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I’m partnering with Pearson and Connections Academy® for today’s post.
Survey Shows Parents are Enjoying Distance Learning More Than We Think
In my 14 years of parenting, I cannot remember a more unprecedented time. Witnessing the global pandemic unfold these past few months, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. This has presented new challenges for many people, but, as a parent and former educator, I can relate very closely to one change that I know several of us are facing: Distance Learning.
Parents are now taking a more substantial role in their children’s education due to the newly enforced distance learning measures. For some parents, it came as a shock and threw a wrench into their current schedules, resulting in added stress and shifting of priorities. However, I am all about the silver linings. It isn’t the first time that we’ve run into changes in the education of our children, and I’m sure that it won’t be the last. I have found that being more involved in our children’s education has been such a rewarding experience.
This past month, Pearson & Connections Academy® conducted a study, in partnership with Dynata, to provide parents, teachers, and school systems across the US and UK a look into education during the pandemic. It also provides us with a look at where it’s predicted to go next.
The survey resulted in many interesting findings, but one, in particular, stood out to me:
Did you know that 83% of parents have said that they have felt increasingly confident in helping their kids with online schooling lessons?
Even more positive is the fact that those parents also said that they are enjoying the involvement in their child’s education.
My husband and I couldn’t agree more. It’s the reason that we changed our children’s education path last year. Instead of a traditional five-day a week public school, we moved our children to a school where they attend classes three days a week, while we teach them the other two days a week. We wanted to see what they were learning, to challenge them more, to push them to reach high expectations, to fill in the gaps with lessons and concepts that we wanted them to learn. Being more involved was important to us, and it has been a rewarding experience.
As many parents find the same thing, it poses the question: What does this mean for families once we are “over the hurdle” of COVID-19? The involvement of parents in their children’s education does not have to end. There is a way to be involved in your child’s education without the stress of “Doing School at Home.”
What do I mean by this?
Let me start by explaining that what we are doing now, “Doing School at Home,” is not the same thing as “Homeschool” or “Online School.” It is much different, and it’s also the reason that it can become stressful relatively quickly, compared to parents who homeschool or have their children enrolled in an online school.
Online Schools offer a set curriculum, creative outlets, social experiences, and teachers who have been trained to teach in an online platform, using specific methods and techniques that work for online learning. Online Schools, like Connections Academy, don’t expect the parent to be the teacher, but to be the parent who is engaged and interested in their child’s learning without being the one leading it.
In an online school, parents are more like a coach and mentor, whereas with the current “Doing School at Home” that we are doing with COVID-19, many parents have become the “Teacher,” the “Teacher’s Assistant,” and the “Principal” all at the same time. Temporary “Doing School at Home” during COVID-19″ is not what ‘Homeschooling’ or ‘Online Schooling’ typically looks like, and the best way I can think of it is to think of it as a workout.
Let’s compare two workout plans:
WORKOUT A (“Doing School at Home” during COVID-19):
+ You are working out, alone, using the one-page, at-home workout plan that you printed out from Pinterest.
+ You have to find the space in your home to do the workouts, and you have to find things around your house to serve as your weights, kettlebell, jump box, step, and BOSU ball.
+ You have to set aside time to do it each day when you will not be interrupted or distracted.
You have to find the motivation within yourself to do it, even though you know that no one will know if you did it, and no one will know how many breaks you took or at what capacity you worked.
WORKOUT B (“homeschool” or “Online School”):
+ You go to the gym at 8:30-9:15 every day M-F, where your trainer & workout-partner is waiting for you.
+ You follow a 45-minute workout that has been carefully planned by your trainer. It is different from yesterday’s workout because it is focused on a different muscle group.
+ You have all of the equipment that you need because you are in a fully-operational fitness facility.
+ Your trainer guides you through your workout, encouraging you, motivating you, correcting you, and helping you.
+ You are expected to reach your trainer’s expectations, and you are expected to work at 100% capacity during your 45-minute class, knowing that you can rest once it is completed.
Even though both scenarios give you a workout, they are incredibly different. The experience and outcome are different, as well. In the same way, “Doing School at Home” is different from Online School or Homeschooling. The truth is that “Doing School at Home” is often described as stressful, while Online School & Homeschool is typically described as rewarding.
Of the 79% of parents who say they’ve taken a bigger role in helping their children, more than two-thirds (69%) say it’s been a gratifying experience.
Personally, our children transitioned relatively quickly because they were already home for ‘satellite days’ two days a week since they attend the university model school that I mentioned earlier (three days on campus, two days home). On top of that, I was a public school teacher for several years, so I felt more prepared to have them home.
For those who are concerned about their children falling behind, or not sure how to process the fact that we might be distance-learning longer than anticipated, there are options to consider, like Connections Academy, that could serve a long-term solution for this for the RIGHT kids and families.
I have known about Connections Academy for some time now, but it was when my friend’s daughter enrolled there that I was able to really understand the program, as well as see the benefits of Online Learning on a deeper level. The following year, another friend enrolled her two sons in the school. Both families have told us how great it has been for their children, as well as for their families.
Students at Connections Academy in every grade level take core courses in Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies. They also have the ability to take additional elective classes. Throughout their classes, they work through a state-approved, high-quality curriculum with the support of their certified teachers.
Online Schools offer a complete curriculum in core subjects.
This means that you, the parent, are not in charge of planning the curriculum. You do not have to pick & choose what to teach or worry about forgetting something important. It’s all there for you: a comprehensive curriculum, packaged with all the requirements leading to promotion from grade to grade, through high school graduation.
Physical Education, Art, and Music are also included.
These “extras” that schools offer truly provide a massive benefit to our children, including ensuring a creative outlet and helping to maintain mental and emotional health.
There is also the concern that 78% of parents feel online learning is missing a human connection needed to learn effectively. While we know some children thrive in very social situations, not everyone does. Some students prefer socialization in moderation. Connections Academy offers multiple opportunities for students to connect with peers and teachers.
Socializing happens online through virtual classrooms, clubs, groups, and activities.
These children connect online in a variety of ways. The class meets virtually for learning & socializing in a safe space. Later, they can decide if they want to meet offline or to stick to virtual hangouts. There are also virtual clubs, in-person field trips students can attend, and more to provide socializing opportunities. This flexibility makes it easier for families as they make time for other activities such as music lessons, volunteering, youth groups, etc.
School Counselors are available.
They offer emotional and mental support; they help students pick classes, assist in the college selection, help students set life goals, and more.
Where can I find a Tuition-Free Online School?
Where can you find a program that will prepare your student for college and career success? A program that will keep you highly involved while still leading your child? As a teacher and child development therapist, I’ve seen many options over the years.
The Online School that I always suggest to parents is Connections Academy, due to the quality of education that they offer. Connections Academy is a tuition-free online public K-12 school, supported by Pearson, the world’s leading company. These schools are available in many states across the country. The schools are accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies.
Connections Academy partners with parents to provide students with an engaging, high-quality education in a safe learning environment that will help prepare them for success in school and into the future.