With all of the difficulties of learning from home, there has been a growing concern that some children who have or have had to learn remotely are falling behind. If this is true for your family, you and your child are not alone! There are some things you can do to help this situation:
- Keep up with your child’s online learning. Read and respond to any emails you get from the teacher, and keep your child on task. It can be difficult because it requires the parent to have yet another responsibility in this already hectic year. Some things that can help are giving your child a space just for study and using punishments and rewards to keep her doing her work as assigned. Consider dividing up responsibilities between spouses or an older child. For instance, math and science could be the responsibility of one parent, while reading, history, and geography could be with another.
- Get supplemental materials and games. There are free educational games online and on your phone or laptop to keep your child engaged in learning. Ask your teacher for recommendations, or look them up.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are all in the same boat. If your child is having problems with something and you don’t know how to help him, first ask the teacher. If the teacher doesn’t have a good answer, ask online. There are numerous videos and tutorials online, such as Khan Academy, that can help you help your child.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate. Locally, parents had to take to the street to get the school district to help parents who had no internet access. We do have some tips here to help you get online, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If the first person you ask doesn’t give you an answer you like, go to the next person up until you get the answers you need.
- Get outside help. Look online for tutors, or link up with a pandemic pod to get help for yourself and your child with online learning.
- Be flexible. What works for some families might not work for you, and that’s OK. What works one day might not work the next. Step back and reassess from time to time, and pivot if you need to in order to do whatever is best for your child and your family.
- Chill. Freaking out about the situation isn’t going to help anybody. It will just raise everyone’s anxiety and make everyone fall even further behind. Also, if everyone is in the same boat, is your child really that far behind? These are far from ideal circumstances, so don’t compare your child to a child in those ideal circumstances. Take a break, if you need to — as you deserve it!
Remember, there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. Your child will grow, learn, and adapt through this. And so will you.
By Bethanie Ryan