Advice from Houston educators for parents to help students with online instruction

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Virtual learning is well underway for many school children across Southeast Texas, and some school districts have returned to in-person instruction, like Fort Bend ISD.

Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre said some students need an in-person learning environment to thrive.

"We have many students [that] need more direct interaction, those kinds of things," he said.

But many parents, for whom virtual learning is the only option, are struggling to balance their new roles as teachers and technology experts with their already-existing responsibilities.

Kinsey Wall, a mother of two boys who attend a Houston ISD school, said her family is doing their best to support the children, but that it can be challenging.

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"I'm the tech support for the Wall family," she said. "If I'm struggling to find things from time to time, if I'm having a hard time, what about the parents who don't have time? Cut yourself some slack."

Educators are acknowledging how tricky remote instruction can be sometimes.

HISD teacher Daniel Santos said his best advice to parents is to remain engaged with children's lessons and their teachers.

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"Continue to reach out," he said.

And Dana DeMaster with the Children's Learning Institute at UT Health said parents should familiarize themselves with online tools.

"Those kinds of tools are going to reduce frustration for you," she said.

Demasters also recommends asking very specific questions.

"[It will be] much more helpful [to ask] what can I do to help you finish this problem?" she said.

"Ask questions. Never be shy. Never apologize," Santos said. "A [child's] education is much too valuable to sacrifice by being afraid to ask."

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