Virtual vs. Classroom Learning: Choosing for Your Child

Schools across the country are handling COVID-19 differently. Some have resumed in-person teaching with protective measures. Some are entirely online, and still others have adopted a blended approach. A few, like many schools in New York City, are giving the choice to families. At these schools, each household makes their own decisions about sending their children back to the classroom or learning from home.


However, not all families have stuck with their initial choice. Last week, the NYC Department of Education announced that the majority of students were opting for virtual-only learning. This is the first time that virtual students have outnumbered students in blended or in-person classes.


Why are some families and students changing their minds about virtual vs. classroom learning? There are a few big reasons.


  • Safety. The pandemic situation seems to shift every week. While some regions seem barely affected by the COVID-19 virus, other communities have seen a resurgence of infections. What felt secure to some families a month ago now seems unnecessarily risky. Keeping kids at home limits the whole household’s potential exposure to the virus. For some families, this benefit alone is enough to opt for remote learning.


  • Flexibility. Thanks to the pandemic, many families have had changes in work schedules and childcare options. In some cases, families need more hands on-deck at home. Kids who need to watch younger siblings or prepare dinner for the family can still tune into lectures while helping out. Pre-recorded materials provide even more flexibility. Students can also save valuable time by dropping their commute in favor of a quick login.

  • Learning resources. Some students have benefited immensely from the learning resources available to them in a virtual learning environment. Recorded lectures can be paused, rewound, and replayed while students copy notes or review for a test. They also may be more likely to seek out additional tutorials on the internet during asynchronous class periods if they are struggling with a particular topic.


On the other hand, plenty of families are electing to keep their kids in the classroom, either full- or part-time. For these families, the benefits of virtual learning are outweighed by other boons.


  • Face-to-face interaction. Classroom learning can make communication between student and teacher much more efficient, and students may focus better in a classroom environment. Face-to-face interaction also provides better socialization than a virtual environment. Even micro-interactions like eye contact, passing around materials, and chatting during breaks can have huge benefits for social development and mental health.

  • Routine. While you can create a routine at home with a virtual learning schedule, it may be harder to maintain than a routine based on going to campus. Having separate spaces for work and leisure helps generate structure. This can help make work more productive and leisure more restful when incorporated into a routine. Routines also help with mental health by creating a sense of normalcy and predictability.

  • Childcare options. If all the adults in the family are working outside the home, then school may be the best childcare option. Young children who can’t be left alone at home benefit greatly from the structure, stimulation, and supervision of a school environment. Even for older students, classroom learning can be great just for keeping them on-task if they are prone to distractions when unsupervised.


Ultimately, only you can choose the best option for your own family. Depending on your situation, the decision between virtual vs. classroom learning may be an easy one. If you’re struggling to decide, you can carefully consider the listed benefits and discuss them with your family.


Finally, if you’re looking for a solution that combines all of the benefits listed here, check out our IDEA Lab Plus program! In socially-distanced learning pods, your child will have the support of an in-person teacher while participating in their school’s virtual learning program. Get the best of both worlds by finding your nearest IDEA Lab Kids location.

Why STEAM Workshops Are the Perfect Friday Night Activity?

STEAM is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics combined with the arts. It is a learning approach that can help young learners develop critical analysis skills, problem-solving, and creativity. Learning this way could prepare the kids for a brighter future while overcoming any challenge that may come their way. That said, you may want to consider letting your kids enjoy STEAM workshops at least once a week to let them experience design-based learning. Some learning facilities that specialize in STEAM learning offer workshops every Friday night, and they span around 1.5 to 3 hours.


Make Friday nights less boring


Learning does not have to be a boring activity when it follows the STEAM method. Through STEAM workshops, kids are engaged in one hands-on project they must complete and take home for an innovative and unique experience.


There are many different STEAM workshops available to kids, where each has unique themes like hydraulics, racing, and drone-building. Rest assured, all are carefully designed, planned, and executed to provide the best STEAM-powered learning experiences.


And because we are talking about the STEAM approach, the ‘arts’ aspect is included as well. Arts and cooking workshops come with options like mixed-media design, textiles, holiday baking championships, canvas painting, and much more.


Fun and imaginative workshops for young learners


STEAM workshops provide a fun and engaging way to experience the concepts of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. They can make Friday nights less stale and encourages creativity in young learners. That way, kids can learn to think outside the box and realize that those concepts are not boring.


If you are looking for STEAM workshops for kids, check out IDEA Lab Kids. We even have a Parent’s Night Out workshop, a way for the grownups to enjoy some time by themselves while the kids are enjoying fun-filled hands-on STEAM activities.


Is Investing in A Child’s Education Franchise Profitable?

One of the keys to success is a good education. However, not all young learners will find that enticing, as it is not uncommon for some students to find school boring. In some cases, the school may not even provide the skills they require to become successful in the future. If you are on a mission to change that and offer better learning experiences, investing in a child’s education franchise can be a good idea. It may even be profitable for you, especially if you choose the right franchise with the proper program to address the ongoing learning issues in your area.


Meet the growing demand to improve the quality of education for children


Education franchises can be profitable when they can meet the needs for kids to succeed academically. These days, many different schools are open for franchising, such as tutorial centers, summer camps, and those offering workshops.


It is easy to get started in a child’s education franchise, too, as you do not need to have a background or experience in education to qualify. Franchisors offer extensive training to their franchisees to ensure that their program can be delivered within their standards in all locations. Franchise business models for these schools also require hiring highly qualified educators.


However, it may be important that you enjoy what you are doing. That said, an education franchise may be good for you if you have a passion for enriching children’s lives and providing high-quality education to them.


Convinced? If you are interested in investing in a child’s education franchise, consider IDEA Lab Kids, an educational STEAM based enrichment franchise that will ensure that your new venture can be profitable in the long run. To learn more about franchising with IDEA Lab Kids, visit




5 Ways Kids Can Strengthen Their Mental Health During COVID-19

World Mental Health Day (October 10) has lots of parents wondering how to help with their kids’ mental health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. How are kids dealing with isolation from friends? What is it like to experience a pandemic but not fully understand it? How can family members support each other with current challenges?


While there are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions, families can take small steps to make a huge impact on kids’ mental health. These five tips will help you connect with your child and help them thrive emotionally even during the most challenging times.


  • Recognize signs of mental health struggles. Moods or actions that we might first label as surly might actually be symptoms of stress, sadness, or frustration. Low energy, irritability, and emotional outbursts are classic examples, but mental health struggles can also manifest in other ways. In addition, keep an eye out for excessive or undirected energy, social withdrawal, clinginess, and changes in your child’s eating or sleeping habits. If you acknowledge these tendencies as signs of stress instead of as lapses in character or behavior, you’ll be better able to support your child.

  • Provide unconditional love and support. While this may seem like a no-brainer for many parents, it becomes difficult in practice once you factor in your own struggles plus any behavior changes in your child. “Tough love” may be a tempting tactic when we know that the outside world won’t always be as forgiving as our parenting. That said, the real world is pretty tough right now as it is. Your compassion will go a long way with your child, so don’t forget to remind them that you’re there for them.

  • Boost self-confidence and self-esteem. An unpredictable environment can make kids feel like they’ve lost control over part of their lives. To counter this, help them increase their self-confidence. Give them tasks that they can achieve at a high level, and provide positive reinforcement when they complete them. For example, try asking them for help with meaningful household projects like cooking dinner or cleaning out the garage. They’ll be even more enthusiastic if they’re making their favorite meal or if the newly-made space in the garage can be used to store a new bike. If you own your house or have your landlord’s permission, letting them repaint their room can be a fun and rewarding task!

  • Learn active coping strategies. Have you ever heard of  the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems? Your sympathetic nervous system promotes fight-or-flight responses, while your parasympathetic nervous system controls rest-and-digest functions. Each of these can be triggered with sensory input. In other words, you and your child can “cheat” your way into certain feelings by seeking out certain sensory experiences! To energize your child out of sadness or lethargy, try citrus scents, cold drinks, and some light movement (like active stretching or a brisk walk). To relax out of an anxious or agitated state, have your child try lavender scents, a warm foot bath, or lying on their back while breathing deeply.

  • Play! Finally, never ever underestimate the power of play. Play gives your child the space to create, learn, and socialize in an organic, spontaneous way. Join your child in games or activities that they already enjoy—they’ll probably jump at the chance to introduce you to their favorite hobby! Whether it’s a trading card game, home handicrafts, or creating TikTok videos, you’ll have an opportunity to bond with your child and help them establish comfort in normalcy. If you think you child might enjoy some DIY science projects, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter! The IDEA Lab Kids’ STEAM @ Home newsletter delivers fun activities to your inbox once a week, which means you’ll never run out of opportunities for your child to play.