There are millions of U.S. students trying to learn from home during the pandemic. And these millions are guided by overwhelmed parents who are juggling jobs, their home, and schooling. These parents often struggle for resources and advice on the best ways to help their kids with virtual learning. They can rely on advice from organizations such as BCFS System, a national leader in providing educational and care services to children and adults.
A first step for at-home learning is often to provide the child with a dedicated and stress-free place to learn. Whether this is in their room or at the kitchen table, it’s vital for the child to have a clutter-free space that’s just for learning. Parents should ensure kids do not have access to their phones during learning time, and reduce toys, video games, and other distractions. By setting up such a space, parents can hopefully spend more of their time on their own jobs or any housework, and less time policing their kids’ Zoom classes.
BCFS System recommends parents also establish goals and daily expectations for their child learners. This means talking to them about expected grades, as well as when homework assignments should be completed. The parent should function as a complement to the teaching staff by understanding when things are due and providing the child with any needed support. While structure is important, parents should also recognize when their child is struggling and if they need to adjust expectations going forward. Some kids might need to meet with a counselor or need additional virtual meetings with classmates to release some stress and properly focus on schoolwork. The organization encourages parents to act empathetically during this time, as kids are under enormous pressure to adapt to an experience that is far removed from the typical school year.
Parents can also “shake up” their child’s learning by offering them fun ways to express themselves. They can offer painting materials or give them a kit to make pottery at home. Parents can talk to their kids about personal finance or show them how to check the air levels in their tires. There are countless educational resources on YouTube, from videos about taking apart a vacuum cleaner to making sourdough bread. Expanding learning outside the digital classroom provides students a chance to expand upon their interests and gives families a chance to bond instead of fighting over how do to algebra.