Helping Parents Manage Virtual Learning- A Teacher’s Perspective
During this unprecedented time of social distancing in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, C.A.S.E. is committed to providing resources for parents and families.
Contributing author and middle school science teacher Holly Rainville, shares her perspective on how to help parents of middle school children manage virtual learning. – Read her article below and submit questions for Holly!
Helping Parents Manage Virtual Learning for Middle Schoolers:
A Teacher’s Perspective
by Holly Rainville, Middle School Science Teacher
Emails, notifications, zoom meetings, office hours, online assignments, discussion boards, and more; this is what school has become for students all across the country during the COVID-19 health crisis of 2020.
The traditional classroom with schedules and clear routines has been replaced with online learning that comes with much uncertainty. Students need help and support from their parents during this time. Where does a parent start? How can a parent know what to do when suddenly their child’s learning is happening in the home, instead of safely in a classroom? I’ve been teaching middle school for the last 5 years, and I have some advice for parents who have now become educators in their own home.
Here’s what you can do as a parent:
- Be patient and forgiving.
- Your child, their teachers, and parents are all navigating this new form of learning for the very first time. Be patient with your children and forgive them if they aren’t succeeding at first. There will be a learning curve, and your child will learn at their own pace.
- Create a schedule.
- You and your child might sit down together every Monday and create a schedule for the week. Middle School kids typically don’t want to be told what to do (I don’t need to tell you that), but if you sit with them and create the schedule together, they will be much more likely to follow it. Teachers should be posting their expectations each week, and you and your child can map out when they will complete each task for each class. Students can keep a checklist each week to track their own progress.
- Create a learning space.
- Reserve a space somewhere in the house for your child as their workspace. This could be anything from a spot in the home office, to a spot at the kitchen table, or maybe a corner of their room with a pillow for them to sit on.
- Be realistic with the amount of time that they are working each day. The common suggestion is that middle school students work no more than 2 hours a day.
- Be respectful of their space and time. If everyone is home, it can be distracting and overwhelming for a student who is trying to work. A suggestion would be to create a “quiet time” for everyone in the house during their learning time. No TV, games, or loud conversations while your child is having school time.
- Make sure they have technology! Contact your child’s principal and/or counselor if you need a computer or wifi for them. Your school and school district will help you get your child what they need.
- Reach out to their teachers!
- Teachers want to help right now. Please share any questions, concerns, or messages from the kids with their teachers. Teachers are the people creating the expectations and the learning, and so they are the best resources that you and your children have.
- Better yet: help your children write the emails themselves. Students should get used to communicating with their teachers online.
These ideas are a way for parents to start creating the schedule and routines that students need to succeed in their new classroom at home. When in doubt, my best advice is to ask for help from your school community.