Current as of April 19, 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, schools remain on modified schedules. Here are some tips and resources you can use to help your child learn at home.
Need More Parenting Resources During COVID-19?
You may be looking for new ideas for managing children at home during the pandemic. Try this updated list of extensive parenting resources.
Virtual and in-person learning
If you are trying to decide between virtual, in-person or hybrid school options for your child, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide this School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers and Guardians. In addition, the Department of Defense Education Activity offers these Virtual Learning Parent Tips for Success.
Establish a routine for learning at home
- Consider your child’s age. Transitioning to home-based learning will be very different for an elementary student than a middle or high school student. Discuss your expectations for learning at home and go over any concerns so you are on the same page.
- Set and follow a weekday schedule for starting and ending the school day and going to bed. All children benefit from structure, even if they try to resist it.
- Build in flexibility to accommodate your own work and other responsibilities. If you are teleworking, see if you and your spouse, partner or another adult in your household can share some of the teaching. It might also help to set aside time in the evenings to check over assignments or work together on reading and other skills.
- Take breaks. Schedule time during the school day for lunch, snacks and age-appropriate breaks. Think physical education, recess, etc.
- Build in time for creativity. Make time for music, art and other creative subjects. This may include time for your child to practice an instrument, draw, paint, try their hand at drama or develop other skills. Have younger children practice counting by stacking blocks, or build a fort from sheets.
- Help your child safely connect with friends and relatives. Connecting with friends and family members outside your household is important. Work with your children’s school, their friends’ parents and others to help them stay in touch. Consider taking turns leading virtual lessons or hosting virtual play dates. Have your children write letters to people they care about while practicing handwriting and grammar.
- Create a designated learning space. Set up a designated learning space that is comfortable and in an area with minimal distractions. Allow children to personalize their space and ensure it contains the equipment and materials they need and can access independently.
Tap resources through your child’s school
- Embrace online assignments and virtual lessons. Monitor your child’s assignments and make sure all work is completed and logged in on time for online sessions. Provide any help your child may need, such as reading instructions and using laptops and other devices.
- Ask for teaching advice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teachers, guidance counselors and administrators for advice as you support your child at home.
- Seek assistance. Contact your child’s teachers or school to resolve issues that may come up with technology, connectivity, assignments and more.
Tap installation and community resources
- Explore home-schooling resources on your installation. These can include installation school liaisons, Department of Defense Education Activity school activities, and programs for children, youth and teens.
- Check out Head Start and Sure Start programs. Head Start teaches reading, math and other developmental skills to children age 5 and younger before they start school. Sure Start is a Department of Defense Education Activity program open to command-sponsored military children at overseas installations who meet age requirements and other criteria.
- Reach out to Military OneSource education consultants. They can assist you with questions about your child’s education. These one-on-one sessions are free and confidential and can provide you with referrals to resources in your area. Call 800-342-9647 at any time to schedule an appointment. OCONUS/International? Use these calling options.
- Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library. This is your source for free online resources for children, teens and adults — including eBooks and audiobooks on virtually every topic. Use the library to help your children learn and stay engaged and entertained.
- Connect with other parents. Stay in touch with parents in your existing network and work together to widen your circle. Share resources, try teaching virtual group lessons and more.
- Celebrate reading. Join the National Education Association and schools across the nation in celebrating Read Across America. Check out the campaign’s Celebrate All Year tips and resources to help your child experience the joy of reading year-round.
- Take advantage of remote learning opportunities. Nonprofit and other educational organizations are offering free resources, such as instructional videos, live streams and webinars. Check out these Sesame Street learning and working at home ideas for preschoolers.
Tap resources in the arts, sciences and more
- Explore these U.S. Department of Education resources for learning at home. Activities include virtual field trips to the National Energy Labs, interactive lessons from NASA, a STEM video library from the Department of Defense, history presentations from Library of Congress and much more.
- Serve up science lessons. Turn to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Digital Library for resources including ScienceFlix, which offers more than 50 complete units of study with thousands of science-related assets. It uses hands-on projects, videos, interactive features and more to give children and teens a better understanding of science concepts and ideas.
- DODEA’s comprehensive Parent Resources page is an asset to every family, even if your child doesn’t attend a DODEA school. You will find links to a wide variety of activities for children of all ages.
- Get homework and tutoring help. Tutor.com for U.S. military families provides on-demand, online tutoring and homework help at no cost to eligible service members, civilian personnel and their dependents. With live, expert tutors available 24/7, military-connected students can receive academic help at their moment of need — anywhere they have an internet connection.
Understanding of COVID-19 is continually changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also contact your installation’s school liaison for updates in your school district and for guidance on all of your child’s education needs. Find your school liaisons through the Department of Defense Education Activity service-specific liaison directories. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms for up-to-date information.
For Department of Defense updates for the military community: