Home & Family
Many schools have temporarily closed their doors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This strategy has presented many challenges for working parents and their children. One of the greatest challenges is having to supervise a child’s overall learning while working remotely from home. Although this is intimidating for many, there are actions parents can take for at-home learning and to minimize stress. By working together, you and your child can make at-home learning experiences as rewarding and effective as in-school learning.
Talk to Your Child
Children, just as adults, are frightened and confused about the pandemic. These feelings are increased when children are not able to go to school or when they see and hear the negative impacts of the virus on the news. Because children tend to personalize situations, they may quietly worry about what may happen to them and other people. Therefore, parents should encourage their child to share their feelings. This will help to improve understanding and to minimize stress associated with the virus and at-home learning. Be sure to listen if a child shares his or her fears and thoughts. Be open and honest when responding. Let them know they are safe and at-home learning will work out fine.
Remember, a child learns from watching their parents. They watch how parents respond to news about the virus and to learning at home. Assure children that at-home schooling will work for you and for them.
Create a Space for Learning
Identify a space for learning with your child, regardless of the size of your home. The space should be away from distractions, such as television, outside noises, or visitors. Make sure it has good lighting, preferably natural lighting. It should be in a location where you can monitor your child. The space should contain a clean surface and a comfortable chair.
Also, be sure the selected space has an outlet for connecting the computer or other electronic devices. Place needed school supplies in the selected space along with visuals such as posters or maps. However, do not clutter the space with too many visuals and keep things organized within the space. Help the child to consistently use the designated space for learning each day.
Establish a Schedule
In order to provide structure for your child, create a schedule that details a starting and ending time for the school day. Before developing the schedule, talk with your child’s teachers to obtain class schedules. Include your child in developing a weekly school-day schedule that includes times for waking up, lessons, snacks, movement breaks, lunch, socializing, and bedtime. If your child receives free or reduced meals (breakfast and/or lunch), check with the school or school district to determine what processes or procedures are in place.
For younger children, establish virtual play dates or study groups so that your child continues socializing with friends and classmates. Get your child into the routine of following the school-day schedule. Post the schedule within the child’s designated space so they are aware of daily activities.
Stay connected to your child’s teachers and school officials. Email teachers to find out what your child needs to know. When needed, ask the teacher for help and clarification of any assignments. Express to your child’s teachers any concerns you may have regarding learning or progress. Seek out the various types of academic services and support the school offers, and don’t be afraid or ashamed to use them. For example, if you have problems with connectivity, contact the school’s technology experts to help you.
Also, remember that online resources, such as YouTube and other educational websites, can help bring you up to speed with learning new concepts. They can also refresh your skills in various academic areas, so that you can help your child.
Monitor Your Child
Make sure your child understands how to engage in online learning. Monitor their level of engagement and interest in class assignments. Check to see if they are attentive. During class time, limit your child’s use of devices other than those needed to complete classwork. Have your child put away his or her phone until break time. If you are concerned about them being on social media or other sites while classes are in session, speak to the school’s IT experts about software to prevent this from happening. Be vigilant in observing and supervising your child.
Take a deep breath and assure yourself that things will one day get back to normal. Try not to get frustrated with your child or yourself if things aren’t going as planned. Understand that everything is not perfect. Realize this is not only a huge challenge for you, it is just as much a challenge for your child. So, be patient and don’t try to make your child progress at your pace. Allow your child to move at his or her pace. Remember that every child is wonderfully different.