Five Tips for Work-From-Home Parents (Virtual Learning)

March 2020 was a pivotal time for the education system. The covid-19 pandemic shifted from in-school learning to virtual/online learning for children. Many school districts across the country were forced to close schools and find a remote way of learning. From March to June 2020, virtual instruction consisted of paper packets of coursework sent home by the school and using online resources taught by teachers.

Students, as well as parents were affected by the pandemic as well. Because of the CDC guidelines, jobs were allowing their employees to telework or work from home. Being quarantined at home made it a cluster for students, parents and teachers alike. Our lives have been great affected in many ways because of covid19.

Teachers were implementing new school curriculum that is for virtual instruction. Students were learning in new ways through online school platforms and Google Meet daily meetings. Parents had the daunting task to help provide educational support for their children and still being able to telework while the children were at home. On the other hand, some parents are not able to telework and have to rely on other ways for their children to have assistance with virtual learning.

Luckily, I am the parent who has been able to telework during this entire pandemic. It is a good thing that work for a federal agency that strived to minimize face-to-face interactions so they implemented maximum use of telework flexibility for all employees.

For the 2020-2021 school year, the school district invoked full-time virtual learning. Teachers provided daily schedules and expectations for the school year. The class schedules consisted of subject-focused Google Meet meetings, short brain breaks, and an hour-long lunch break. Being a full-time working mother, I had to find methods to make online instruction easier for myself and my children.

Below are five tips for work-from-home parents to help their children and to help minimize extra work for the parents as they continue to telework.

1. Have a designed space for the “home classroom”

Since the kids are not in an actual classroom, they need a space that is the “home classroom.” If possible, the designated place should be a bright quiet room with a desk or table. Making your child personalize this place will make them want to learn there!

At times, a child may want to change their location to learn. Try to be flexible, within reason to accommodate a child's choice. It may be beneficial or it may not, as a parent you can make that decision.

2. Be prepared with all materials

In the beginning of the year, a list of school supplies is sent home. Every morning, I would wake up to ensure all the materials were at their desk.

For example. a number rack for my 1st grader and dry-erase board with markers for my 3rd grader. In addition, I would make sure their Chromebook was fully charged.

3. Keep a home routine too

The class schedule allows students to be on time for virtual meetings and be ready to learn every subject in a day. It is important to establish a home routine as well to ensure the school schedule goes as planned.

For my household, the children have alarm clocks to wake them up an hour before classes begin. They will use the bathroom, brush their teeth, eat breakfast and watch some television before start time at 8:45 am.

4. Be flexible if they need help

For my school-age children, the classwork is completed during Google Meets with their teachers. When the classwork is more time-consuming, teachers will tell the students to finish it after school. If that happens, I will designate time when school is over to help each child.

As a work-from-home mother, I have to be flexible during the school hours as well. It is hard for teachers to help each student individually during the set class times. Therefore, when one of my children ask for clarification on an assignment, I am here to help. Since my oldest children are in 1st and 3rd grade, this happens frequently.

5. Embrace online learning

Virtual learning can be exhausting for the student, teacher and parent. However, it is important to embrace all types of learning. It is vital for a child to have a strong educational background, no matter if it is virtual or in-person. I strive for my children to focus in class, listen to the teacher, complete assignments to the best of your ability and want to earn good grades.

After class, I make sure that I show interest in their day. For ten minutes, we talk about what each child learned in class. I ask them what was the most interesting and least interesting that the teacher taught. Typically, my son will answer these questions and be finished with our conversation. While, my daughter will want to elaborate and I will let her speak as much as she wants. It is important to socialize with your children and get this necessary feedback.

How has virtual learning been for your household?