My Online Learning Experience: Elora Pharai
It is that time of year again: back to school. During this time, I would usually find myself picking out a new backpack, restocking my pencil case, and organizing my binders. However, this year preparing for back to school looks drastically different. In March, it was announced that schools would be closing across the world to diminish the number of cases in the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, after 4 months of doing online schooling, the summer arrived. I spent 2 months bored out of my mind as I was mostly limited to the four walls of my bedroom. At one point I would have given anything to have something to do, including schoolwork. However, as I find back to school approaching with each passing day, I am growing more and more apprehensive. As stated before, back to school this year looks most unlike any other year, since we must adjust to the pandemic. This time, students are being given the option to return to school or not. If not, they will do full-time online learning.
I have chosen to do online school this year. Based on the 4 months that I did online schooling, I noticed that I work a lot harder and put more effort into my work. When I am at home, I tend to feel more confident in myself and my work for I feel less anxious. Each week, my teachers would assign the work at the beginning of the week and place deadlines within the week for certain assignments to be due. This suited me better as a student because it gave me time to plan out when I am doing which assignment. I also noticed that being in my home allowed me to become a lot more inventive and prolific with my work. While my online schooling experience did have many positive aspects, there were also some that I found to be challenging. Some days I found it difficult to focus on my work as I would easily get distracted by my phone or background noises. Sometimes, I also found myself feeling unmotivated and drained. Long story short, it is never an easy task to convert your kitchen into a classroom. However, there were many mechanisms and techniques that I followed to help make the negative parts of my online schooling slightly easier. I have included the ones that I found to be the most efficient below.
Create a Comfortable yet Appropriate Workspace: One of the most important parts of home-schooling is finding a spot in your home that is quiet and non-distracting, yet enjoyable. As students, we have become so accustomed to doing work in our usual school settings. In my experience, I worked at the kitchen table because there was a lot of room on the table for me to spread my work, and it was like working at a desk. Personally, I have never been able to do my homework in my bedroom because I get too easily distracted by everything in it.
Construct a Schedule: Homeschooling is also difficult as it is harder to make yourself follow a routine/schedule. Sometimes, everyday feels like it is the weekend when you have been home for so long. To train myself, I started by creating a daily to-do list of all the assignments that I planned to have finished by the end of the day. I would set my alarm in the morning depending on how much work I had to do that day so that I would not be too cranky. Sometimes I would set time deadlines for myself so that I did not pay too much attention to one assignment and forgot about the other. I also found that creating a calendar to help me keep up with all my work and remember all my due dates was very helpful.
Take Breaks! I have never been much of a person to take breaks. Before quarantine, I used to come home from school, shower, and then do my homework. After that was done, then I relaxed. I never felt the need to take a break, I became so accustomed to having that same routine. However, during quarantine, I noticed how important taking breaks was. I would do work for hours, and I felt hesitant to take breaks because I was so used to just doing hours of work straight. Taking breaks is extremely important as they allow you to relax a little and recharge for the rest of the work that you must do. They can also be helpful in allowing you to clear your head or even take a small nap.
Take Care of Your Mental Health: From an outside perspective, home-schooling may look easy. Regardless, sometimes it can be challenging to keep up with everything and you start to feel overwhelmed. We tend to think that because all we must do is stay home; everything will just be easier. Nonetheless, we must remember that bad days are not just going to stop happening because we are staying in the same spot. Sometimes, things just feel bad even when they seem perfect. It is perfectly normal to have a bad day and to not always feel 100% like yourself. Remember that you must be gentle and patient with yourself.