Entering 2021, many school districts continue to offer virtual-only learning. Until the pandemic is further under control, millions of students are learning at home. This puts strain on not just the students who miss social interaction and the structure of a school day, but also on busy parents who must play a different role with their child’s learning. Parents should leverage resources such as the tips from nonprofit organization BCFS Health and Human Services CSD to help them navigate virtual learning. The organization unites communities through improving education and employment opportunities while helping parents with classes and financial education services.
CSD recommends parents’ first step in virtual learning is to set clear yet dynamic goals and expectations for their child learners. These goals should be created in tandem with those set by teachers and the school district and should serve as a roadmap for the child’s success. Setting expectations for participation and effort means parents can set the tone for their kids and improve the odds they won’t fall behind their classmates. These expectations can also shift over time, to account for situations where kids are completing their work quickly and need more challenges, and those were kids need additional resources and patience to complete homework and other projects.
After setting expectations, CSD suggests parents turn their attention to daily routines. They recommend looking at current stumbling blocks to the child’s learning. Perhaps they need a dedicated workspace or to reduce clutter to focus. Some kids learn better at different times, so perhaps the parent can allow their child to complete homework in the evening if that works better and it gives the child time to play outside. Other kids might need to dive into their work right after class so it’s fresh in their minds. The key point for parents is to establish structure, but to allow for some dynamic changes as the school year progresses.
The organization also supports the learning of “real world” skills for at-home students. Parents can take this opportunity to teach their kids how to operate the washer and dryer, how to fold clothes, and how to stack the dishwasher so dishes come out clean. Older kids might enjoy cooking for the family or learning more about budgeting, saving, and the costs for boring parental expenditures like insurance, mortgages, and the cell phone bill. This type of learning can provide bonding opportunities for parents and their kids and help relieve some of the tedium from the child’s traditional virtual classes.