How to Keep Kids Engaged in Learning at Home

By Sylvan Learning

High School

Most schools are sending home homework packets, doing online learning, or assigning work at home that would have normally done in the classrooms – or a combination of everything. Emily Levitt, Sylvan’s VP of Education, shares some advice for parents who are helping their children learn at home in this short video. Plus, check out the tips below!



Here are a few tips on how you can help navigate the “new normal” of keeping up with school work happening at home:


Set a schedule.

By now most teachers are communicating how and when they will assign work and some teachers may have assignments automatically posting at a certain time each day. Whatever you know as far as the workload, develop a reasonable schedule that will work for your family.

Not all work has to be done during the school day.

  • Parents can draw up a schedule for each subject and set expectations with their children on when they are going to do work.
  • For working parents, this can be tough but trying to put assignments the child can be more self-sufficient with during the hours they need to work and having some of the tougher assignments scheduled when a parent or adult can be available.
  • With the cancellation of activities, kids are going to have a lot of unstructured free time. Having some structure to that knowing they still need to be completing work is very important.
  • Also, start right away – most schools started closures today. Don’t put off having the schedule and structure in place for a few days.


Start the day with movement.

Kids concentrate better after they’ve exercised. Consider having your kids start the day with an activity that gets them moving! Take a walk in the neighborhood, do some jumping jacks, complete an online workout (tons of companies are offering free trials for programs right now!)


Create a distraction-free atmosphere.

Try to set up a place in your house that can be the kids’ own space. Make sure it’s a simple, well-lit area with no distractions. And make sure they have the materials they need ready to go – pens, pencils, erasers, markers, calculators, etc.


Set goals.

Helping your child know what is expected during this time will help you all navigate with less complaining and fighting. Everyone is under a bit more stress than normal, including our children, but setting goals and being clear on expectations (even daily) will help.


Allow for space/breaks.

Don’t try to cram the weeks’ worth of work into a few hours.

If kids are rested, they are more inclined to stay focused. A rested brain means the brain is ready to work and is in “absorption” mode, not recovery-and spent mode.


Don’t forget the meals.

This is all unprecedented for us. One of the things that could fall off is the schedule of how your child eats. Having your child well fed before you are tackling work will help them work better.


Create virtual study or work group.

Where appropriate, have you child work together with other students from his or her class virtually. Use online group chats for both support and some much needed socializing. Working in groups can help students understand a concept and potentially complete assignments faster and with more understanding. The groups needs to be small and the students each need to do their own work to maximize benefit.


Make sure your child is reading. 

Even if their teacher hasn’t assigned reading, make sure your child has a book that they will enjoy available and keep them engaged in reading.


Explore your resources for help. 

Places like Sylvan have a wide variety of resources to help children – both in times like this and all the time. Teaming up with a Sylvan tutor now is a great way to ensure your child’s skills stay sharp to resume school with ease later.

  • Free Online Resources. There are many free online resources out there to help with learning. Sylvan’s FREE resources website,, is always free to any parent with educational support, tips, worksheets, a teacher resources section, videos and more.  Depending on what supplemental support you are looking for, some free online resources can really help.
  • Live, Online Tutoring. We have always personalized our learning and now many of our Sylvan locations can bring that same supplemental and personalized educational support to your home via our live, online tutors. Our curriculum has always been digital so we were able to quickly adapt to the requirements that are needed now. For anyone looking for additional supplemental support or help navigating all of the work that is needed to do at home, we are really flexible and we have certified instructors that can jump right in and help!


Think Positively.

Even in an uncertain time like this, we need to continue to put forth positive thoughts around learning for kids.  Your child has worked so hard to reach this point of the school year, so remind him or her know that these assignments matter and that continued learning is necessary to help keep up the momentum of the school year.

Convey that to your children throughout the weeks ahead. And remember, you’re not alone! Sylvan is here to support you.