Parents all over the world are starting to adopt the challenging task of being a teacher. School doors have been closing worldwide as COVID-19 has spread across the globe, which has affected roughly 90 percent of the world’s students. The speed of the closures necessitated quick action on the part of parents and teachers everywhere, forcing educators to change their curriculums and parents to become full-time tutors.
As a serial entrepreneur, Chad Everett Harris believes that any challenge can be overcome with the right mindset and tools and has taken the same approach to homeschooling. Leaning into a mentorship role, Chad E. Harris believes that there are a few things parents can do to support their children during online learning. Chad Everett Harris usually uses his expertise to help businesses succeed, but today he is defining the global impact of online learning and how anyone can maximize their efforts as a stay at home teacher to help children excel during the pandemic.
Familiarizing Children With Online Learning
Over 1.2 billion children from over 186 countries are currently out of school are a result of COVID-19. With a sudden shift away from the classroom, some are wondering whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist after the pandemic, as well as how effective it is in its current format. Chad E. Harris explains that prior to COVID-19, there was already a shift in education focus towards technology.
Global educational investments reached over $18.66 billion in 2019, and the overall projected market was expected to reach $350 billion by 2025. From virtual tutoring to video conferencing tools and online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage of these tools since the start of COVID-19.
Of course, this growth does not come without its own set of challenges. Chad Everett Harris explains that the sudden and unplanned rapid move towards online learning has—in many cases—led to a poor user experience for students, which is not conducive to sustained growth. He explains that one of the greatest challenges that parents face is in engaging students with solitary and didactic approaches when they are used to active discussions, forums, and immediate support.
For many, sitting passively and listening is one of the worst ways to digest and absorb information. As Chad E. Harris explains, this challenge can be met with innovative thinking on the part of teachers. While teachers were forced to translate their curriculum into an online resource without warning, Chad believes that additional time and resources may allow teachers to become innovative with the material. From video conference calls to creative activities and experiments at home, this could provide unique opportunities for innovation.
Ensuring The Proper Tools And Resources
In addition to challenges surrounding engagement, Chad Everett Harris explains that not everyone has access to a working computer and WIFI, which serves to further widen the equity gap. In the US, there is a significant gap between those from privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds. In a recent study, virtually all 15-year-olds from a privileged background said they had a computer at home, while nearly 25% of those from disadvantaged backgrounds said they did not.
Some programs across the U.S. are donating the equipment necessary to close that gap. For those that do have access, Chad E. Harris explains that there is evidence that online learning can be more effective in several ways. Current research demonstrates that on average, students retain 25 – 60% more material with online learning as they can move at their own pace.
Creating An Educational Environment
As with more traditional learning environments, the support you provide as a parent can have a measurable impact on how well your child performs in school and engages with the curriculum. Chad E. Harris explains that one of the best ways to support your child through homeschooling is to set the environment for learning.
In addition to setting the pace, parents can construct a physical space intended for learning and continue to encourage their children in the absence of face-to-face interaction. Creating a designated area for children to focus on schoolwork will create a delineation between ‘relaxation’ and ‘work’ spaces, which can be an important motivator and help keep them on track.
Never homeschooled before? Chad Everett Harris wants to stress that you are a student too. Not only do you not need to plan extensively, but you also do not need to be an expert in any subject, or know the answers to every question. He explains that your goal is to showcase a curiosity in finding the answers with your child. This educational flexibility also allows you to go further in-depth into subjects that are of particular interest to your child, providing a unique opportunity to nurture those interests.
Structure is key to remote working and learning, and having a set schedule is another great way to aid in your child’s online learning experience. To ensure that your children are on the right track, Chad E. Harris suggests setting a monitoring schedule of check-ups. Encourage them to write down any questions they might have, and circle things they may not understand. These regular check-ins will remind your child that while you are not able to teach them full-time, you are there to support them when they need it.
Lastly, homeschooling allows you to set an example for your children in the way you prioritize needs, schedule time, and show up for work. As many parents are now working from home, Chad Everett Harris explains that your work ethic can now set a unique example for children. Also, as a parent, if you push your child to remain committed and work hard, this behavior should be mimicked in your behavior—it is a great way to stay accountable to one another.
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