Parent Tools and Strategies for At-Home Learning
Alena Troutman, CLC Support Services Coordinator
Here is a list of strategies I have found to be helpful and some links for you to check out:
- Frequent breaks. – These can be set by a time limit or as needed. It really depends on each child and what they need. Often the set structure of work for 20 minutes and you have a 5 minute break to do A or B keeps in line with the much needed structure and routine that students who struggle to maintain focus and attention benefit from.
- Chunking. – With the flood of info we are receiving in our current learning environment, breaking information down into smaller and more manageable parts is often helpful for everyone. It is especially helpful if focus and attention are difficult. Being presented with smaller bits of information at a time is less stimulating and overwhelming. For example, do the first five math problems then check in rather than the whole page. Or read one paragraph and answer a couple questions before moving on. (I often recommend students read all the questions they will be asked prior to reading the text, so if they find the answer in text, they can go ahead and answer rather than try to hold it all in their brain.)
- Hold the space. – So many big thoughts and feelings are happening right now. Hold the space for children to work through them. Social and emotional support is important. I don’t want to say more important than academics, but I also do. They have to learn to function in the new environment we’re in, and sometimes that means we hold the space for them to do so. Academics will happen in due time. Social emotional care and skill building sets them up for lifetime success in many areas.
- You are not expected to be a teacher! – For some parents this may be their background, but not for most. Even if you have an educational background, teaching your own child is a vastly different situation. We are not expecting you to instantly learn to become a teacher. It’s ok that you may not know a math concept or remember the specifics of writing a five paragraph essay. It’s also ok if you email your child’s teacher and say we just can’t do this assignment. Which leads to the last point.
- It’s ok if you don’t get every single thing done. – Go ahead and take this expectation off your plate. Yes, effort is important and teaching perseverance is a great skill we all need. However, the stress should not overwhelm you and your family’s emotional well-being. Family time is just as important, if not more so. Connection will get us through this, not a tally of how many assignments you’ve turned in. Connection is the best! Also if academics is something you value and have the capacity in your family to do it all, that works too! You know your child, yourself, and your family. We encourage parents to find the best balance you can, do what is manageable while still caring for your family’s overall well-being.
- Suport for Kids with ADHD Article: https://childmind.org/article/giving-kids-with-adhd-support-and-structure-during-the-coronavirus-crisis/
- From the International Rescue Committee and geared more generally, but the education tips and reminders are solid in helping us remember to care for ourselves as caregivers: https://www.rescue.org/article/education-tips-parents-during-coronavirus-crisis
- Edutopia Article with many links to further resources for Social and Emotional Learning: https://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning-parent-resources
- Reassuring Children: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parenting-new-generation/202003/reassuring-children-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
- GoZen videos on Helping to Manage Anxiety around COVID-19. This blog has many great articles for families. It mainly focuses on anxiety however, it also has other helpful strategies: https://gozen.com/coronavirus-anxiety/
- How to care for your Mental Health article. Self-care is important too: https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/?fbclid=IwAR27J7l0FHmdxRgrwggDzr67rRLmuSI6tbBdqQg07CVyhSf0zed3B-sIeIg
- Montreal Museum is offering art therapy online every Friday. I know it’s another online activity, often prompts can help when you feel stuck and need a creative outlet. As a trained art therapist, the benefit I have found in the creative process is amazing! Ask Ms. Alena about a time art therapy was found during times of trauma, so fascinating how cultures have used it!: https://www.mtlblog.com/things-to-do/canada/qc/montreal/montreals-museum-of-fine-arts-has-free-online-art-therapy-that-you-can-do-from-your-couch
Ask me more specific questions any time. I will do my best to answer them and if I don’t know, I’ll find the answer!