After speaking with many friends today and seeing the panic across the faces across many parents across America, I realized that we're experiencing a secondary reaction to COVID-19: we are in the midst of a virtual learning epidemic. It's running its course across many of our communities and the results are good, bad, and everywhere in between.
Having had a short stint with homeschooling, I have a few pieces of advice, which mostly applies to parents of elementary-aged school children. I hope you find this helpful. Take a read and please share.
9 Essential Tips to Survive Virtual Learning
1. Kids need breaks.
They can't continue working for an hour straight. It's too much. Break up work into half-hour chunks. Forcing your child to do more than they can do puts pressure on everyone and no one wins.
2. Don't feel like you have to get it all done.
Adjustments will be made. Do what you can and that's all you can do. This is new territory we're in. Some of us have jobs, some of us are stay-at-home. Either way, it's hard and new. Not to mention were all a little coronavirus-stressed!
3. No full days.
In my opinion, your day shouldn't operate as a regular 8-3pm school day. You day should be around 4-5 hours max.
4. There are essentials and there are non-essentials.
If my child misses Latin, oh well. Stick to the basics: reading, spelling, math, writing.
5. Give yourself time.
We'll all start to feel the flow of this. Give it a week, then create a schedule. Adhere to it loosely. Here's one I created to help get you started: http://www.devinalmonte.com/homeschooling-schedule.html.
6. The technology piece will get easier.
They might be ninjas at Minecraft and Nintendo, but connecting to school work through tech is new and hard. They'll (us included) need some hand-holding through this process. Take time to learn the tech aspects of programs your school is using. Maybe that's all you can do this week.
7. Update your child's teacher.
Let them know what's working and what's not. This is new for them too.
8. No comparing.
It's good to talk and share and it's also not good to talk and share. Different schools are implementing different virtual learning methods. Don't compare; don't complain. Stay in your zone and work with your teachers. And then of course, you'll see superstar moms that have time to baked cookies at the end of a long day of homeschooling to celebrate the day. Don't compare; don't hate on them either. Just keep doing what you're doing.
9. Working parents.
Leave an OOO email message that states you'll be delayed in responding to emails due to these unprecedented times we are in. No, you simply cannot find a way to be full-time teacher, full-time employee, and full-time parent. Let them know urgent messages can be sent through text. On the flip side, teachers will also need to know that you couldn't help complete a science project because you had a business meeting to attend to. Worried about keeping up with the demands of the house? Time to let it go. Consider it a successful day if you managed to get yourself dressed and bonus points if you actually made the bed.
Best to everyone!!! It will get easier!
Stay wholly well,
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