With many students completing some or all of their schoolwork at home, family members have taken on a greater role in their children’s education. Families are an integral part of any educational community, and they deserve (and need) resources to help them manage home learning.
It’s more important than ever to have programs that respect caregivers’ time and empower them to support students at home. Here are seven ways to support families during remote learning.
1. Clearly Displayed Learning Goals
In order for family members to help children reach their goals, they need to know what those goals are. Every class or program should have clearly displayed goals, whether they are quantitative or qualitative, short-term or long-term.
Student progress and goals in Reading Plus
Additional support for family members is seeing how each lesson fits into the overall curriculum of the subject or class. According to Edutopia, “When parents know the scope of what their child needs to learn, they understand the purpose behind the learning activities and can take advantage of real-world applications.”
2. Ability to Check for Completed Work
Parents and family members want to be able to ensure that students are completing their lessons without having to continually monitor their work. Each student’s assignments should be clearly displayed, either in a learning management system (LMS) or in an individual online program. Once each assignment is completed, it should automatically be marked as complete to avoid the extra responsibility of keeping track of a child’s work.
Reading Plus assignment checkboxes
3. Family-Friendly Tutorials and Guides
Simple tutorial guides and videos can help make it easier for families to learn about the many digital tools their children are using. As Tech & Learning Magazine shared, “With the proliferation of digital tools that flooded into homes overnight, many parents felt as if they were being forced to drink from a virtual fire hose.”
With families having a significant role in supporting students learning at home, providers should be developing guides tailored to how they can facilitate their students’ learning, such as the Reading Plus Home Learning Guide for Families. Guides should also be available in multiple languages to be inclusive of all families.
Video overviews of a platform can be especially beneficial and can be created by the teacher or the program provider.
The Reading Plus Experience—for parents and family members
4. Teacher Communication Tools
Email inboxes are notoriously full this time of year, and even more so now that students are learning at home. Messaging tools built into a program can make it easier for students to share feedback, concerns, or questions with their teacher. In-app messages can keep conversations related to school work and student learning all in one place. A program’s messaging feature should be easy enough for students to use to lessen the need for family members to directly reach out to teachers.
Messaging from the Student Dashboard
5. Materials for Flexible, Offline Learning
One concern of remote learning is that some students are completing work more quickly than anticipated. Families should be armed with additional materials to give to their children in this situation. Materials should also be customizable to each student’s abilities to facilitate differentiated instruction.
Offline materials are especially important for students without reliable internet. For example, the suite of offline materials in Reading Plus includes graphic organizers, writing prompts, crossword puzzles, and comprehension skills activities.
Printable Skill-Building Resources
6. Easily Accessible Tech Support and Family FAQs
Students learning at home no longer have the support of a teacher in the classroom or a school technology aide to field immediate questions. Quickly responsive customer service is key to student success and should be available through multiple channels and an inclusive range of hours.
An online program’s customer service should be able to answer questions that may occur during learning, not only technical or access problems. Family members should be able to communicate through their preferred platforms, including phone, email, and instant messaging options with a real support person.
7. Engaging and Motivating Lessons
Keeping students motivated is difficult in a typical school year, but even more so when they are learning at home. Reading Plus includes an extensive library of engaging texts that let students explore their interests. Students choose from eight categories to find texts across curriculum areas that engage and motivate them. After completing a text, students can rate the selection to indicate whether or not it was interesting to them.
Rating screen for Reading Plus text selection
Reading Plus is a personalized online program that develops the skills students need to be confident, capable readers and lifelong learners. The flexible program complements hybrid and virtual implementations to support students learning at home or in the classroom.
We provide resources for families to support students learning from home. Our comprehensive Family Support resources page includes helpful printable guides, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions.