Online Academy

June 20th, 2022

Portrait of Erika Carlson

Erika Carlson Ed.D

Head of School
Chicago, USA

Mother works with son on computer

The role of parents in online learning

One of the biggest factors in your child’s academic success might be you

Parent engagement with learning has changed in significant ways as schools have moved online. These changes can feel surprising and chaotic. They can also provide a new way to deepen family relationships.

The Plowden Report, published in the UK in 1967, identified the key role parents play in the development of their children. The report showed the strong connection between parent encouragement and child growth.

A student survey completed by LifePlus schools in 2019 confirmed the importance of significant relationships in a child’s life. Knowing someone cares was one of the biggest factors in academic success and resiliency.

Who does your child identify as important adults in his or her life? How does your child connect with people outside the home during the week? We encourage parents to see how your child answers these questions.

One of the challenges of online learning can be isolation. Online community can provide special connections across cities, countries, and cultures—still, this community cannot fully replace the people in our neighborhood next door.

Learning is driven by the relationships between the child, teacher, and content. Technology has changed this relationship.

Parents often describe their approach to online learning like homeschooling or tutoring. Others prefer a hands-off approach, looking to the teacher to provide instruction and management of learning. These approaches can be either too supportive or too uninvolved. Online learning provides opportunity for a child to develop responsibility and independence. Parents can think of their role like a coach. The teacher guides the learning process, while the parents help to set up and monitor the learning space and routines. They can help a child set goals, answer questions, and solve problems.

One way to promote a supportive parent relationship throughout the week is through grounding conversations. Parents might use mealtimes or study breaks throughout the week to check in with their child:

  1. What classes, tests, or projects do you have today?

  2. How will you spend your time?

  3. What help do you need?

  4. What did you learn today? What was difficult?

  5. What will you change for tomorrow?

While face-to-face and online learning is different, parents can adjust their thinking and use coaching strategies like grounding conversations to help their child succeed.

LifePlus Online Academy’s workshop series offers presentations and discussions on online learning from a variety of experts.

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