Putting parents to the test as at-home educators

Good morning Mr. Mom!

Educational institutions often refer to the parents of the students they teach as “partners.” During the present Covid-19 siege, as K-12 schools move their curricula online and pivot to parents for virtual schooling, that reference is about to become a reality. Working parents confronted with this new role are a bit flummoxed. They now need to accommodate new or limited hours at the office, work remotely, bleach everything in sight, police a strict handwashing regimen, and still find time to grasp the new way of teaching long division.

4 ways for schools to prep parents for home education

When it comes to S2P (School to Parent) communications, we’ve earned our credentials. So indulge us these few words of advice for educators.

  1. Acknowledge the difficulty of the task
    • Truth: Most parents are relieved every morning they drop their kids at school. “Thank [insert name of preferred religious deity here] I’m not the one who has to educate our young,” is what many are thinking as they head off to work.
    • Reassure parents through email, or digital parent-teacher communities that it’s a tough task but a temporary one, and no parent is perfect, much less a perfect educator. A few words is all it takes to reduce stress.
  2. Recalibrate expectations
    Educators and school leadership need to tell parents that the goal of home schooling isn’t to keep their kids on track for an overrated Ivy League education. The goal is to stay committed to learning and keep moving forward through adverse times- a life lesson that has value beyond any curriculum.
  3. Consider a webinar for parents
    Educators can help make a clean handoff with a timely webinar or two. No big deal, just some simple Powerpoint slides that parents can access and review as needed, with some Q&A that can also be archived digitally.
  4. Post videos
    Sure, there’s plenty of content on YouTube. But a personal video from a teacher, speaking directly to both parents and students, can bring everyone together and make the message clear.

Parents, this is like carrying the Olympic torch. Your goal isn’t to bring it all the way to Athens. The goal is to bear it a few miles down the road and not drop it in the dirt.

Educators, your job just got tougher, as if that’s even possible In addition to teaching students, you now have the challenge of teaching parents how to sub in for you while the world is out sick.

But maybe the opportunity is to truly make parents partners in education.

And if you ever want to talk about it in depth, we’re always open. Normally we would invite you over for coffee, but maybe some other time….