The finish line for at-home online learning is weeks away with a long summer ahead.

With no standard or consistency for parents, what should families truly focus on to make sure their kids stay on track and move ahead?

Reading, writing and arithmetic.

Virtually back to the basics is what teaching professor Dr. Michelle Duffy advises parents who are teaching at home.

"I have a fourth grader and a sixth grader at home, and every day, they have something in math, they have something in language arts, which is your reading and your writing," said Dr. Duffy, an assistant professor for education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at SUNY Oswego​.

If families are lacking in guidance from schools or have no access to computers or the internet, Dr. Duffy says keep it basic.

"Just creating your own math worksheets on a piece of paper can be helpful. Anything at all that you can do to move them forward is beneficial at this time," Duffy said.

Duffy offers reassurance to parents having real fears about their children not being prepared for their next grade level. 

"The teachers are aware that there's going to need to be reteaching next year, or whenever we come back," Duffy said.

Duffy said to communicate a lot with the teacher about any specific struggles you are and your child are facing.

"I have a child who has dyslexia. Getting through her reading sometimes is really hard," Duffy said. "Shared reading got through it faster than we would have otherwise."

Just working in the home together can give them an academic advantage, too, Duffy added. 

As homeschooling and virtual learning is still a part of our everyday lives, here are some ideas:

  • ​Starfall (
    Online interactive practice in reading and math. Not everything is free on this site, but a lot is.
  • Storyline Online (
    Celebrities read children’s liters aloud; includes lesson ideas to get children thinking/writing about the stories)

  • National Geographic Kids (
    Videos, readings, and games to learn about science and social studies.