Fall school closures raise concerns about education, socialization & impact on parents’ jobs
NORFOLK, VA (July 16, 2020) — With many schools expecting to turn to online learning this fall in lieu of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of parents report they are unprepared to begin or resume at-home schooling, according to a Homes.com survey of nearly 700 parents of school-age children. The findings highlight some of the challenges faced as the U.S. confronts another season of coronavirus-related school closures.
The survey revealed that only 18% of parents feel “completely prepared” for their children to have a remote learning experience in the fall. In contrast, 24% said they were “completely unprepared.” The rest expressed uncertainty about their ability to adequately support at-home educational efforts with 21% “somewhat prepared,” 13% “somewhat unprepared” and 24% “unsure.”
Top concerns with holding classes at home are the difficulties of focusing on schoolwork in a home setting and the loss of social interactions, particularly for children in preschool and elementary school. Those two factors topped the list of worries with 27% of answers each, followed by the lack of after-school programs (13%), parents’ inability to substitute for teachers (12%), the need for childcare (10%) and inadequate technology at home for online learning (9%).
“Our study shows just how much parents are grappling with a changing home environment,” said Homes.com president David Mele. “Countless homes may continue serving as classrooms this fall, if not beyond. It’s clear that parents have real concerns about their children’s ability to have a productive learning experience and the resulting impact on their education.”
The Homes.com survey also measured parents’ experiences with in-home learning necessitated by pandemic-related school closures last spring. Among the findings:
Nearly 23% of parents whose children transitioned to remote learning had to teach some or all of the curriculum themselves. Only 35% of children in an online learning situation completed coursework independently.
Just 21% of parents considered the at-home learning experience “completely successful,” and that dropped to 9% when parents had to participate in teaching. Another 26% said the strategy was “mostly successful,” but 32% said it was only “somewhat successful” and 21% said it was “not successful at all.”
52% of parents who were unable to implement virtual learning at home were hampered by school systems that were not equipped for remote teaching. Other reasons for failing to transition to online learning included a lack of at-home internet or appropriate computing devices (38%) and an inability to serve children with special needs through distance learning (23%).
65% of parents struggled with job issues because of their children’s at-home learning needs. Of this group, 42% made adjustments such as moving their work hours, 35% said their work suffered, 23% had to reduce their work hours, and 5% quit their jobs because they didn’t have childcare.
Over 37% of parents set up their children’s learning station in the kitchen, living room or other common area. Perhaps not surprisingly, almost 60% of these parents stated that their main concern about online learning in the fall is their children’s ability to focus and learn effectively.
More information about the Homes.com Learning at Home survey can be found at https://go.homes/HDCSchoolSurvey.
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