The pandemic forced parents around the country to take on a much deeper role in their child’s education. Instead of waking them up, feeding them, and then shuffling them off to school, parents now must ensure their kids are not sleeping during their Zoom classes. Virtual learning poses several challenges for parents, leaving many of them feeling alone and frustrated. Organizations such as BCFS Health and Human Services CSD provide guidance for parents who are navigating virtual learning and want to ensure the absolute best experience for their kids.
CSD recommends parents develop expectations and goals for their student learners. Expectations ensure kids know they’re being held accountable for their actions and performance and provide some structure to the day. Create a daily planner so kids know their class schedule and can see when they have other structured activities or can “just be a kid.” Parents with multiple kids in school should adjust these expectations based on the children’s’ ages and academic aptitudes. A 2nd grader will naturally need a different set of expectations than a junior in high school that’s starting to think about college applications. Parents should also accept that situations change, and they might need to adjust their expectations as the year progresses.
Parents should serve as complements to the teaching staff. This means helping kids to reach out to their teachers when necessary, and helping kids stay on track with submission deadlines. Parents can develop a baseline of understanding about the different platforms their kid’s use to learn, as well as some proficiency at finding further assistance through YouTube or other learning channels. CSD also recommends parents always remember that schoolwork is supposed to help the child to learn, not cause them debilitating stress. If a student is unable to complete an assignment on time, it’s not the end of the world. Work with them and the teacher to find strategies for preventing future late work and to identify if the student just had a bad day or if they need additional resources to help them learn.
CSD encourages parents and students to engage in additional learning at home that isn’t graded and tested. This could include learning how to change a car battery, how to cook an omelet properly, or how to run the washing machine successfully. Parents can also engage with their kids to see if there are other interests they have that are unmet by the traditional school curriculum. Perhaps they want to learn more about astronomy or setting up their own business. Parents and their kids are together an inordinate amount of time during quarantine, so it provides an opportunity to get to know each other’s interests and learn together.