Tips for Balancing Parent and Learning Coach Roles

6 min to read
Balancing Parent and Learning Coach Roles

Parent engagement in school is important — and although you already have the "inside scoop" about parenting your child, when do you switch to the role of Learning Coach? Here are some tips and tricks for keeping each role independent of the other.

Parent Engagement in School: What is the Parent's Role in their Child’s Education?

As a parent with a child in virtual school, it’s important to nurture your child’s relationship with adults who are positive role models. It’s also important to ensure that your student has time to socialize with other children.

At Connections Academy® schools, families can attend in-person field trips and other school events so their students can meet classmates and make friends. Other families choose to their children through participation in sports, scouting, 4-H, the arts, and community- or faith-based organizations. These interactions will help your child as well as improve their people skills, collaboration, and leadership skills.

Tips for Nurturing Children in Online School

There are many ways to get parents involved in school. Here are a few fun ideas for parents that come highly recommended from experienced virtual school families:

  • Show curiosity in your child's hobbies, and ask your child questions about each of their interests. Encourage them to talk about things they like or want to explore.
  • Invite your child's friends over. As an example, you can help organize a summer camp in your backyard or at a local park.
  • Find new ways to help your child de-stress with relaxing activities you both can share.
  • Plant a family garden with your child and watch it grow.

When Should Parents be Involved in School?

Parent involvement in school is important for your virtual school student. However, there's a time to be a nurturing parent and a time to provide your child with structure as a Learning Coach. But where can you draw the line?

  1. When the school day is over, or during breaks: Once your child is done working and has completed each assignment or instruction to the best of their abilities, plan fun activities that help build family traditions.
  2. When your child tackles difficult tasks: Rewarding your child’s successes is one of the best ways to support them emotionally. Validating your child’s feeling of accomplishment is important for their self-esteem. Consider making a student reward system with your child to help keep your child motivated throughout the year.
  3. When you can share teachable moments: When your child is not working through assignments or problems, doing simple chores around the house can be an opportunity for both of you to bond. For example, celebrate spring with family spring-cleaning as a great way to bond and instill lessons.

What is the Learning Coach's Role

The role of the Learning Coach is to aim for focus and structure. Successful Learning Coaches tell us that one of the most helpful things to do is to provide structure throughout your child's school day.

Learning Coaches suggest establishing schedules and routines. This will lay the groundwork to help your student tackle tough subjects and become an independent, lifelong learner.

A Learning Coach may choose to do this by implementing a daily schedule for the family and providing rules and guidelines to help keep the student focused. Consider a parent–child contract to keep your student engaged in the learning process.

Occasionally, your child may experience a certain level of frustration when learning new subjects, but you can opt to let your child struggle for a bit before deciding to get involved.

Tips for Maintaining Focus and Structure

Building focus and structure in your child's life may not come as naturally as nurturing your child does. Here are some simple tips and strategies recommended by experienced Learning Coaches on how to get parents involved in school:

  • Create a chore chart and reward system.
  • Have a written-out schedule each school day.
  • Set daily or weekly limits on screen time.
  • Don't offer to help before your child tries to work through a problem independently.
  • Be a role model for self-discipline by doing your own chores before you relax for the night.

When Should I Encourage Focus and Structure?

When parents step in as Learning Coaches, it's a great way to get parents involved in school. And, providing structure for children at appropriate times encourages growth just as much as nurturing children does. Here are some instances to consider adding more structure for your child:

  1. While your child is working through assignments: Sometimes being a Learning Coach means resisting the urge to and, instead, encouraging them to work through problems. If your child pushes back, consider using a kitchen timer to establish an amount of time that your student must attempt to solve the issue independently. Guiding students through their learning process will help them become more independent learners over time.
  2. When your child complains or constantly exhibits negative behaviors: Children know how to push their parents’ buttons! In “Learning Coach mode,” it is particularly important that you respond consistently to a child’s actions. If your child has complaints or exhibits negative behaviors, we recommend that you require your child to be part of the solution by encouraging them to provide positive solutions.
  3. When your child resists doing lessons: Somewhere during the learning process, your child may lose motivation. It’s important to identify the larger issues and avoid oversimplifying your response. Many teachers and experienced Learning Coaches reengage students by explaining how the subject matter is relevant to real-life situations. You may also want to talk to your child’s teacher and ask for suggestions.

School Tips for Parents and Learning Coaches: Balancing the Two Roles

Parent engagement in school is just as important as your Learning Coach role. As your child progresses through online school, there may be times when your structured Learning Coach self struggles with your nurturing-parent self. Don't sweat it!

The most important part of taking on both parent and Learning Coach roles is maintaining an overall balance—and showing your child the high value you place on education. This balance—and your involvement—helps encourage your child to develop life skills and emotional health.

Learn more about how to get involved in your children’s education, including back to school tips for parents and Learning Coaches. Visit online public school, or learn about online private school at Pearson Online Academy.

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