Virtual Learning Won’t Survive without Family Engagement

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been able to spend more time with my family. It makes me think about the new normal for my scholars. Many of them would often share stories about not being able to spend the time they would like with their parents. Well, we certainly have this time now. 

The offset of having an inhouse learning environment during the day is that television becomes an even more viable option in keeping everyone occupied. The hit television show by Atlanta rapper, T.I., Family and Friends Hustle, which follows the lives of T.I. ‘s family and several of their close, celebrity friends could be one of those television options. Ironically, there are a lot of scenes in each household that focus on education. It was good to see Black families on television, especially the audience watching this show, seeing parents spending time with their children. 

Virtual learning won’t survive without family engagement!

Family and Friends Hustle shows the stars working in the rooms while their children are on their devices doing homework. Not only are they both working, but they are also engaging in conversation. This is a great example of how virtual learning can take place in the same workspaces as parents with children of any age. Watching this series also reminded me of how important family and home environments are to student learning and motivation. The focus is on how school culture impacts family and student engagement. 

I thought it was good for our culture, in the midst of many reality TV shows similar to Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, that Family and Friends Hustle took a different approach and made educational and business excellence a norm. This is vitally important for children and young parents who are seeing the importance of education being discussed outside of classrooms and churches. I have heard from my own mom, who is an educator, and fellow colleagues speak on how important it is for parents to be engaged in the educational journey of their children

COVID-19 should not put us in the mindset that school is on break! 

Each year, the GaDOE does a culture survey to gain feedback from parents, students, and teachers about the atmosphere of the school. Due to COVID-19, the state tests have been removed. However, this shouldn’t stop parents from actively working with teachers to ensure that their children have mastered the Georgia standards for this year. 

We are now seeing how many Georgia schools are moving to virtual learning but not ready. If our school districts aren’t ready, then we can’t expect our parents and students to be either. Parents, guardians, along with those supporting Georgia’s children while they are home, are seeing the evidence of what many teachers have been saying for a long time. I’m encouraging families to implement some of the best practices I observed from the T.I., Family and Friends Hustle that certainly can work, especially with adolescent and teenage students:

  1. Use time daily to have real-life conversations with your kids. Critical thinking skills come from the information that our children are exposed too and can process with our guidance as parents-teachers. Have family conversations about what’s happening in our society and the world. 
  2. Help your kids understand how to manage emergencies that may happen and how to prepare for a rainy day (unexpected emergencies). These are math, social studies, language arts standards.
  3. Reinforce critical thinking skills by allowing your kids to solve real-life situations within the house. Maintaining schedules for work, play, eating, exercise, and most importantly, responsibilities. This includes savings for bills and groceries and giving your students a task to manage the cost. Seeing their peers on television doing this is a great motivation . 

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