Parents with school-aged children rapidly adapted to home learning. As quarantine orders came through and school districts shifted to virtual classrooms, parents had to shift their personal and professional lives to help their kids learn. This new dynamic continues to pose challenges for parents who are juggling their jobs, home, and now instruction. Thankfully, organizations such as BCFS System offer parents guidance on the ways they can help kids learn from home without too much stress and anxiety.
The organization states parents should try their best to provide their kids with a dedicated learning space. This area should be free from distractions such as video game consoles or annoying siblings and provide the child with an area where they can focus. Another tip is for kids to use headphones as they’re listening to Zoom calls and other instruction, while also cutting out the sound of other distractions.
Parents can also improve their child’s learning by setting expectations and goals. This could include an expectation for adherence to a daily schedule and goals in terms of grades. These should be established for each individual child, so if a parent has a 1st grader and a 7th grader there will of course be different expectations for each. Parents should provide structure to the learning day, but also have some flexibility and be open to changes over time. For example, they might find their child completes homework quickly during the evening, after they’ve had time to play outside and take a break from the screen. Or they might need to adjust expectations about grades after seeing how much their child is struggling with the lack of peer interaction. In either case, it’s important for the parent to act dynamically throughout the school year so they’re offering the optimal support for their learner.
Another tip from BCFS System is for parents to engage their kids in non-traditional learning during quarantine. This could include teaching the kids about the parts of a car engine (using YouTube tutorials as a complement) or discussing how mortgages or mutual funds work as part of financial preparedness learning. Kids of all ages might enjoy cooking lessons with their parents, especially if there’s a dessert course involved. Adding some learning outside of the school district curriculum isn’t intended to add to the child’s stress, but instead it should provide a bonding experience for the parent and child who are trying to make it through a tough quarantine period.