The ongoing pandemic forced parents to act as their child’s secondary teacher. Since most learning happens in the home, parents are more involved with keeping their kids motivated and on schedule. Managing this difficult time is challenging for even the most organized and energetic parents. Getting through this period is also lonely, as many parents feel they lack guidance from their school districts. To overcome this gap, parents should consider some advice from the experts at nonprofit organization BCFS Health and Human Services CSD. This organization works in communities to improve employment and educational opportunities that reduce poverty and support overall wellness. 

The organization suggests parents set expectations and goals for their student learners. These goals could relate to the student’s grades, their daily study time, and other expectations that will reduce stress and keep the family working together as a team. Parents could set an expectation of 30 minutes of independent reading a day, or that their child will finish homework by a certain time. While structured expectations are wise, CSD also suggests parents remain open to changing any routines that aren’t working. Some kids might do better completing homework in the evening. Others might need additional resources and time to help them complete math assignments. The organization recommends parents shift expectations as needed to support the student as much as possible during this difficult time.

Setting a home learner up for success means providing them with a quality work area that’s free from distractions. CSD suggests parents to declutter their child’s desk and limit access to electronic devices during school hours. Another tip is to ensure kids get plenty of exercise, whether it’s a 20-minute walk or jumps in a trampoline. Exercise can greatly reduce the child’s stress levels and improve their focus during Zoom calls. 

Another tactic for parents is to expand the type of “learning” that happens in the home. They can find new ways to teach kids about responsibility by showing them how to do laundry or prepare simple meals. They can take apart old appliances and electronics and use the internet to identify specific parts and how they function. Adding this type of learning shouldn’t place more stress on the child, so CSD recommends finding lessons that are fun and engaging and help the student better conquer their English, math, history, and other core subjects.