Cyber teacher provides tips on how to help your child succeed while learning online

Originally aired on WHP-TVSeptember 18, 2020

Between spring and now pretty much every family has struggled, at least a little bit, as learning went virtual.

The new normal is putting a strain on so many parts of the family dynamic.

“I was basically in shock,” said Conestoga Valley High School Senior Ethan Reynolds. “I knew something could happen in the school year, but I just didn’t think something would happen right off the bat.”

For Ethan, the 2020 school year didn’t get off to a smooth start. After just one day in-person, he was sent home to quarantine after a possible COVID-19 exposure.

“They just told me, I had to start online for 14 days,” Ethan said.

“As a working parent, it’s hard for me to be with him 24/7,” Ethan’s mom, Kim Reynolds said.

That’s the struggle for so many parents, trying to get the most out of virtual education, while working or maintaining some sense of normalcy.

“It’s extremely stressful to be working two full-time jobs,” Kim said.

This can be daunting, trying to learn and communicate through a screen.

That is why CBS 21 News spoke with someone who has been teaching cyber school for 20 years to find out the way to maximize output while minimizing pulling out your hair.

Even after 20 years of cyber teaching, perfection is hard for Eileen Cannistraci from Insight Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

To get buy in from your kids, first establish a schedule and routine, setting expectations for everyone.

“Don’t try to be perfect. It’s not going to be perfect,” Cannistraci said. “Once students have a routine down, it becomes much easier. Try to stick to those routines.”

A sound routine, starting with a designated space, making sure each child has a spot to work. In all of this planning, Cannistraci recommends involving the kids, so they feel invested in their education.

“Be patient with yourself and get comfortable with the flexibility,” she said.

Websites like Khan Academy, and even assembling a parent group in-person or on Facebook, will help immensely.

“There are going to be some really great days when things go really well. Try to appreciate them,” Cannistraci said. “And there’s going to be days when nothing goes well and that’s OK.”

“We all want what is best for our children,” said Kim Reynolds

As Ethan Reynolds heads back to the classroom this week, he knows that learning in-person is his best option.

“It’s my senior year. I want to be in the building,” Ethan said. “I want to be in there for the last time. I just want to take the opportunities that I have.”

To learn more about Insight Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, visit https://insightpa.k12.com/.

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