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Why Parental Teaching Is More Essential than Ever

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Whether your child is learning through face-to-face instruction, a hybrid model or schooling at home, one thing about their education will always stay the same — you.

That's why parental teaching has become so important for your child's educational progress. In these still uncertain times, a parent’s involvement in education is essential. You are your child’s rock and the backbone of their development.

There’s been a lot of worry about student progress over the last year. Many are concerned about learning loss and children falling behind. But with your help, your child can close the gap and reach the milestones they need for academic success.

The increased need for parent-teacher communication

Parent-teacher communication has always been an important resource for parents. It’s difficult to help your child with school, or ask the right questions, when you feel out of the loop. 

If your child is homeschooled or using a hybrid model, the need for parent-teacher communication is even greater. It’s difficult for teachers to observe student progress outside of their classroom. If teachers don’t know where students are struggling, then they can’t address their challenges. And educators can’t always rely on students to honestly share their progress.

With your help, teachers can gain the information they need to keep your child’s studies moving forward. And you can gain access to the assessments and grades you need to plan your child’s educational goals.

Knowing where to focus your and your child’s attention is essential. With effective communication, both you and your child’s teacher will have the information you need to help your child learn at home.

Why parental involvement has become so important

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on education all over the world. Educational technology has been tested. Teachers have quickly pivoted their classroom models. And student inequities have been exposed. 

Education is always evolving, but over the last year, these changes have been coming at warp speed. And your child needs your help to navigate them.

Learning from home comes with its own set of challenges: 

  • Distractions are high
  • Social interactions are down
  • Everyone is busy working and schooling in a small space

As the parent, these issues fall on you. But you can conquer them!

Mother and her two kids working at their dining table together.

Top 8 tips for parents teaching at home

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breath and check out our top 8 tips for parents teaching at home. These tips are easy and practical ways to help your child thrive at home without adding extra stress to your day. 

1. Create an inspirational and flexible learning environment

Every child struggles with focus. But it can be especially challenging when learning at home. All their favorite distractions are there, making it easy to get off track.

One way to improve your child’s focus is to set up an inspirational and flexible learning space. When a desk or other workspace is needed, make sure it’s welcoming for your child. Decorate this space with their favorite colors, include some positive affirmations and set it up in a room away from major distractions.

There may be times when their work doesn’t require a desk. That’s the perfect chance to mix it up! Suggest that your child take their learning outside. Or let them flop down on the couch while reading that next chapter. Freedom of movement and small changes can make a big impact on productivity and mood.

2. Implement new methods for learning

Textbooks and notetaking can turn boring in a hurry. If your child is learning from home, don’t be afraid to break out all your available resources.

Here are a few suggestions to bring more excitement to your child’s school day:

  • Keep dreaded subjects exciting with online learning games
  • Explore math or physics concepts with blocks or other toys
  • Bring a dull or abstract subject to life with an entertaining podcast
  • Clear up confusion and spark a lightbulb moment with an online video

If math instruction is challenging, make learning fun with a game-based option like Prodigy Math Game! Your child will love getting a video game “break,” and you can relax knowing they’re building the math skills they need for that next test. 

Parent and child smiling together while using a tablet device.

With a parent account, you can track your child’s learning progress and discuss learning needs with their teacher, or motivate them to answer more math questions. Get your child excited about math while learning from home! 

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3. Maintain a consistent routine

It’s easier for your child to stay on task when they know what to expect. Every weekend, take some time to sit down with your child and draft a weekly schedule. Review upcoming assignments and tests, required “classroom” times, and any extras they may have going on.

Post this schedule in a common area and try to keep it consistent week-to-week. There will be changes, of course, so try to keep it somewhat flexible to avoid extra stress. But if your child knows certain hours are set aside for school time, you’ll encounter less pushback when it’s time to get to work.  

4. Have daily check-ins at regular intervals

There’s a lot going on on any given day. You aren’t just sitting around aiding your child in their studies. Many times, you have your own work to complete. 

Keep your child on track and build your connection with daily check-ins. Every hour or so, ask them how their day is going. Try to get specific: 

  • Which part of their group assignment did they choose?
  • What happened in the last chapter of their reading assignment?
  • Did they figure out that math problem that had them stuck yesterday? 

Remember to check in on their mental health as well. How are they feeling? Do they need a break? Listen, accommodate and make plans for tomorrow to keep them pushing forward.

5. Encourage persistence and productivity

Learning something new takes time. And that’s true whether it’s math, science, or adjusting to learning at home.

Encourage your child to keep at their studies. There will be bumps in the road. But learning how to recover from challenges and move on with your day can be just as valuable as learning algebra.

If you sense your child starting to slack, try not to nag. Instead, take a positive parenting approach and start a conversation. Find out what’s keeping them from doing their best work. They may need more breaks or a play date with a friend to break up the monotony and rediscover their motivation. 

Schooling from home provides more freedom than in a traditional classroom setting. Use that freedom to help your child excel!

6. Make time for brain breaks

We’ve already mentioned breaks a few times, and for good reason. Research shows frequent and regular brain breaks throughout the day help students stay on task. 

Young children should take a brain break from structured tasks every 10 minutes or so. But if they are deeply involved in play of their own choosing, give them time to finish their task. That early childhood focus is creating some amazing brain connections.

Older students should break every 20 to 30 minutes to keep productive. Their brain needs that rest to process information. After a break, they can return to their work refreshed and ready to focus.

When helping your child plan their schedule for the week, remember to pencil in brain breaks. They’re an important part of the day. Try some different break time lengths and schedule restart times to help your child find their flow. 

7. Schedule daily exercise or walks

Even though there’s a lot to be done, adding exercise to the daily agenda can keep your child healthy and motivated.

Get out for a family walk or let the kids run out back while you finish work for the day. The sunshine will keep them energized for their day, while also improving their sleep at night.

If this time is hard to find, plan at least one brain break a day for physical activity. A yoga or stretching session is a great way to refocus in a short amount of time. Find something active they enjoy and make time for it.

8. Have an end-of-day review of work done

Want to feel more accomplished? Keep note of everything you work on during the day. You'll likely be surprised at how much you get done, even on slow days. 

And if your child could use an extra boost of confidence, help them review their daily accomplishments as well. 

At the end of every day, take some time together to chat about their day. Look over the schedule and check off their tasks. Did they miss something? Figure out why and work out how to fit it in tomorrow without adding extra stress. Prioritize and plan for the next day while celebrating everything they achieved.

Mom helping her young daughter write notes in a notebook.

Has home learning brought families closer?

For many, yes! A lot of families schooling at home have enjoyed this extra bonding time. It certainly has its challenges, but there are also many more moments of connection throughout the day.

Instead of spending eight or more hours away from each other, you are there and actively involved in their day. It’s easier to feel their struggles and find the time to talk about them. There are more moments spent together. And that’s a wonderful part of schooling at home.

When everyone is able to spend this extra time together, it can become much easier to navigate relationships. Even if remote learning is not your long-term plan, these moments have created some special bonds that will never break.

Celebrating every success in parent teaching

As a parent, you’ve adapted to all the changes of the last year. You shifted your work to be there for your family. You’re amazing!

Put your worries aside and focus on all you and your child have accomplished. More than likely, you never planned to be your kid’s teacher. But you are doing it, and you’re doing a great job. 

Before the new school year begins, celebrate you, your child and all that you’ve accomplished together. Remember: all wins are important and small changes add up. Your child will see academic success because you provided them with a great role model.

Enjoy something special together and carry that celebratory feeling into the new year!

Mom at her computer with her two kids beside her, smiling at pictures they drew.

Maintain these practices even if your child is returning to the classroom

At some point, it’s likely your child will return to school and your role as a parental teacher will end. When that happens, you can still hold on to the connections you’ve built.

Keep up with regular check-ins, maintain strong communications with their teachers and make sure your child has a productive study space. The knowledge you’ve gained while schooling at home can be used for years to come. This is a time you and your child will never forget. And you’ve done amazing. Congrats on making it through! 

Check out these extra resources to help you support your child’s learning at home 

Check out the Prodigy blog for more!

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