Remote Learning Resources for Parents

Remote learning may be here to stay, at least for a while, according to a recent article in The New York Times. That’s not good news for the many working parents who are burned-out from guiding their children’s education at home. But educational publishers could help parents make the most of their children’s at-home learning.

Many publishers already offer family letters or home-school connection features to keep parents informed. But what about expanding these features to address the remote-learning issues parents are facing? Here are some ideas.

Explain What is Taught and Why

The problem: Unlike teachers, most parents aren’t used to interpreting educational standards or curriculum. They might look over an assignment and wonder why their child has to solve a problem a certain way or write about a specific topic.

The solution: Create parent resources that explain how a lesson or assignment fits into the big picture of grade-level skills and content. Parents can better help their child if they know where their child’s learning is headed.

Help Parents Prioritize

The problem: Although schools may not like to admit it, remote learning often has practical time constraints. If parents have only one free hour a day to help their child with assignments, what should they focus on?

The solution: Parent resources could highlight the most important takeaways from the lesson, unit, or assignment. Publishers could also provide a few different options for activities with varying time commitments. This flexibility would allow parents to reinforce key skills in whatever time they have available.

Provide Quick Refreshers

The problem: Without steady access to their teachers during the school day, who do students turn to when they have questions? Their parents! Unfortunately, parents might be a little rusty when it comes to multiplying fractions or identifying adverbs.

The solution: Parent resources could include quick refreshers on skills and content to jog parents’ memories from long-ago school days. Publishers should also provide helpful links parents can turn to when they are stumped by their child’s work.

This pandemic has shown that teachers are irreplaceable, and everyone is eager for students to get back into the classroom once it is safe. Until then, many families will continue playing a role in their children’s day-to-day schooling. That means educational publishers must be doing all they can to support students, teachers, and parents.


Getting Ready for Fall 2020

If you watched the recent Senate hearings on COVID-19, you are well aware of the conflicting opinions about schools reopening in the fall. Many medical experts caution that they do not fully know how the virus affects children. They argue that schools must have adequate measures in place to prevent staff and students from spreading the virus.

However, some government leaders argue that children are at low risk for virus complications. They believe children will face greater setbacks if they don’t physically return to school.

One thing that most people can agree on is that students are currently experiencing learning loss. Unequal access to resources and support is widening the learning gap between socio-economic groups.

With all of these perspectives in mind, school officials must now answer the challenging question: “How do we proceed?” Assuming physical buildings will reopen, their plans must include:

  1. health and safety procedures
  2. guidance for addressing social-emotional concerns
  3. strategies for assessing and recovering from learning loss

The transition will not be easy. Once again, teachers will be tasked with adopting new instructional approaches. And after months at home, students must readjust to classroom expectations and cooperating with peers.

Which resources could help K6 teachers navigate these uncharted waters? Here are some ideas!

  • Handbooks or worksheets with appealing characters who provide simple explanations of health measures, such as wearing a mask (For young children in particular, equating wearing a mask with being a superhero may ease their apprehensions.)
  • Short videos or science experiments that visually demonstrate why social distancing and washing hands help reduce the spread of germs
  • Social-emotional activities that include emoji cards for identifying and expressing emotions, puppets for role-playing social interactions, and sensory objects for practicing self-regulation
  • Grade-specific support materials to help the many teachers who will have to review or teach large chunks of another grade’s curriculum (Some schools will ask teachers to reteach parts of the previous grade. Other schools may have teachers loop with their 2019—2020 students and continue with the next grade’s content.)
  • Fun enrichment activities for advanced learners to complete independently while educators provide additional help to the learners who suffered most from the extended “summer slide”