The Working Parent’s Guide to eLearning

This year has brought many unique challenges, especially in the world of academics. While eLearning isn’t a new feature in classrooms, it is one that wasn’t as widely used as it is now. Rather than having a small number of remote learners, schools suddenly had to find a way to teach all or most of their student body from home.

eLearning provides many obvious solutions. It sounds easy. The technology is already available. All schools have to do is make sure that each student is set up to access it. And many have – however, the transition isn’t always as smooth as it seems. For some families, this sudden switch comes with growing pains.

One of the biggest concerns is how to support a learner while their parent or parents are busy working during the day. Adults and children face changes this school year that are unlike anything they have had to deal with before.

Many parents are unsure of how to make the transition easier while still keeping up with their personal and work-related responsibilities. The following list will help working parents create an optimized learning environment for their children while maintaining balance in their lives.

Start with a Schedule That Works for Everyone

Any new school year can be hectic and confusing. You would have to know when the bust arrives or when the school day starts. You had to know when to pick up your child or when the bus would bring them home. All these things helped parents plan their daily schedules.

Now, your learners are at home all the time. There is no bus pick up or drop off, and you may also be working remotely. The best way to stay organized and make efficient use of educational time is with a schedule.

Plan all activities out, just like they would be at school. This helps form the daily structure needed to keep kids focused and relaxed – especially when things feel so different.

Be smart about how you arrange your child’s day. Plan more challenging subjects during times when you are available. For example, if your child has trouble with math, schedule those activities during a part of the day when you will be most available to answer questions.

When you are working, schedule activities that won’t require your attention, like independent reading.

Keep Your Role in Your Child’s Education Realistic

It’s easy to get swept up in keeping things as normal as possible and setting unrealistic goals for yourself.

On a normal school day before 2020, students would spend hours learning different subjects. They would be taught by multiple adults, cycling through lessons with practice time and assistance from people who are trained to work with them.

Unfortunately, trying to recreate this experience is not realistic for most parents. Those who have a job won’t have enough time in the day to dedicate to extracurriculars. Learners may also need more time to complete assignments at home, which could leave less time for other things.

Focus on what’s important. Follow the curriculum provided by the school and consider alternating activities each day. For example, after eLearning sessions, you could plan one special activity like an art project or a music lesson.

School districts are aware of setbacks caused by schools being shut down and then shifting to limited remote learning situations. While the eLearning options will likely continue to expand, many teachers are planning for remediation to cover learning gaps in the future.

Build To-Do Lists to Keep Everyone on Track

To-Do lists are wonderful tools for at-home learning. They are easy to understand and can be made for any purpose. They also clearly outline what your child must do to adhere to their educational responsibilities. If they become distracted, the to-do list can help get them back on track.

Create to-do lists for times when you cannot be there to guide your child. This could be times when you are away from home or when you are busy with work or other responsibilities. Keep instructions clear and concise and make sure your child has access to the materials they need, like textbooks or paper.

Familiarize Yourself with Your School District’s LMS

Learning management systems, or LMSs, are used to manage all aspects of the educational process. Many schools have implemented this technology to track progress, distribute courses, and more.

Most include features that help students and give parents ways to stay in the loop. Take a little time to get to know your child’s school’s LMS platform. Log in and look around to see what features are available.

Some may include helpful tools like notifications, grades, or a way to communicate with teachers. Knowing where to find these tools will make life easier if you need them later in the school year. They are also ideal for monitoring your child’s progress so you can watch for indications that they are struggling.

Make Use of Planner or School-Provided Resources

Planning tools can help you map out the year and provide important information. Use a calendar or planner to schedule activities and learning sessions. If your school provides a resource, use it. They will likely keep it updated with dates and times you should know about, like virtual office hours for teachers or scheduled online class sessions.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out for Help or Advice

You are not alone in dealing with the extreme changes that come with the 2020 – 2021 school year. It’s ok to request assistance when you need it. Your school will likely provide contact information through their LMS or on their website that will let you get in touch with specific faculty members if you have questions.

You can also use social media to connect with other parents who may provide advice or can share their experiences. Virtual schools often include access to certified teachers who can help you develop a learning plan or find tutoring if needed.

Also, talk to your child about where they can go when they have questions that you aren’t available to answer. Show them how to send a message to their teacher or direct them to where they can find the classroom chat.

This school year looks different than in previous years, but it can still be a success. Discover the benefits of eLearning to help your child stay on top of their educational needs. You can also visit LMS.org to search for your school’s LMS platform or to learn more about ed tech.