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How giving kids a ‘Genius Hour’ can help increase motivation amid COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Tips to keep your kids motivated for school' Tips to keep your kids motivated for school
Parenting expert Sunny Verma joins 'The Morning Show' to share essential tips to keep your children motivated for both in-class and online learning – Apr 5, 2021

As the end of the school year approaches, finding motivation for both in-person and online schooling can be difficult for young students.

According to parenting expert Sunny Verma, implementing a Genius Hour during students’ days can be a great initiative to help them along.

While Genius Hour was originally designed by Google to let employees use 20 per cent of their time for company-based initiatives, Verma says some classrooms have also introduced it.

Read more: Parents get to choose online or in-person for their children for 2021-2022 school year

For Genius Hour, students spend one hour per week on a passion project of their choice to advance their learning or help develop a new skill, he says.

“Now teachers are reporting that kids have sunk their teeth into things like starting a podcast or creating a new community on Minecraft, or even picking up a new instrument… The options are endless,” says Verma.

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During a difficult time — like the COVID-19 pandemic — allowing kids to pick and choose their project can help them be back in the “driver’s seat” of their education, Verma explains.

Read more: Parents get to choose online or in-person for their children for 2021-2022 school year

“This is allowing them to fall back in love with learning… Kids are taking ownership of their own learning. This is amazing for them.”

To implement Genius Hour, Verma advises parents take three steps: Speak to their child on what they’d like to learn, schedule an hour a week for them to work on a project and follow up with them to keep tabs on their progress.

Additionally, Verma suggests separating Genius Hour from homework time.

Read more: Morale at an ‘all-time low’ — Post-secondary students grapple with COVID-19 fatigue

“Genius Hours should be something that we get our kids enthused about. It should not feel like homework, it should not feel like a chore,” he says.

“It’s really important to take the term homework and actually remove it from the equation of Genius Hour.”

When it comes to tutors, Verma also says while academic tutors can help students catch up or prepare for tests, they can also help institutionalize initiatives like Genius Hour within households.

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Read more: What in-person schooling could look like post-pandemic

“They can have that conversation with your child to see actually what gets their eyes lit up, what gets them excited about learning,” he says.

“They can hold them accountable… and most importantly, they can be that mentor and coach that every single student needs, especially in this crazy school year.”

Watch Verma’s full interview with ‘The Morning Show’ in the video above.

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