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5 Tools to Help Parents Navigate Supporting Education During a Pandemic

By Amanda Neely

October 2020

It is safe to say that some form of remote learning is here to stay. “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” I think we’ve all thought those words at some point in our parenting journey. We’ve more than likely heard them when navigating math problems, which is supposed to be the “universal“ language. In regular times, it seems to be a bit of a cosmic joke played on a lot of us where the only time we actually use the quadratic formula is  20+ years after we learn it. Even then it’s only to help our own children with their homework.  If this isn’t fun all on its own, layering in the challenges that come along with being a parent and supporting schoolwork during a pandemic creates an experience none of us could have ever imagined. As I have navigated this process myself over the last few months, I have discovered some tools that have really helped me keep my family on task with as few tears as possible.

Supporting Education and being a working parent

During my quest for resources to support our new nightly routine, I stumbled upon some reports regarding the impacts the pandemic is having on education particularly on educators. Global News Wire reports the pandemic has constrained the supply of teachers as they leave the profession.  Teachers are leaving for reasons such as caring for their own children, the greater need for work life balance, or simply due to burnout that has resulted as the burden to adapt to the rapidly changing educational environment lingers. I found the most impacted area are the STEM subjects.

Remote learning evolution

It is important; however, to give credit where credit is due. School districts, administrators, and educators have worked hard to rapidly meet the demands to support virtual learners. The virtual learning strategies have come as a unique mix of technology and creativity. In the end though, parents are left to fill a major gap when it comes to keeping kids engaged and on track. In addition to educational limits, we are seeing an increased number of parents taking extended leaves of absences to support their children considering this gap. In turn employers are scrambling to define policy that both supports and retains their talent. Law makers are also being pressured to pass legislation, like EFMLEA under FFCRA, to support caregivers having to fill these gaps.  Ironically, technology is continually innovating to help fill the void despite previously being one of the most resource constrained industries due to the lack of interest in the STEM fields. If current trends continue, it is expected that constraints will continue to increase at a higher rate largely due to the lack of qualified teachers. As we continue to depend on technology for support, this could prove to be troublesome.

Education support tools for parents

In my quest to be the best math tutor as possible, I found helpful tools that kept me balanced. These tools are specifically designed to help parents who are also attempting their own overnight PhD in supporting education in a virtual World. Here are a few I have found to be helpful along our journey:

(mobile app available on iPhone & Android) – Not only are we at home educators, but academic strategies for teaching math have changed in recent years. Photomath helps bridge the gap. You can take a photo of a problem right from your smart phone and Photomath will work it out. It will also provide the steps on how to get there to reinforce the concepts ongoing. There is also an option to enter problems into the application when a photo isn’t an option (think… word problems).
This non-profit education platform has endless amounts of virtual subjects that are delivered via short video recordings. The instructors help break down a myriad of concepts and limits the tears shed by us all. Khan Academy has mastered the art of delivering complex content in an easy to digest manner – all delivered virtually. The best part about these lessons are they are offered for free as a part of their mission to “provide a free, world class education for anyone, anywhere”. They have proven to be invaluable for students, parents, and educators.

Back to the basics

After having been out of in-person school for close to 6 months, some of the children’s basic foundations were rusty. I started to research different options for refresher visuals to help us and I stumbled upon Teachers Pay TeachersThis site is full of resources created by teachers – for teachers.  These resources are great for anyone who needs support material without recreating the wheel. I found several visual aids to have handy to help keep us on track and boost her confidence. The best part is, I was able to support several teachers in the process!


This solution is a web-based learning resource that provides practice problems with detailed steps & easy to understand navigation. We found this particularly helpful for preparing for concept quizzes and unit exams. There is both a free and paid version available.
6th grade advanced math moves at warp speed with a new concept almost every day. I found that we were rolling up our sleeves for hours on end each night. It was wearing out just as quickly as new concepts were coming in. By mid-week, we were all finding ourselves worn out and exhausted. In college I was introduced to a special type of yoga called yoga “Nidra”. It is a meditative practice between the wake and sleep state that helps with winding down, relaxation, and meaningful rest. I modified it slightly to help it fit us more since my girls are younger and it’s been so helpful in winding down. Yoga Nidra is a great tool in any toolkit, but especially when supporting remote education. The best part is that anyone can pick this method up and use it right away.

The future of remote learning for parents

We are being challenged to adapt to our changing world across all our identities. The path is sometimes unclear, but we are also in a unique spot to be able to define it. The way our children are educated from here forward is going to look vastly different. It’ll also require us to adapt and support them in completely different ways from before. We can take solace in the fact that kids are resilient and will persevere in today’s climate and beyond. If we show up, support each other, and do our best with the tools we have, they will prosper and lead us to greatness.

To follow along with Amanda’s efforts by day as a leave innovator and by night as a moonlight math teacher extraordinaire, subscribe here and visit us at Be sure to also look for upcoming features and journeys as we humanize the leave experience. 

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