Parents weigh in on needed supplies to help students succeed in virtual learning

Students set to attend school virtually in many Michigan schools districts

With many students beginning the school year remotely, parents are setting up spaces in their homes for learning.

With many students beginning the school year remotely, parents are setting up spaces in their homes for learning.

The Help Me Hank team reached out to parents through our website and the Local 4 Facebook page to get recommendations from parents to set children up for success with at-home learning.

Katey McPherson is an education consultant and mom to four daughters.  Remote learning started for her family three weeks ago.

“It has its ups and downs and we’re finally getting into a cadence and routine,” McPherson said.

McPherson said a must for children is a water bottle or water close by.  She said a lot of kids are reporting headaches.    

As an educator herself, McPherson supply recommendations includes a pencil caddy, folders and “in” and “out” baskets for completed work.

“The pencil caddy, the “in” and “out” box, it’s the organization piece. So when I’m done with something I put it in the “out” basket to make sure that I’ve turned it into the teacher,” McPherson said. “You have a visual and a metric of what you’ve completed.”

Parents recommended having a wipe board or dry erase board. Jennifer Provenzano, a Livonia mom, said it will help her family stay on track. 

“We can organize our time and our days. My mother will be helping us, so that way if I have to go into work in the afternoon and she is there in the morning, she will know what the afternoon needs to look like,” Provenzano said.

Provenzano said her son will be set up at the kitchen, so they looked for ways to make learning fun and the space inviting, which included putting up a map of the U.S. that has already sparked cool conversations with her son Leo. She also got more comfortable chair cushions for him to sit.

Ebony Bagley in Farmington Hills has come up with a creative way to use construction paper.  She and her husband will have green and red cards at their desks while they are working. Red means “I’m working and can’t answer your question.” Green means “Ask away.” She is working on solutions to help balance working from home while their kids are learning from home.

“Each person needs their own dedicated space outside of their bedrooms with their own materials,” McPherson said.

McPherson also worries about children moving their bodies enough.   

“I think every kid should be moving at least every 16 to 20 minutes. Thirty seconds to a minute like a quick stretch break,” McPherson said.  

McPherson said if parents are looking for a product to help with movement consider a wobble stool. They retail about $40 to $65.

“They allow your children to sit and literally rotate while they’re learning. So they get the wiggles out, the brain remains engaged in the task because it’s able to move as opposed to just sitting sedentary for 45 minutes,” McPherson said.


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.