Learn Everywhere: Helping Parents Support Their Children’s Education at Home

girl coding on a laptop with her mother and toys learn everywhere
Inga’s daughter learning to code at home

We have partnered with Learn Everywhere to share information with our community about free resources for parents to support their children’s learning at home during COVID-19.

Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children’s education. I’ve always believed that, but my experience with remote education over the past couple of months has reinforced it. Now more than ever, families need to band together to support their children’s education at home. I want to share how my own family is rising to the occasion and introduce you to new resources to help you: the Learn Everywhere website and the Learn Everywhere Facebook group. Armed with knowledge, families can adapt and thrive, and come through this experience with confidence.

Our Mission to Keep Families Informed

Since our founding, San Antonio Charter Moms has focused on helping families to research and choose among school options—primarily charter schools, but other models as well. With all campuses closed for the remainder of the school year, our response—posts in the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group and the Charter Moms Chats videos—has been focused on supporting parents with distance learning.

It’s time to move beyond a crisis response and imagine what the future could be. Our team has been working hard to gather information about what the return to school may look like in the fall, but all we have for now is speculation. Also, as of this writing, it appears that camps and other group activities are on hold, so the responsibility for summer learning will primarily rest on families. Rather than wait for the schools to tell us how they will bring students back on campus, let’s organize ourselves and make sure our kids keep learning at home.

Guided by Our Kids’ Passions

These days are a blank slate. Without the requirements of a school day, after school activities, and social gatherings, the hours are open to us to spend how we choose. 

There are times when I have felt depressed, listless, or aimless. How do I know that I am on the right track? At times like that, I go back to the fundamentals—the simple pleasures of life, like going for a walk with my kids, or cooking a meal together. Then I put my sights on the far horizon: What kind of people do I want my kids to become? What kind of life do I hope they live?

I want my kids to have lives filled with choices. I want them to do work that is meaningful to them and allows them to give back to their communities. I want them to have the confidence to chart a course, to try and fail, and to be gracious to the people who help them along the way.

As a family, we can have meaningful conversations about where our kids’ passions lie. Then, based on our own experiences and advice from people in our network, we can figure out what skills they will need to get there. The resources for them to learn these skills have been out there all along. We just weren’t looking for them, or we didn’t know how to choose among them. 

Our Children Can Learn Everywhere

When I find myself feeling anxious about the uncertainty of what’s happening in education, or overwhelmed by the materials out there, I use two strategies. One is to dig around on the internet to find out what’s available. It starts with asking, “I wonder what’s out there?” or “What if there’s a way to learn . . . ?” There were already so many sites, courses, and videos on the internet that I didn’t fully appreciate until now. Innovators in education, including local organizations here in San Antonio, are creating more resources all the time.  

However, sometimes the range of options seems so vast that I feel discouraged. I don’t know where to start, or I am afraid of making the wrong choice. That’s when it helps to remember that although we are practicing social distancing, we are not alone because we are members of online communities. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel—we have friends and neighbors who are on this path, too. In an online community, you can ask a question, and other parents will step up and share their experiences with different strategies and materials. 

In our family, we switch between the two strategies—the searching and the evaluating. The weekly schedule that I made on a spreadsheet back in March keeps getting copied, refined, and elaborated. If a particular resource isn’t working for us, we can drop it and try something else. If something starts to get boring, we can change it up or make it more challenging. 

That’s why I am thankful that yes. every kid. created the Learn Everywhere website and online community. The Learn Everywhere website is a great place to search for resources, and the Learn Everywhere Facebook group is an active online community where parents help each other to create learning experiences at home. For local information, we hope that you will continue to turn to the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group and the Charter Moms Chats videos. Armed with knowledge, families can adapt and thrive, and come through this experience with confidence.

I hope that you, too, are having an awakening about how, as a parent, your children’s education rests in your hands. As you support your children’s education at home, we hope you feel a sense of possibility and optimism that children really can learn everywhere.

Next: Our Roadmap for Summer At-Home Learning.

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Inga Cotton

Parent activist and founder of San Antonio Charter Moms. Raising two children to be independent adults who do good in the world.