How to prepare my child for an online writing class

Working from home? Home-based learning? These were terms that we had never heard of, until the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, you may have enjoyed the convenience of continuing your work or studies without leaving the comfort of your home, while others do so to safeguard their health. 

Regardless of the reason, studying from home is now a common sight in many households. For many parents with school-going children, working and studying from home is not just a feasible option, but it is also a preferred one. After all, having online classes can save a lot of time, money, and effort in travelling.

Yet, when given the choice to sign their children up for online tuition, some parents may proceed without fully understanding what it entails. If this describes you, read on to find out what you can do to better prepare yourself and your child for live online classes!

1. What are the platforms used?

Firstly, we have to check which platforms are used for the online class. If it is simply an online portal or website, we can access it through the URL given. Once we receive the URL, we should bookmark it! This would save a lot of time and effort needed to search for it in the future, especially since the lessons are recurring. 

If it requires logging in to a platform, it would be wise to also log into the website 15 minutes before the actual lesson begins. This is to allow sufficient time to troubleshoot any potential hiccups. By making sure that everything is set up and ready to go prior to the lesson, we can reduce the number of technical issues we may encounter, which will then prevent any delays to the lesson. 

One example here would be Google Classroom – a free learning platform that simplifies creating, distributing, and grading assignments. It streamlines the process of sharing files between teachers and students! All it requires is for students to create and login using their Google accounts.

However, there are other classes which use an application instead. In this case, we will need to download it from its website first.

While there are numerous platforms available, the most commonly used application for online meetings is Zoom! Essentially, it is an easy to use video conferencing application where students and teachers can interact in real time, and share files with one another. 

2. What materials are required?

Apart from the technical aspect we have covered, there are still some other concerns we must deal with. Before the lesson commences, it is helpful to check with your child that they have the right worksheets. 

For instance, here at Write Edge, we have a whole term of hardcopy worksheets which are given to our students before the term starts. By properly preparing the necessary worksheets beforehand, students would be able to coordinate with their teachers, and the lesson would be able to take place  smoothly.

Although the class takes place online, physical materials are still extremely vital for learning. This is especially so for students who learn better by jotting things down, or when the lesson itself requires hard copies of worksheets. Hence, do make sure that your child has  stationery and writing paper on hand!

Finally, it would make the learning process more efficient if students completed their pre-class work in advance  too. Online or not, finishing homework on time is still a must.

3. What else do I need?

You have downloaded and set up the required platform or application. Your child’s writing  materials and worksheets are placed on their desk and right beside them. Are they finally  prepared for the lesson? Well…  not quite. There are just a couple of final checks we should take for every online class. For one, make sure that your device is fully charged or plugged into a power outlet for the duration of the lesson. It would be disruptive if your device runs out of power right smack in the middle of an important segment. 

The internet connection of your house should also be kept strong and stable. If you do not have an Ethernet cable, your best option would be to have your child’s study desk placed as  close as possible to the WIFi router.    

Above all, make sure that your camera, speakers, and microphone are working. The lesson cannot go on if the student or the teacher cannot speak to each other! Not only must the communication systems work, they must also be working well. The quality of the microphone and speakers can make all the difference in increasing understandability. 

Although not absolutely critical, allowing the teacher to see your child clearly with a working, good camera arguably makes the lesson more conducive – teachers are then able to read non-verbal cues, and judge whether students are paying attention, or are unsure of certain parts of the lesson. 

4. What if I need help?

As with any technical system, encountering issues is sometimes inevitable. And that’s no cause for concern! There are many avenues to seek help from.

Firstly, make sure you read any guides, instructions, or manuals given to you. They might provide the answers to whatever technical issues you may face. 

If you would like to have real time support and advice, make sure you have the contact number or email of the support/customer service team.

Remember, do not panic! Although it might be awkward to have delays in the middle of a lesson, it is best to calm down. The support or customer service team will be happy to help you out. So long as you manage to relay your issue clearly, and follow their instructions to the letter, resolving the issue should most likely be a snap!

Conclusion

At the end of the day, online tuition classes are  not all that different from physical ones. The main objective always remains the same – to learn as much, and as efficiently as possible! Once you and your child have familiarised yourselves with the platforms, who knows? You may even find that virtual lessons are your preferred option  as opposed to a traditional classroom setting.