Our role as parents with our child’s online learning

There have been many questions about what parents should or should not be doing regarding their child’s online learning. So, we asked our Assistant Principal Mrs. Stedman for some guidance. Below are her responses to our questions and you can find further information on Cherry Crest Online Learning Guidelines in our district’s Remote Learning Guidelines

Q. What do we as parents do or not do while our child is online?

We want to foster independence for our students as much as possible. When technology is working and students are listening to instruction, side by side support is not necessarily needed. Even for our youngest students, when possible, we encourage students to listen and learn independently. Often, we teach students the “Try 3 before me” rule. This encourages students at any age to first try on their own and ask the teacher/classmates for support online first before asking a parent or guardian to step in.

You know your child best. If your child learns best knowing you’re close by, we encourage you to set up a learning environment that best suits your family’s needs. However, we also understand that you may have other responsibilities, which is why fostering independence is a helpful way to set your child up for success with fewer check-ins and monitoring.

Things to try:

  • Use a written checklist to support your child with his/her to-dos
  • Set an alarm or kitchen timer for meeting times or work completion
  • Have specific check-in points to monitor your child’s listening, learning, and work completion throughout the day
  • Popping your head into the learning space to make sure your child is engaged, and if not, encourage him or her to refocus attention before leaving the room again
  • Positive incentives for listening, learning, and work completion (i.e. Sticker chart, tally marks, or marble jar)

If you notice something specific about your child or someone else’s child, please keep that to yourself during the live instruction time. We are happy to hear about concerns or questions as they come up and can address these through email or during a scheduled meeting. Please do not use chat on Teams to inform the teacher of concerns. If there’s a technology concern and your child is struggling to login and/or hear what’s going on, certainly you can inform us by email, and/or at times, it may be helpful to mention to the teacher on behalf of your child during the live meeting using their mic or chat feature. Even better, we encourage your child to inform his or her teacher about what might be going on behind scenes if he or she needs technology or academic support.


Q. Does everyone know, or understand that we can see in their homes, hear what they say in the background and see their child’s successes and struggles?

Yes, of course. We are all guests in each other’s homes. Naturally, and just like in the building, teachers will have conversations with students about successes and struggles. This shouldn’t be a secret, and yet, the conversations are between the teacher and student. However, if something is overheard or comes up that is concerning, parents should always feel it is appropriate to send an email to the teacher directly.

If successes and growth areas are shared and overheard this is a more than appropriate time to check-in with your child to have a follow-up conversation. Learning happens when both the teacher and family all work together. Celebrate successes! And if growth areas are discussed, work through this at home by acknowledging what was overheard and discuss a plan for success. Incentives are great here and goal setting at home is always helpful! This shows that you are working with us to support learning and growth.


Q. We see other kids being disciplined.

I understand this would be uncomfortable. Please keep in mind we are all in each other’s homes, and just like you wouldn’t want someone judging your child, we ask that you do not judge other people’s children. Distractions happen…and teachers do need to manage their classrooms remotely similarly like in the building. Management at times requires us to call on students who need gentle reminders to remain focused and on task. You can certainly use this as a learning opportunity for your child as well by having a discussion about online behavior and learning expectations.

Reminders at home about online learning expectations can help here:

  1. Students shouldn’t be using chat to engage in silly behavior, or private chats with friends while instruction is happening
  2. Students should remain on their live meeting page and should not be using other platforms or sites (i.e. You Tube)
  3. Students should maintain as much focus during live instruction as possible – You can support by:
      1. Help with breaks
      2. Remind your student to stand, stretch, drink water, snack on healthy foods to help with focus
      3. Fresh air helps
      4. Check-in periodically throughout the morning to support with engagement as you’re able to 
  1. If not, set your student up with checklists, fidgets, snacks and water before learning begins.
  2. Check-in after live instruction and ask follow-up questions about learning and assigned tasks
  3. Check-in at the end of the day before dinner or bedtime if your child was at a daycare site


Q. We see our own kids being disciplined (awkward).

Same as above. I see this as a learning opportunity for you and your child to discuss engagement, focus, and learning. Reminders about expectations and follow-up at home is always helpful no matter what setting we’re learning in – remote or brick and mortar.


Q. Should we help our kids during class?

As necessary, of course! Again, as much as possible, we want students engaging and advocating for themselves independently. Depending on the age, this is easier said than done. You know your child best. If you are worried or are wondering if you’re involvement is too much, or too little, you can always talk to your child’s teacher to hear perspective and to learn ways to support at home. We’re all in this together, and yet, these are our students and we know many of you have other responsibilities beyond home schooling.

Personally for me, as a mom to a first grader, we are setting alarms for class meetings, helping with checklists and reminders, and only support during live instruction when our daughter asks for help. We’ve taught her to come to us when there are problems with understanding and technology. However, I feel most proud when I hear her raise her virtual hand to ask a question to clarify instructions directly with her teacher. We celebrate this! Also, we tend to support more during asynchronous times in her day, and leave her alone for live instruction. There’s give and take as sometimes she needs support and her teacher is in the middle of instruction. Therefore, we of course help as needed when she comes to us. Additionally, it’s never perfect. We check on focus and engagement as necessary, especially when I hear her rolling around in her chair during instruction. For this, we encourage a break and/or some sort of movement.


Q. What if we see other kids needing help but the teacher doesn’t?

This is hard. We don’t talk about other people’s children unless they are your own. I think if there’s a pattern that’s noticed, say something. Often times situations are seen out of context and/or most won’t know what kind of follow-up or follow through is happening behind scenes. If another student is struggling, chances are we’re aware and the teacher is likely already working with that student and the family. It doesn’t hurt to ask or to gain clarity, but again, we won’t talk about other people’s children and their circumstances or growth areas.

If there’s a tech issue, please email us so we can support that student right away. You can email the teacher, of course, but another way to get a quick and a more immediate response would be to send an email to cherrycrestattendance@bsd405.org.


Q. The dynamics are very strange and how we can help is unclear to us.

I think your support and flexibility is invaluable. Teachers are working around the clock; working harder than I’ve ever seen. And parents are in the same boat. This is hard and we’re all building this plane while we fly it. With that being said, talk to your child’s teacher to ask your questions. Teachers will provide clear guidance for ways you can support your child at home and/or with their learning and assignments. When things are unclear, ask us your questions. We’d rather you ask than sit wondering what to do next. We’re here to work with you and partner with you.