LFH: Learning from Home during COVID-19

Online learning

We are in the midst of a collective struggle the likes of which most of us have never known. As this unseen virus winds its silent way through our global community, we watch its course with the kind of frantic awe that looming uncertainty demands. Our heads are full of questions without clear answers.

When will it hit my city, my neighborhood, my building?

Will it reach my home?

My loved ones?

Me?

How long will this last?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop watching the news.

All over the internet, people are likening our response to this virus with the war efforts of generations past. “Your grandfathers were called to battle,” one post said, “you are being called to sit on your couch. You can do this.” I don’t think it’s so simple. We’re not in the same kind of danger as those shipped out to combat — most of us aren’t in any direct danger at all — but the world is on pause. When it inevitably gets going again, there will be a whole lot of work to make up and problems to solve. We’ll need to bring our very best selves to that work.

For students especially, that means you cannot waste this time spent away from the rhythms of normal life. It will be easy to slip into the suspended animation of boredom and TV binging and video games. But you’ll regret it. Years from now, when you tell your children and grandchildren how you spent the Coronavirus shutdown, how you did your part to flatten the curve and protect the vulnerable, plan to tell them also that you kept your mind sharp, your learning intact, and your spirit at the ready.

We at Gooroo have some advice on how to make learning from home effective.

1. Unplug

It’s going to be harder than ever to resist the magnetic attraction of our smartphones and other gadgets. Humoring the buzzes and pings of News notifications alone could take up half our days with worried skim-reading. While they may appear to offer a solution to the impending problem of boredom, our screens make us more anxious and less available to positive human interaction.

A Forbes survey found that 81% of participants admitted to interrupting conversation, mealtime, or playtime to check their social media, text messages, or email. Social isolation makes this problem even trickier because we will need our devices to keep in touch with friends and family, to share updates, and ensure the safety of those we love. So we’ve got to set limits. Make sure that you and your family devote at least a couple hours of your day to being present. No phones, no computers, no social media. Just be together. This will limit your anxiety, ease the tension of cohabitating in close quarters, and make it easier to learn and work effectively from home.

2. Keep active and maintain a routine

For many of us, the most difficult thing about learning from home will be the disruption to our routine. In order to stay productive and mentally sharp, write up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Try to fashion it around the schedule you follow at school, but feel free to bend it to your own needs. This is a really useful exercise in learning how to plan your own days, a skill that becomes increasingly important as you get older. Negotiate with yourself, ask: “How can I be productive and have a day I’ll enjoy?” Think of ways to reward yourself for getting done the things that need doing. And make sure to include exercise in your plans. The cognitive benefits of exercise are unmatched: even 20 minutes of aerobic activity in the morning will improve your executive functioning, attention, memory, and mood.

3. New approaches to learning

Use this time to learn things you’ve always wanted to know. There are so many online options to make learning from home effective. Take a virtual class on YouTube from any number of elite colleges and universities, including Yale, UC Berkely, and Oxford. Find tutorials on budgeting, taxes, and other facets of personal financing. Learn how to change a tire, read the Constitution, memorize and cook a few go-to recipes. This is also a perfect opportunity to brush up on concepts and skills that have gone rusty with time.

4. Gooroo’s learning from home options

At Gooroo, we offer online tutoring options to keep our students motivated and engaged, even from a distance. We’re here to help you make the best possible use of this pause in normal life. Additionally, with schools closing due to COVID-19, Gooroo is offering 25% off online tutoring.

Despite the uncertainty and anxiety we all face, we can feel optimistic that the world is banding together to defeat a common enemy. Hopefully, this virus will inspire us to embrace our best selves, to take care of each other, to view ourselves globally and in all ways as inter-dependent and connected beings. As we work together to return our lives to whatever new normal awaits us, we can all use this rare moment to take a clear-headed break from the perpetual treadmill of the high-intensity, over-stimulating lives we have known. To remember what’s important.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed, and stay sharp.

Written by Hope Chow

About the Author

Hope Chow

Hope Chow