FAIRFAX, Va. — As schools get set to virtually reopen this fall, that could mean more work for parents across the DMV. Full-time parents are adding part-time teachers to their resumes as students prepare for the upcoming school year.
The back-to-school season looks very different this year as parents rely on virtual teaching tools more than ever before. During recent months, local teachers have created resources that can be viewed online.
Shawna Garrett is a local fourth-grade teacher and a Fairfax County mother. She said this fall semester will be an adjustment for everyone.
"The entire country is in the same boat. We are all going back to something different than what we left in March," said Garrett.
More people will rely on homeschooling or virtual learning this year. In fact, according to a recent survey from Varsity Tutors, they found 47% of the 1,000 parents they interviewed are considering homeschooling this year. On a normal school year, only 3% of families choose to homeschool.
"Our kids are digital natives, they grew up with technology so once they get the hang of it, they are going to be OK. It is just about figuring out the systems from the get-go," said Garrett.
To prepare for your first day of virtual learning, Garrett suggests setting up a physical workspace and make sure to check that you have a strong internet signal ahead of time.
"If you don’t have it, reach out to your schools, because many school systems are making sure that they have technology available for families who don’t have it," said Garrett.
When it comes to your 2020 school supply list, Garrett said it likely won't cost you as much since many learning tools can be found online for free.
"Just remember that there are life lessons they are learning right now that they would not have otherwise had and sometimes we need to focus on that part of it," said Garrett.
Garrett said it is important to keep communication open with your teacher during this season.
"The technology specialist at their school is also another great resource. Put their email in your email contact and just have that go-to ready," said Garrett.
Garrett said it is important to instill healthy habits during this season.
"In my opinion, the focus needs to be on the social, emotional and mental health and making sure they are still thriving," said Garrett.