The University of Iowa

Supporting Your Children’s and Teens’ Home Learning: A Guide for Families

Mother and two daughters learning at home

Our guide offers resources for students of all ages and can help you get started on the right foot with continuous learning at home.

By:  

Grace Barker

Student Communications Assistant, Iowa Reading Research Center

Sean Thompson

Communications Specialist, Iowa Reading Research Center

Posted on: April 14, 2020

Editor’s note: Even when classes are suspended, children can continue to make progress toward grade-level reading and writing standards at home. This post is part of an ongoing series designed to help caregivers support children’s and teens’ literacy learning while schools are closed in response to the spread of COVID-19.

To help families support their children’s continuous learning, we published the Iowa Reading Research Center’s Supporting Your Children’s and Teens’ Home Learning Guide (see Supplemental Materials for Families). The resources provided in this guide can be used as tools to complete or supplement the material provided by schools.

In addition to tips about creating a productive learning environment at home, the guide offers suggested web resources containing online activities, games, and teaching practices to foster literacy development for students in elementary, middle, and high school. Additionally, there are web resources related to assistive technology use during home learning for families of children with dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

Supporting Your Children’s and Teens’ Home Learning Guide Features

An infographic provides tips on how to set up a learning area in the home by remembering the 3s:

  • Space: creating a space where your child can focus on learning
  • Supplies: equipping your child with the materials they need for the home learning space
  • Sharing: working with your child to share the responsibility of coming up with an agreed-upon schedule

Now that you are physically ready to facilitate learning at home, we offer a second infographic with teaching and motivation suggestions to ensure you are equipped to provide the kind of guidance that will enhance your children’s home learning experience.

The web resources that follow the infographics are split into two grade ranges: kindergarten—Grade 6 and Grades 7—12. The resources are organized by subject: English language arts, science, social studies, and history. Some of the websites feature guidance for you as the co-instructor or videos demonstrating family-friendly lessons and activities. Other websites have interactive activities, texts for students to read, and other resources to promote learning. Families can access all of the websites in our guide for free, but we note those that are only free for as long as schools are closed. Some websites are also available in other languages, which Is denoted on the guide.

Finally, the guide offers web resources for assistive technology for assisting with home-based reading and writing assignments. They offer assistance through formatting alterations to websites, proofreading, citation generation, and more.

Actively making sure children and teens continue learning at home is just one of the many responsibilities families are assuming during these difficult times. Caregivers are not expected to become master instructors or content experts, but you can play an important role in making sure your children’s continuous learning is manageable and beneficial. In conjunction with the instructions you and your children are receiving from your school districts, our guide is there to help you along the way.

Supplemental Materials for Families

PDF iconSupporting Your Children’s and Teens’ Home Learning Guide

Our guide offers tips on establishing home learning areas, improving the home-based learning experience, and utilizing web resources for students. Web resources for assistive technology for home learning also are included for students with reading disabilities.