Over the past several months, many co-parents have discovered a new challenge: working together to help their children succeed via online learning. Accessing school lessons, meeting with teachers and completing homework can be time-intensive for parents as they assist their children, and each parent needs to understand the class’s expectations for family participation.
Here, as in other circumstances, communication is vital to children’s success and developmental health.
Regardless of underlying conflict between themselves, co-parents should find a way to talk through their approach and expectations for their student’s education. For some, this may be through in-person visits, virtual meetings and phone conversations. However, many co-parents find email and messaging better tools, as they can take time to review communication and plan their responses to reduce the likelihood of an unrelated argument cropping up.
Even parents on good terms may discover that an online calendar is an essential tool for sharing school-related information.
Many teachers have extensive experience working with divorced parents. Resources are available that can help them to work with both parents and ensure that everyone is on the same page. If the teacher does not suggest it, though, parents should broach the subject.
Parents and their child’s teacher may create a teacher-parent partnership plan, writing out the goals, resources, strengths, concerns and actions that each household will commit to. It also should outline how parents and the teacher will give and receive information and ensure that no one misses anything. For example, both parents should be on the class email list, and both should be a part of any conversation about their child’s education.
Even young children may instinctively know how to play their parents against each other to get out of work. It may help parents to sit down with their student at the beginning of the year and discuss expectations so that the child knows that parents will communicate with each other and with the teacher about any unproductive behavior. With everyone on the same page, the school year is much more likely to be successful.