipping breakfast or not having a snack during recess period.
The good thing about having your classes at home is that you don’t have to rush in the morning to get to school. That means no skipped breakfasts or forgotten lunch boxes. So this problem should be easily addressed.
If your child starts online class early, make sure there’s enough time between breakfast and the first period. That means you still have to get up early to make breakfast. If your kid’s big enough, he can prepare his own breakfast but make sure there’s something to prepare.
I’m aware that not everyone has the luxury of breakfast or having someone prepare it for them. But if your child gets to eat well to start the day, that would definitely help in having stress-free online classes.
Speaking of eating well, avoid foods high in sugar, especially in the morning. Sugary foods and drinks are known for their energy boosting qualities but you’ll eventually crash. When that happens, you’ll feel tired and hungry thus losing focus on your schoolwork.
Oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables, eggs, and chicken are healthier options. The nutrient and fiber rich oatmeal is digested slowly by the body providing you with energy for a longer period. Chicken, meanwhile, is high in lean protein. They’re great for lunch since it will provide the necessary fuel for the rest of the day.
You don’t want to be known for the rest of your life as the kid with the booger or Hairicane Sandy just because you forgot to look at the mirror before the class started. Freshen up by taking a shower and dressing up nicely. Your school may still require you to wear your uniform or follow the dress code so prepare your clothes the day before.
Also, make sure you have a mirror nearby. Give yourself a quick check before your online class starts to make sure you look fabulous or at least presentable. Keep the mirror in your drawer after checking yourself. Don’t leave it in front of you as you may get distracted by your good looks.
You’ll fall in love with the Wooden Hand Mirror by A Gift Of Wood even before you get to see your reflection. The handheld mirror, available through Wisconsin Made Artisan Collective, features the natural colors and grain of the wood with a touch of three accent stripes made of different American hardwoods.
Take A Break
You don’t need to run away for the summer and go upstate just to take a break. Manage stress In between or after classes by taking a break. If that means sitting comfortably while sipping a cup of coffee or a cold glass of wine, then go ahead and indulge yourself. Of course, we’re talking to teachers, parents and older students here.
For the younger schoolchildren, they have a different interpretation of taking breaks. Traditionally, schools have one or two recess periods every school day. Since most are conducting online classes, they should allow 15 minute breaks after every 45 minutes of class. It’s not good for anyone to stay in front of computer screens for long periods of time. If your child’s school doesn’t have breaks between online classes, you may need to chat with your school officials.
After a day of online classes, let the children play with their toys or have some fun in the backyard. If you want your kids to stay excited with their online classes, get them a different toy each month. You don’t have to buy a new one, though. At Toy Library, you can rent two toys for as low as $12 a month.
The LEGO: Star Wars A-Wing Starfighter, for example, is available for only $29.95. The 177-piece LEGO set, which is recommended for children ages 7 to 12, comes with mini-figures of Han Solo, Admiral Ackbar and an A-Wing pilot. Now what Star Wars fan wouldn’t want to play with this set even if for just a month.
Reward them with some healthy snacks, too. That should relieve some of the stress. You can reward them with 30 minutes to an hour of screen time though that is not really recommended. It would be better if you let them play with gadgets only on weekends. At least that’s something they can look forward to.
Set the Mood
When you’re at school, you can’t really set the mood. You have to make do with the atmosphere in the classroom. Unfortunately, it’s not always apt for learning.
At home, you can take control of the mood. Start off by keeping the house clean. A messy home is not always conducive for learning. We do understand that it may be too much to ask to have a clean home each and every day considering the present situation. Ask your child to take responsibility for keeping his spot clean and organized. You can still help out if necessary.
Since online classes can be stressful, help calm the nerves and relax the mind by lighting some scented candles. The Cabin Scents Candle comes in six fragrances that will help set the mood. The six scents are Apple Pie, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Java Nut, Mulberry, and Pine. Each candle is made of 16 ounces of clean-burning, food-grade wax and burns for 80 hours.
The world is definitely a crazy place right now and the least you can do is to keep the troubles away from your home. When it comes to remote schooling, take these tips about stress-free online classes seriously. Keep tabs on Gentleman Pirate Club to read more articles on how we can adjust to the new normal as well as some tips on how to stay safe during this pandemic.