When the pandemic hit the United States in the early spring of 2020, parents could not likely imagine they would be helping teach their kids from home for the foreseeable future. COVID-19 transformed the lives of millions of parents who shifted from rushing their kids off to school in the morning to becoming the “home principal” that had to keep kids on track all day. Virtual learning comes with several challenges for students and parents, who often feel they need more support and guidance. Helping with the virtual learning transition is organizations such as BCFS Health and Human Services CSD, a nonprofit organization that provides an array of capabilities to improve education and employment opportunities.
The organization’s first recommend initiative for parents with home learners is to set reasonable expectations. This means establishing guidelines for the kids about what they will accomplish during the day, as well as the grades they’re expected to maintain. Parents can help students hit these marks by encouraging the use of daily planners that keep kids on track. These expectations should provide structure to the day, but the parents also need to ensure they give their kids time for creative expression as well as unstructured play.
Parents can help their children to succeed with virtual school by serving as complementary teaching staff. For example, they can talk to the teachers when their child is falling behind on their work or when the parent needs additional resources to help kids learn a certain subject matter. CSD encourages parents to learn more about the different platforms kids are using for learning, so they can better understand the contextual situation when the child raise concerns. Parents should also reinforce to kids that school is supposed to help them learn, it’s not supposed to be overly stress inducing or punitive. So, if a child misses a homework assignment, or can’t complete a project because of a Wi-Fi outage, parents should try to empathize and try to provide guidance instead of punishment.
To break up traditional school learning, CSD recommends parents take the opportunity to teach their kids valuable lessons. For example, they can share monthly budgets with older kids and help them understand personal finance. For younger kids they can explore how to do laundry or how to properly load the dishwasher. Parents and their kids are together a considerable amount of time during quarantine, so adding some fun lessons and play is a great way to break the monotony.