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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

Partnering with Parents in a Hybrid School Setting

Over the past few years, we have seen an evolution of the way education serves our students in the United States. Parents now have several options for the way their child can learn each day. One of the growing movements since Covid is the hybrid school.

A hybrid school is a setting that meets less than 5 days a week. Teachers partner with parents to complete some learning in person at a facility or online while the remaining learning happens at home with a parent. There are a variety of hybrid schools that include public, charter and religious affiliated programs.

Many families are choosing hybrid models as an alternative to merely homeschooling their children. Hybrid models provide students with a regular class that can allow for collaborative projects and problem-solving. Many models also take much of the decision-making challenges from parents by providing materials and even lesson plans. This can be a dream for many families as they choose the best math curriculum and strategies for their students. In a hybrid model, curriculum and manipulatives can be provided and support is there to help parents along.

However, hybrid models come with their own set of challenges, particularly when parents find themselves teaching math in a manner different from what they experienced during their own education. Let's take a moment to explore these challenges and discuss some troubleshooting tips including a FREEBIE:

  • Varied Parent Involvement: Depending on the type of hybrid model, parents may be required to have an active role in their child's mathematical studies. They may need guidance on how to best support their child's math learning at home. Teachers will need to provide parents with resources, clear instructions, and a curriculum overview.

  • Relearning Math Content: Many parents may not have learned math using the same methods and techniques chosen in the math curriculum, especially if it's a Singapore style curriculum. The shift towards more hands-on and conceptual approaches can be daunting for parents who are more accustomed to traditional, procedural methods. Learning to teach math in a way they never learned themselves can be a significant hurdle.

  • Parent and Student Math Anxiety: Let's face it- not everyone likes math...yet! Some parents may have their own math anxiety stemming from negative experiences with math during their own education. This anxiety can show up in the day-to-day math work at home, especially if it's a new topic or new to parents.

  • Balancing Multiple Students: Many families educate more than one child in a household. Parents may need to juggle multiple teaching styles as each child has their own unique learning needs. It can be challenging to cater to these diverse preferences and find a balance that works for everyone.

The challenges parents face when teaching a math curriculum that they didn't personally experience can be significant. However, hybrid school models can partner with parents as educators by acknowledging these difficulties and actively addressing them. Hybrid schools and teachers play a pivotal role in supporting parents through the transition between class instruction and home instruction by providing resources, clear communication, and guidance to ensure that every child receives a well-rounded math education, regardless of their parents' previous experiences.

In order to do that, teachers and schools must be very clear about expectations. I work with schools all over the country and am excited about the creative ways we can meet the needs of different hybrid school models. Here are some of my top suggestions:

  1. Parent Education is Essential: If you want parents to partner in the education process, you need to consider what parents will truly need. I often provide Parent Info Sessions in one hour that will give an overview of their curriculum and the best way to teach at home. Model lessons for your parents and provide them with quality resources they can use at home.

  2. Provide Quality Resources: Many math programs include Teacher's Guides that include teacher vocabulary. This may not be the best resource for a parent at home. Consider textbook series that include Home Instructor Guides, such as Primary Mathematics 2022, that aim the instruction at parents. Use support resources such as technology, video and even teacher support sessions that can prepare parents for the content.

  3. Clear Communication is Key: When considering what will be completed at home, use School to Home letters and detailed lesson plans so there is no guesswork in what's to be completed. Let parents know if they need to reference a resource or video from the Math with Purpose Video Library that will help them during their lesson.

  4. Be Considerate in What Goes Home: Thoughtful planning must be in place to ensure success. When planning the week's lessons, consider the following:

  • What lessons lend themselves to more collaboration and conversation? These are probably best served in a classroom setting.

  • What lessons are essential to students' progress moving forward in the curriculum? These are lessons that teachers will want to have adequate data about students' progress before moving on. This might be through a written assessment or online assessment like Knowledgehook.

  • What lessons can be combined in class while practice happens at home? This is often a question I get asked a lot while teachers are trying to plan to fit everything into their modified schedule. I like to look at similar lessons and see how those two can be combined while the practice gets completed at home with parents. This allows me to save a day and teach the more challenging content in class.

  • When is a new topic introduced and how? Whether a lesson is discovery based or essential to understanding should determine where to teach the lesson. Discovery-based lessons can be great for parents to explore with their children while essential lessons may be best suited with a teacher who knows exactly what to point out in the lesson.

You can see a few of these ideas explained in more detail in the video below. Then complete the form to access the Primary Mathematics 2022 planning resource I mention in the video.

In case you missed it: I already did the decision making for you if you are using Primary Mathematics 2022. Simply complete the form below to instantly view the Google Sheet listing each lesson and my suggestions. Please keep in mind that these are merely suggestions. Schools should make decisions on their students and parents. Also note that Book A is completed. Book B is still being written.

As we look to the future of education, the opportunities to create meaningful and effective learning experiences for students, regardless of the learning environment, are boundless. Together, we can embrace these challenges, adapt to new methods, and provide students with the best math education possible in the ever-evolving world of hybrid schooling.

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