OTTAWA -- Learning lessons in patience may be the solution to online learning success for teachers, parents and students, according to educator and mother, Julie Findlay.

No one has written the book, or textbook, on this.

“There is no magic solution to the lockdown, and online learning, but there are ways that you can change and adapt to make at home learning more fun,” says Findlay.

“For parents, it is important to have boundaries. Especially now when everyone is working together in the same space. The boundaries were, in the past, separated by the travel time you had to get to work and the time before your children got home from school. Everyone needs a little bit of their own time in their own space.”

Findlay suggests creating some space by allowing at-home learners to move around the house, and adults can do the same.

“Sitting in one spot can be tiring.  Fill a box with learning tools and change locations every once in a while.”

Findlay’s daughter, Meghan, is in Grade 9 at Canterbury High School.

 “Meghan and her high school friends were used to the online learning as they had a weekly schedule of both in person and online. She misses friends but stays in touch via FaceTime and online group games.

“Meghan is also missing the chance to meet new people but enjoys being at home as it’s not as tight schedule and is less stressful and she manages her time to fit her own schedule.”

“My son Jackson is 13, in grade 8, and is engaged in a full day of online learning. 

Some days, he finds it hard to sit still for that long. His teachers have been creative; having them work together in break-out rooms for the students. This allows them to work together and also to interact in smaller groups, saying hello to their classroom friends. “ I hear a lot of laughing during break out rooms.”

Findlay says Jackson’s teachers are trying to manage his schedule for his class to create more free time. He also works ahead on Google classroom so he frees up more time for play.

For teachers, the online learning has put their tech-skills to the test.

“Often teachers are at the disadvantage with technology," she says. “Technology is second nature to the young generation and it is something our teachers are having to learn quickly.” 

Knowing and understanding the way students learn is more innate.

“The teachers are very aware of their students learning styles, and they are working hard to adjust and make changes to the daily routine.”

Findlay says it is important to stay in touch with teachers to discuss your children’s needs. 

“The younger kids are a bit more shy to do so, so do it together.”

Findlay’s tips to stay engaged:

  • Establish a routine: schedule your time and in your breaks. Tip: Make a to do list, organize your time, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Set yourself up for success: build an office on the go. So it allows you to change your scenery as the day goes on.

Stress Busters - Everyone needs a break! 

Important to continue to do the things we all love:

  • Library visit: online story time - online games and podcasts
  • Field Trips: Virtual tours of museums and galleries - or making your own Art Gallery (inside or out)
  • Games: Stay in touch with friends with platforms where you can play with friends (list) or schedule daily visits online with friends. Family games and games that will support learning - Math, Language, Science.
  • The city of Ottawa is providing visual art and recreation programs for all ages

'Field trips'

Museums and galleries:

  • National Gallery of Canada: Virtual NGC presents online access to some of the Gallery’s Canadian, Indigenous and international collections. Plus, kids and adults can get creative with online activities.
  • Canadian Museum of History: The Museum at Home portal brings Canada’s most visited museum to your home, including a 360˚ tour of the Canadian History Hall, exhibitions, crafts, games, films and more.
  • Canadian War Museum: You can access online exhibitions, videos, activities, resources, and even behind-the-scenes content through the Museum at Home portal.