Let’s face it. Your degree is not in education. You have dealt with your children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last 6 months. Some of you got a taste of homeschooling from March until June... but that didn’t count, right? You’re questioning how 1 teacher deals with 25-30 children at once, and you’re struggling with 2, juggling schedules, managing different grade levels, smearing boundaries. Or is that just me? Even as an Educator, I found it difficult to juggle work/ home life in combination with educating my own children.
Don’t pull your tresses out just yet. The school year is rapidly approaching and your children are still deserving of a quality education, even if it doesn’t mirror tradition. Keep these tips in mind when helping your young king or queen through their “school” day.
1. Check your email.
Email can be such a daunting task that we don’t make it priority. We may save it for first thing when we get to work or skip a day entirely to avoid the junk, but for most virtual education and distance learning, email is going to be the primary form of communication. Any schedules, login information, and last minute changes will be sent to your email. It will benefit your child if you kept those lines of communication flowing with their instructor to ultimately benefit his or her success. Don’t blow off the emails! I suggest either using an email account that isn’t cluttered with junk, or creating a new email account entirely. Check from your mobile device nightly so you know what to expect come the next day, and you can plan your day, and your child’s day, with ease.
2. Put yourself child’s schedule on your calendar.
This was a biggie for me. If you use your mobile device’s calendar app, you can set this up in a snap. There is likely to be variation in your child’s schedule; change in instructors, specials like art or music, and any services your son or daughter receives. Although we’d like to think our child is having a one on one experience, the truth is the teacher is not just managing your child’s day, but at a minimum, a classroom full of children that still have differing needs and concerns that need to be accommodated. Be understanding of this and help the teacher worry about one less thing by staying on top of the schedule.
3. Be flexible.
As unpredictable as these times have been, how can we be anything but? I’m all for “rolling with the punches” but we deserve consistency too. The need for consistency is high for all of us right now, especially your children, but keep in mind this is a new experience for all of us. Navigating life in a pandemic has been a roller coaster... navigating your child’s education may feel like that too, but a little understanding can go a long way! Accommodate the teachers needs, within reason. And you’re child’s needs too! Now don’t get it twisted- they will try to get over- but there’s a difference between being flexible and bending boundaries. Which brings me to my next point...
4. Set boundaries.
Kids will be kids. The home environment is much different than the structured environment of school. Home is not just where the heart is- it’s also where the toys are, where the tv is, where mommy is. Communicate expectations surrounding school work. Talk about what the end game is, what the goals are and how you’re working toward that. Get them in a school state of mind. Consider setting aside a separate space that is just a work space so your child knows, when I sit at this desk, or at this table, or on this side of the living room, it’s work time. Make access to typical home things, like Netflix and video games limited for times outside of work times. Get supplies, materials and visuals that communicate, this area is for working, and when you work hard, you get to play hard too
5. Have fun!
I think this is the one I forget the most. I’m so focused on setting my kids up for success that I’m pushing through the work, sometimes dragging them along. If you want your kids to listen to you, you have to listen to them. They won’t always say “My brain is fried” or “I need to move my body”, but you know your child better than anyone else, even the teacher. Consider this: YOU ARE THE TEACHER. You get to say when it’s time for a break or lunch time or if you’re done for the day. Navigating your child’s education at home can be a stressful task, if you let it. Have mid-morning dance party. Schedule recess. Cut their pb&j into shapes. Recognize learning opportunities not in the lesson plans. You got this!
I’m wishing you all great success with this school year! I’m excited as I’m embarking on a new endeavor of being the Owner/Operator of a Virtual Homeschool, Regal Academy. We orchestrate your virtual learning experience and provide support to ensure your child’s success. For more information, click here.