online learning

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present multiple economic, personal, and educational challenges. For parents with school-age children, COVID-19 forced them to function as complementary teachers. Kids moved from the regular in-school schedule to learning via Zoom and other online tools. Navigating learning at home is challenging, and many parents feel they’re alone in terms of support and resources. Thankfully, organizations like BCFS Health and Human Services (CSD) offer expert advice for parents to help them manage home-based learning and set their kids up for success.

The organization’s first recommended step is for parents to create realistic yet achievable goals and expectations for their child’s educational journey. These goals can complement those provided by teachers and the school district. For parents with multiple kids in school, they should adjust goals based on the child’s age and their educational aptitude. CSD suggests shifting these expectations over time as the situation warrants. So, if a child is progressing quickly with their schoolwork and seems bored, the parent could introduce some extra learning to keep them motivated. If instead the student is struggling, the parent could shift expectations and provide the child with additional support to help get them back on track. 

After setting expectations, parents can consider their household’s daily learning routines. This includes providing a designated space for kids to learn, one that’s free from most distractions. Ideally, kids will treat their workspace as they would a communal classroom, by keeping items organized and free of clutter. Parents should establish daily routines for their child, in addition to the class schedule, but also have enough flexibility to account for the different types of learners. For example, an individual child might do best working on math homework immediately after a daily lesson, while another might need a few hours to “digest” the material before diving in. 

Spending such an inordinate amount of time together during quarantine provides an opportunity for parents and kids during the pandemic. CSD suggests parents introduce their kids to chores such as cooking dinner and using the washing machine. For older kids, such actions can prepare them for college and eventually living on their own. Younger kids will likely enjoy cooking a meal for the family and the sights and sounds of the dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum cleaner. Parents can also use this time to talk to their kids about personal finance by, for example, discussing costs such as their mortgage or rent and how insurance works. This type of learning is often neglected in the typical school setting, so it provides a great opportunity for parents to expand their child’s learning to include “real world” lessons.