There are 50.7 million students currently enrolled in public schools in the United States and when this school year began, 58% of them were learning entirely online and another 18% were receiving a combination of in-person and online instruction. That means that less than one quarter of students are learning entirely in person.
The effectiveness of online learning varies widely, depending on the individual student, the quality of the technology available, the competency of the instructors, and the support of parents. Many students are thriving in the new environment, and are having a fairly easy time of it, but many others are struggling.
What Can Parents Do?
Unaccustomed to being so involved in their child’s education, many parents are overwhelmed with the amount of support needed by their at-home student who is learning remotely. One of the first things a parent needs to do in order to help their child succeed is to become familiar with the technology. Check out these ways you can help your student succeed with online or blended school:
- Set up a Zoom call with a couple of friends or family members; try a Google Meet session, and use the computer, tablet, or other device that your child uses for school. Getting familiar with how to set up a video conferencing call can help you iron out the glitches ahead of time.
- Be sure you’re receiving all communication from your child’s school and teacher(s) and show older students how to respond properly via email and how to upload/download documents. For younger students, you will probably need to manage the administrative tasks for them.
- Maintaining communication with your child’s teacher(s) is especially important when learning takes place online. Teachers are generally happy to answer questions and appreciate parent feedback.
- Sit in (off-camera) on a few sessions of your child’s online learning classes to get a feel for the teacher’s style, the pace, and the amount of interaction that takes place. You may be able to pick up on a few things you can recommend to help your child, and it might spark some questions you can ask the teacher later.
- Create a calendar on paper that helps your student track assignments, due dates, meeting times, test dates, etc. A physical calendar is easier to view than tracking on a computer, and serves as a helpful visual reminder that helps your child organize their time.
- If your child is a more tactile learner, print out assignments and worksheets, and allow them to complete these assignments off line. You can help them convert their work to online, or scan and upload their work to send to the teacher, if that is allowed.
- Reduce distractions and make sure your child gets breaks away from the computer. Adults have a hard time maintaining their focus and attention for long periods of time online, and it is much harder for children.
- Help your child set realistic goals to help them feel competent and accomplished. Teachers are usually good at giving positive reinforcement, but since they are not physically present, it’s helpful if you can give positive feedback to your child as well.
- If it seems that your child is struggling to complete assignments, or is getting lower grades and test scores than they normally would, it may be that your child would benefit from one-on-one tutoring support with a certified teacher. Some students only need help on a short term basis in order to master a new concept or subject, and other students need more ongoing support to stay caught up with the rest of the class. If you’d like to know about the tutoring services we offer at TutorUp, please call us at 877-888-6787, or browse through our tutor profiles and let us know how we can help.