Make at-home learning work for you.

School closures have forced parents and caregivers to assume the role of primary educators for their children, and have transformed homes into makeshift classrooms. Faced with the unexpected, we’ve all had to pivot our daily routines and start wearing additional hats around the house – and many of us don’t know where to begin. 

The overarching goal is similar to that slogan stay calm and carry on, well it’s hard. And, I’m here to help. It’s essential to continue to nurture your child’s academic skills, confidence, and motivation while they engage in at-home learning. Sound simple enough? Of course not. How do parents define what that looks like? How can we create balance in our homes and among our families while we are struggling to be business people, teachers, as well as mom and dad all at the same time?

In an effort to uncomplicate the complicated, I’d like to share our advice in creating balance at home for you and your family, and it can be summed up in one simple acronym: S.S.P.G.

Space: Create a dedicated space for learning at home. This becomes the classroom in your house or apartment, signaling to children, ‘while I am here, it’s time for school.’ The physical boundary will lend itself to an organic division between school/work time and playtime. With potentially multiple children vying for space, it’s important to carve out areas for each student and time to ensure that each child has dedicated time and space. Try and make sure the space is away from distractions such as a TV and create order in the space with areas for pens, pencils, paper, devices, maybe even have the backpack on the chair.

Schedule: It’s no secret that children thrive in the environments expertly created by their teachers and school administrators, so how do we attempt to mirror that success at home? Develop a routine that is feasible and keeps the family on track. Start the day with bed making, breakfast and brushing teeth. Once everyone is clean and dressed, dive into morning lessons and note the time you begin. It’s important to be cognizant of the limited attention span young learners possess. Be sure your students take regular breaks throughout the day. Consider half hour learning blocks at a time broken up with 10 minutes of stretching or free choice activities like throwing a ball with the dog. Students excel with a specified schedule, the structure of which proactively addresses some at-home learning hurdles. Dr. Mary Rooney, PhD. is a licensed Board Certified clinical psychologist and author of the popular blog Kids Can Focus as well as the Huntington Learning Center ADHD blog. Dr. Rooney explains that structure reduces conflict, provides a sense of control and security as well as reduces anxiety and improves motivation for students. Small yet important wins for everyone!

Partner: Now more than ever parents should be encouraged to lean into the support and resources their school districts and especially their children’s individual teachers are providing. Partner with your student’s teacher on material, curriculum, and learning methods, and stay in regular touch as best you can. This will ease the transition to learning from home and set your family up for success. At Huntington Learning Center, we’re partnering with our students and families by creating a quickly-evolving pool of resources in the form of webinars, digital learning platforms and remote support systems for families. 

Goals: Families will not only feel, but see their measured and increasing success by setting achievable goals and celebrating them along the way. Goals of all sizes are important; set small, daily goals (read 15 pages, complete one math practice activity), as well as weekly and monthly goals dictated by grade level milestones outlined by teachers.

As you embark upon yet another week where you find yourself juggling the demanding roles of head chef, janitor/housekeeper, project manager, shipping and procurement director, veterinarian, CEO, COO, and on top of that all that now becoming your child’s teacher, remember – S.S.P.G. Set achievable goals and a feasible schedule for your home and lean on your resources, it takes a village! Also, don’t forget to reserve time for creativity and curiosity. We are all doing the best we can and quality time to enjoy each other is equally important!


  • Anne Huntington Sharma

    President and Board Member, Huntington Learning Center

    Anne Huntington Sharma is the President and a Board Member of Huntington Learning Center, the nation's leading tutoring and test prep provider. Anne oversees business strategy and growth initiatives, including partnerships, marketing, digital and technological transformation, and franchise development.  Anne is involved in the arts as a collector, producer, philanthropist, curator, and founder of AMH Industries, a creative agency for contemporary art and culture. She is an associate producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary, 'The Price of Everything’ and an associate producer on the documentary ‘The Art of Making It’. To date, Anne has curated more than 30 exhibits across the country and raised over $30 million for various philanthropic causes. Additionally, Anne is active with arts, education, and business organizations. She is a board member for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, Art Advisory Board member for NYC’s Coalition for the Homeless, member of the Women’s Franchise Committee for the International Franchise Association, member of the International Director’s Council at the Guggenheim Museum, and a founding member of the Future Leadership Council at the Whitney Museum. For her service, Anne has been recognized by SmartCEO, Apollo Magazine, and Moves Magazine. She has also been honored as a Woman of Wonder by Franchise Dictionary Magazine, named to the NJBIZ Education Top 50 list, as well as the NJBIZ 40 under 40. Most recently, Anne was named one of NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business and was awarded the Silver distinction for the American Business Awards, Maverick category. Anne received her BA from Colgate University.