Parent Challenges and Solutions During COVID-19

Five weeks into homeschooling, many parents continue to struggle through this transition. As my friend Vanessa—parent to two elementary school boys—described it: “It’s overwhelming. It’s like we are all having our worst day ever, just set on repeat.”

Stress about finances and job prospects are top of mind for parents who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and concern for the well-being of older loved ones lingers on the periphery. Parents may find working remotely brings its own level of stress when deadlines beckon in the sporadic hours between setting up children with daily activities, cooking, and cleaning; all while trying to stay calm to support children emotionally. 

“It is next-to impossible to expect teaching and learning to occur in a crisis without attending to our emotions.” — Christina Cipriano, Director of Research at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI).

It may help to keep in mind that perfection is not the goal here. We all recognize that keeping our kids healthy, happy, and engaged for even part of the day constitutes a major win under these conditions. Each age group struggles with COVID-19’s effect on their learning in different ways. Teenagers stuck at home may struggle with feeling isolated from their friends and even push back against social distancing practices. Elementary age children may be excited that loved ones are home all day but are easily affected by their parents' stress

To help with these trying times, Intel has commissioned the Parents’ Guide to Remote Learning. Unlike so many activity lists that have recently flooded social media, the Parents’ Guide to Remote Learning was created by educators with deep expertise in virtual and blended learning environments. They curated the most relevant content to help prioritize what parents need: organized, vetted ideas to help parents make the best of this unintentional experiment in home-schooling.

The list of topics covered in the guide includes:  

  • Building a Learning Routine in Your Home
  • Creating Spaces for Learning in the Home
  • Devices for Learning
  • Online Safety and Monitoring
  • Meeting Your Child’s Special Education Needs
  • Remote Learning for your Elementary Child
  • Remote Learning for your Middle School Age Child
  • Remote Learning for Your High School Age Child

The Parents’ Guide to Remote Learning has resources specific to age group, to help narrow parents’ searches for age-appropriate resources, links, and tools.  Additionally, the guide strives to find a balance between unplugged activities for children to continue learning screen-free, as well as unique STEM-focused resources designed for teaching coding and making at home for bolstering computational thinking skills. 

Whether parents prefer a regimented schedule or more self-directed projects for children, this guide has tips and suggestions to improve our “new-normal” of sharing work space in a busy house. Parents can also find inspiration in the Remote Learning Idea Gallery resource from the guide: an assortment of activities arranged by grade level, technology integration, and required supplies. 

I remain hopeful that—with the right tools and the abandonment of perfection as a goal—curiosity and joy of learning can still occur with parents connected to the process like never before! 

In May 2020, Laura Davis joined our extended network of alumni.