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How to Avoid Distractions During Virtual Learning

It remains to be seen if schools across the country will open this fall without any modifications. In some regions, state and local officials are still considering allowing schools to fully open their doors, while other areas are considering allowing schools to offer classes every other week, with virtual learning taking place during the "off" weeks. Others are reviewing the merits of offering half days in the classroom, with the rest of the day spent at home in a virtual learning environment. With so much uncertainty, parents and their children need to be prepared for the possibility they will be presented with a broad range of learning environments.

If COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the likelihood of some form of virtual learning taking place will rise as well. In this post, we will outline distractions that can take place within a virtual learning environment, as well as offer tips on creating an effective learning space for students.


Distractions in the Physical Environment

Since much of home use of computers is centered around casual computing, many households do not have a dedicated space for virtual learning, which does require a more controlled environment. While some households may have a home office that could be changed into a classroom, others do not. Other environmental factors that can be distracting, especially for students with ADHD, are rooms that are too warm or too cold, inadequate lighting, rooms with windows that have the potential to introduce outside distractions such as vehicular or pedestrian traffic, barking dogs, etc. Some parents may have a spare bedroom that could act as a classroom, but the room has been used so far as a catch all for clutter, extra furniture, and other household paraphernalia.

Create an Uncluttered Learning Environment

Both the parents and the student should expect to keep the classroom area neat and tidy. Just as teachers and students pick up clutter and garbage daily in a schoolroom, the same treatment should be given to a home classroom to prepare for the next school day. If the home classroom is too warm or too cold, buy a quiet portable heater or fan to make the room temperature more comfortable and less distracting. If there are too many distractions coming in from outside, close the curtains or blinds when class is in session. If the classroom area has inadequate lighting or if there is too much glare on the computer screen, add lighting to the room and/or ensure the computer screen is easy to view. Parents should also invest in a desk and chair that is the right size for their child, so they will not get distracted and fidget because they are uncomfortable.


Computer Distractions and Solutions

Parents should consider buying a dedicated computer for their child to use, so they do not become distracted by notifications coming in from a parent's email account, video conference calls intended for others in the household, and other online distractions. If parents cannot supply a dedicated computer for their child, they should at least set up a separate user account for them and make sure he/she is logged into their account while in their virtual learning environment. Parents can also invest in blocking programs to prevent children from trying to access undesirable websites during downtime.

Establish a Disciplined Routine

Part of attending a "real" school is to learn self-discipline. Children must learn to wake up at a certain time every school morning, they must get dressed for the day, some students must catch a bus for school, and they must not be late for class. The same type of discipline must be used at home for children to take virtual learning seriously. Virtual learning already requires at least a measure of self-discipline since there is no teacher in the room to encourage desired behavior. When parents take the virtual learning experience of their child seriously, their child will gain the understanding that virtual learning is just as important as learning that takes place in a more traditional classroom.

Become More Involved

Many parents would like to become more involved with their child's education but are unable to do so because of demands from work or other responsibilities. By ensuring their child's home classroom is in order every school day, being able to view their child on camera in their virtual learning classroom, and simply asking their child how their school day went after they get home from work, will allow parents to become more involved in their child's education. While virtual learning does present some unique challenges, it does offer parents an opportunity to have more input and involvement in their child's education.

Challenges and Opportunities

COVID-19 has introduced many challenges in recent months, especially for families. Still, many report the virus has provided them with an opportunity to become closer as a family and has reduced what are now seen as unnecessary distractions in their daily life. While virtual learning will present some challenges, a thoughtful, disciplined and most importantly, a positive approach will go a long way to prepare families to successfully meet any extra challenges this fall. If you would like to know more about our vision for the virtual learning experience for children with ADHD, please contact us.

Call (561) 649-6141 to ask how we can help.


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