With a looming second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, job market, and several other facets of everyday life have been thrown into upheaval. Even the educational system has undertaken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and teachers. In an unprecedented move, Harvard became the first major university to take their classes online-only for the fall semester. San Diego, Los Angeles, and other unified school districts have since followed suit. But as a work-from-home parent, you shouldn’t fear. Thanks to an abundance of online tutoring and other educational options, your kids can learn new material while you dominate the telecommuting landscape.
Online Tutoring Options for Children
Although many schools are offering online classes, not every state and school district follows the same protocols. In addition, many parents are pulling their children out of school as teachers mull over the legalities of refusing to return to the classroom. Thus, the future of the school system looks uncertain. But work-from-home parents aren’t completely out of luck. Thanks to online tutoring options like these, parents can focus on their job, even with their kids learning from home.
Founded in 2000, K12 is one of the oldest and most reputable online education companies in the United States. And while the company has over 45,000 students throughout the school year, it also offers online tutoring to all ages. Perhaps one of the best qualities of K12 for work-from-home parents is flexibility. Tutors are available from 8 a.m. to midnight EST on weekdays and noon to midnight EST on weekends. As a result, parents can schedule tutoring classes and homework help around their work.
In addition, K12 has a rigorous screening process, selecting only the most highly qualified and certified teachers. Parents can then look through teacher bios to select the candidate they feel would work well with their children. Once a tutor is selected, each session encourages children to interact with their tutor and ask questions.
K12 has tutoring in French, Spanish, English, science, math, and social studies. Sessions are 30 minutes and cost $18; discounts may be available for parents who purchase sessions in bulk.
Chegg operates in a similar fashion to K12, but with several key differences. Instead of scheduling sessions, Chegg students can get on-demand help from tutors when they come across a problem. As a result, students who are somewhat self-directed can get help when they need it without the cost of an entire session. Tutoring help ranges from kindergarten through college-level classes. Like K12, Chegg places students with tutors that meet their learning styles, ensuring a good fit for both parties.
Chegg is that it’s a bit cheaper, starting at $6.95 for a single lesson or $14.95 for unlimited monthly sessions. The major difference is that these sessions are chat only, using an online instant messaging interface. However, students that need visual instruction can get chat services, as well as one 60-minute session for $30 per month. Classes are available in a wide array of subjects, including engineering, computer programming, humanities, and more.
Based out of the United Kingdom, Pearson is one of the global leaders in online education. For over 100 years, the company has provided tutoring classes for students of all ages. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Pearson is that each of their tutors has an average of 12 years of experience. In addition, many of them hold advanced degrees. As a result, work-at-home parents don’t have to worry about the proficiency of their tutor.
What separates Pearson from other online classes and tutoring options is that your child can take an assessment to ascertain their current knowledge level. After taking this assessment, Pearson then puts together a blended learning plan. Thus, your child receives a combination of classes and tutoring options that cater to their abilities. Prices vary depending on the number of sessions and the type of lesson plan chosen.
If money is a bit tight due to your spouse or partner being unemployed due to COVID-19, your local library is a legitimate, free option. Many local libraries around the country have partnered with Tutor.com and a variety of other online teaching platforms to provide free tutoring for library cardholders. Like the other options on this list, Tutor.com provides highly vetted tutors and teachers to offer the best learning experiences.
How to Schedule Tutoring and Online Classes Around Your Remote Work Schedule
When you work from home, scheduling tutoring sessions and online classes can be tiresome. You don’t want to constantly monitor your child’s sessions to the point where you lose focus on work. Plus, a set schedule for your children that mimics a normal classroom environment is beneficial. Not only will they get used to a regular schedule, but they know what’s expected each day during the week.
Fortunately, online tutoring companies make scheduling easier than ever. Once you log into the website and find your tutor or teacher, you can easily set up regular classes and sessions that revolve around your work schedule. However, you should be aware that many of these sites require you to schedule classes ahead of time. Thus, parents should schedule their lessons as soon as possible to ensure they get the time slots and tutors they want. This proactive approach to the online classroom can help parents and students plan their week or day to maximize learning and work productivity.
Tips to Help You Schedule Work and Classes
If you’re struggling to find a balance between work and your children’s online classes, here are some tips to get you started.
- Maintain a semblance of routine: Just like a normal school day, have your kids maintain a routine. Taking a shower, eating breakfast, and getting dressed should remain part of the equation, as this will keep your children on task and ready for the day.
- Have some availability: Not all kids are self-starters. As a result, many will require some help to get going. Block off some time in the morning or work out a schedule with your remote employer so that you can get your kids going each morning.
- Block off some extra time: You may also want to block off some extra time during the day to answer questions and help with homework. This is especially true if your child is just starting to work with a new tutor.
- Use a reminder system: Harness the power of automation and the digital age to set up reminders throughout the day. These reminders can range from a timer to tell your kids how long to study, when they have a meeting with a tutor, and when to go to recess or take a break.
- Set up an online system of checks and balances: The world is becoming a digital place in school and work. Therefore, you can help your children navigate the digital world by making them use online checks. Have them send you an email or instant message when they complete a task, or you can even create an online checklist that they can mark when they complete a task.
- Eliminate distractions: Whether it’s a PS4, a cell phone, or a website, you should eliminate distractions in all their forms. Hide the controllers to the video game console, block certain websites, and confiscate phones and tablets. This should ensure that your children get the most out of their school day while limiting temptation.
What Is Virtual Babysitting?
If you have younger children or you can’t find a tutor to suit your needs, virtual babysitting is another satisfactory option. Unlike traditional babysitting, the virtual equivalent consists of hiring a professional to periodically check in with your kids throughout the day or for a short session. These services are especially helpful for individuals who have children in pre-school or kindergarten-aged kids. Companies such as Care.com and SitterCity.com are two of the innovators in this industry, offering one-hour sessions for around $30 to $35 an hour.
Working, parenting, and teaching can take its toll on productivity and sanity. Therefore, the advantage of these types of virtual babysitting programs is that work-from-home parents can focus on their tasks without constant distractions. Plus, children can get engagement from adults, while also learning something. In the past, virtual babysitters use their interests or expertise to help kids learn tidbits of foreign languages or sports. The result is a distraction-free work environment that also keeps children entertained and engaged.
While the immediate future of the public school system remains uncertain, telecommuting parents shouldn’t fret. Online classes and tutoring options are making education quick, fun, and easy for kids of all ages. So hop online to schedule your tutors and classes as soon as possible. This will ensure you get the time slots and schedule you want. You might have to spend the entire fall with your kids around, but at least you can distract them and avoid back-to-school shopping. Sometimes, it’s the little victories.
iStock Image: Jovanmadic, NoSystem images
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