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[Family Perspective] Lessons from 12 Months of Home Learning

[Family Perspective] Lessons from 12 Months of Home Learning

It’s been about a year since the pandemic lockdowns began, changing the world and turning our comfortable routines upside down. Many of us have had to tackle multiple new challenges as the last two school years have unfolded, and for that, we all should take some time to reflect and give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back!

Here is a look back at a few of the lessons we’ve learned as parents during home learning while coping with the unexpected, along with some tips on making the best of months ahead.

 

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Resilience and creativity

No matter what your child’s learning situation is or was, we all had to be flexible over the last 12 months. Plans were being made and changed rapidly, and we not only coped with the difficult situations COVID-19 has placed us in, but also, for the most part, we’ve overcome them. Many of us managed working at home while our children were also learning from home for the first time. We managed to stay connected to friends and family while social distancing and keeping everyone safe. And as if that wasn’t enough, we even managed to get haircuts for the family (did anyone else consider buying a Flowbee at some point?). I’m sure that, if you think about it, you can think of dozens of other ways you’ve managed to show your resilience and creativity in the past year.

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Safe, responsible technology use

No matter how much time you spent online before the pandemic, all of us—parents and children alike—have had to spend more time online. The shift to home learning has meant that all students—even elementary age students—were expected to be online for a chunk of the day with online courses and live lessons on video-conferencing platforms. For the most part, our digital natives were able to navigate through the technology that virtual learning brought intuitively. However, this increase in time spent online brought to light the need for families to set ground rules and guidelines for safety when using technology for children of all ages.  Here are some helpful reminders from SafeHome.org to share with your child about responsible technology use. 

 

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The importance of being involved in your child’s learning

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, being involved in your child’s education may have meant attending parent-teacher meetings a few times during the school year, and your involvement with your child’s schoolwork was probably limited to helping with homework. Since schools shifted to home learning, we’ve all come to recognize the need to be more actively involved in our children’s day-to-day learning to set them up for success during home learning—whether that meant reading through your child’s lessons and setting up the schoolwork area for the day, sharing insights with your child’s teacher on difficulties your child had with a new concept and working together on a plan to solve them, or noticing the need for your child to have additional opportunities for practice. Here is a list of resources to help extend your child’s learning outside of online classes.

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The importance of social-emotional health for ALL of us

These have been stressful times for everyone. As parents, it’s important to understand that stress can set off a chain reaction that affects our children. When we are feeling stressed and anxious, we often aren’t able to offer the emotional support our children need when they are stressed. Taking a step back, practicing some self-care, and trying a few some stress-relief strategies when you’re feeling overwhelmed can help you and everyone around you. Here are a few ideas that you and the family can try.

 

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The positive power of grace

Technology issues? Feeling stretched between multiple competing priorities? Trouble adjusting to new routines? EVERYONE has been affected by a multitude of new issues at once. Recognizing this and giving ourselves, as well as our children and their teachers, some room to make mistakes and adjust to changes encourages more open communication and helps make tough times more manageable. Responding to problems with grace and compassion helps free up our thoughts to create solutions instead spending our time and energy focusing on the negative. In addition, research shows that kindness is contagious. You may have noticed this phenomenon yourself—when the grace that you’ve given was reflected back at you, passed on to someone else, or even multiplied.

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As you reflect on the journey of the past year, be sure to give yourself credit and recognize how much you’ve accomplished and grown as a family throughout navigating this challenging time.

Looking for more resources or guidance on home learning? Check out Edmentum’s Podcast for Families minisode series!

teresa.tirabassi's picture
Teresa Tirabassi

Teresa Tirabassi received her B.S. from Notre Dame of Maryland University and has worked at Calvert Learning since 2008 in both the curriculum and marketing departments. As part of the Edmentum team, Teresa is excited to support teachers and help them make a difference in their students’ lives no matter where they live.