5 Tips for Parents of Virtual Learners

For the past three months we have heard about the “new normal.” While we may have had a few months to come to grips with how the 2020-21 school year may look, many have believed that it will be anything but normal. We are here to help – not only by tutoring your children who may need some extra help, but also by providing you with some practical ideas to make virtual learning a little easier. The best part of these tips is that they are not really “new” and they are perfectly normal. The trick is applying them to this time we live in now:

  1. Establish routines and expectations:

Many parents do this anyway during the school year– the kids have a set time they get up (or at least attempt to get up), they usually follow a schedule around getting ready and when they need to be out the door. When they return home from school there are established routines and expectations that must be followed. Why should this time be any different? The routines and expectations may change, but having them is likely not anything new. But, because this is uncharted territory, there needs to be flexibility. Talk with your child about how the routine is working. Adjust as necessary. Keep normal school year routines for homework, device time, and bed times. 

  1. Establish a suitable learning space:

The kitchen table may be a good place for nightly homework but it may not be appropriate for a full day of school. Not only should the learning space be free from distractions but it should also feel like a space that your child can call their own. While the child’s bedroom may be a place they can call their own and is free from distractions, parents need to consider if it is an appropriate place where they can monitor their child’s learning activities and whether having the bedroom as the classroom would impact their ability to have a place where they can also escape and sleep.  

  1. Stay connected with your child’s learning

This is not really new. Parents are usually involved in their child’s learning – at least by checking in on homework assignments. The difference here is that parents must also stay connected with teachers through learning platforms, and, in some schools, this may be multiple platforms. Find out how to contact your child’s teachers, counselors, and other support staff. 

  1. Give student’s their space (without neglecting #3) 

In a traditional classroom, the students are separated from their parents and can operate in their own way and at their own pace. Let the teachers be the teachers so you can be the parent. If your child is struggling with an assignment during a virtual classroom, they may come to you for help. But, what if they were in an actual school classroom, would they have you right there to help? Would you be able to encourage and help? No. 

Let the teachers teach. Don’t be afraid to let your child figure things out on their own and encourage them to go to their teachers for help first. 

  1. Know when to ask for help

Many of the same resources available to students and parents during a traditional school year are available at this time. Reach out to the teachers and find out what is available.  Many schools have a list of tutors who can help (and we happen to know a few good ones). 

Let’s work together as parents, students, and educators to make the 2020-21 school year a great year for all.