Tips how to engage parents in remote at-home learning
Are you looking for ideas how to improve your students’ online learning experience? Teamwork makes the dream work – engage the parents in the studying process.
Why is it important for parents to participate in young students’ education, especially in the case of remote at-home learning? There are lots of factors that support a rewarding learning experience – from a quiet environment without distractions with fully functional equipment for online learning, to keeping discipline during the classes, to monitoring for cyber security and many more. In a remote learning environment, parents are the “teammates on the field” who provide their kids with the best conditions and motivation for a fulfilling and pleasant experience. They also observe the progress of the students and make sure the kids are enjoying their time attending online classes from home.
How to involve parents in the remote learning education?
Parents provide support for their kids and the teachers in remote learning, and they also need support themselves from the tutors, mentors and parent groups. It is important to provide different channels of communication with the parents to exchange feedback, ask or answer questions, etc. Incorporate regular scheduled meetings for one-to-one time with the parents. You can arrange the meetings in the virtual classroom and use the online whiteboard as a collaboration tool for the live sessions when presenting reports and discussing ideas and plans. Weekly emails with summaries of the school work and upcoming events are another way to keep parents informed and interested in the remote learning process. Don’t forget to send questionnaires and ask for ideas and feedback for different lessons and activities. Encourage parents to communicate between one another especially when organizing additional activities for the students and planning events.
Teachers can provide parents with some additional resources for online learning for students in their free time. For example, use websites like Kahoot! for fun games, practice Math with Prodigy and many more.
Parents who would like to refresh their knowledge on different subjects and topics to be able to help their child better in the learning process can attend classes. Teachers can send a list with useful resources for the parents to encourage them to help with understanding the curriculum.
Don’t forget to create a database that is easy to access by all parents where they can find guides, videos, instructions and additional materials that will help them in assisting their children when completing homework, assignments and etc. You can use the online whiteboard to create presentations and diagrams when needed and even pre-record video lessons.
Incorporate some fun social activities in the lessons that are focused on family time. Exercises, like Get to Know the Family where students present a family member, can make the remote learning environment even more pleasant and comfortable for kids. Introducing professions and inviting family members to share their experience and curious facts about their professions is a great way to keep both students and parents more involved in the learning process.
One of the most important topics related to online education and students’ internet activity is cyber security. Parents have the possibility to monitor students’ activity and ensure that the online environment is safe and secure. It is worth including resources that parents can use to educate themselves on this topic. You can also include this topic for discussions during parent – teacher sessions.
Motivation plays a significant role in students’ progress. Teachers use their own techniques to motivate their students especially in the remote learning reality. They can also encourage parents to set goals and reward activities for their children. For example, it can be related to completing additional Math exercises, doing spelling games and activities and many more. It is recommended for parents and teachers to set the goals together which are to be adjusted to the individual skills and progress of every student. The best reward system depends on every child – and parents certainly know best what rewards will motivate their kid.
Last, but not least, get to know the family situations of your students to make the learning process the most fulfilling and rewarding for the children. Do both parents work fulltime jobs? Who is the caregiver for the student? Do both parents speak English? Is it a family with a single parent? Does the child live in a family dealing with trauma, health challenges, etc?
These insights on the family situation are important for adjusting the remote learning process by changing the workload of assignments, homework, etc.
Including parents in the remote learning process can improve students’ progress and focus significantly. The key for a rewarding and enjoyable learning experience is balance. It is great when parents have a say in their children’s education but at the same time, students need to learn how to be independent and confident to accomplish their learning goals.