COVID has turned life upside down for everyone. Parents and kids alike are struggling with the new norm of being home. All the time. Who knew that the “quality time” we all lamented as being in short supply, is actually quite stressful in large, undefined stretches?
Right now, school is a primary source of stress, anxiety, frustration, and deep guilt for many parents. Our new role as “teacher” is one few of us were prepared for. We not only lack the skills, but we also lack the vital benefit of a classroom that creates a cohort of camaraderie and participation. Most of us don’t have the right tools, resources, or years of training to understand the nuances of how to get kids excited about the material placed in front of them. If there ever was a time to truly acknowledge the patience, wisdom, and utter magic of teachers — now is that time!
It’s important to offer ourselves grace, yes. But, while we’re trying to find a balance between self-discipline and self-care, we need to maintain our patience and there are a few things we can do to make life run a little smoother on the homeschooling front.
5 Tips for Adapting to Home Schooling During COVID-19
Below are some guidelines to keep in mind. It’s also vital to remember, this pandemic won’t last forever. We will eventually get back into a more normal, familiar routine and we’ll be able to relinquish the role of teacher-parent. You don’t have to win teacher of the year, you just have to keep the ship afloat while we’re at sea.
Connect with teachers
Most teachers right now are keeping office hours and offering 1:1 appointments for parents — take advantage of these opportunities. If you’re not sure whether these options exist, don’t be afraid to reach out to your child’s teacher. Even if you don’t think you have any questions or aren’t sure what to talk about, schedule the time anyway. Connecting with your child’s teachers can help you better understand their expectations. This will also give them a chance to hear what you have going on in your household — they can give you tips, tools, and tricks of the trade to help your child get the most out of their school time at home.
Let go of traditional timelines
For most of us, the day is packed with school, work, snacks, meetings, work, more school, requests for more snacks. Add in exercise and fun and sticking to the typical school schedule can feel impossible. Kids do work best with a basic rhythm to their day, but the routine doesn’t have to be written in stone. Allowing for flexibility right now can ease tensions. If they’ve spent the day building forts and have to finish math after dinner, so be it.
Set realistic expectations based on family needs
Everyone has a different situation. Some parents are out of work, some are on the front lines working overtime, some are attempting to hang onto their jobs while working from home. Create a schedule for your child that takes your family into account. Not only may this look unlike their traditional school day, but it may include getting school work done on weekends when parents have more time to help out. Communicate with teachers about what your family is going through and get creative with how best to use your time.
Create a cohort
Have friends who are all dealing with the same unfamiliar homeschooling life? Schedule Zoom time with other families to give kids a chance to socialize, play, and chat with one another. This can be designated time throughout the day that they kids can look forward to while you catch up on work and return an email or two.
Remember that learning is everywhere
The tone that’s set in the household goes a long way. This can be a great time to talk about how we come together in a crisis, how we can deal with hard things, and what it looks like to be patient and flexible. And maybe what it looks like to pitch in with a chore or two!
Just remember: you’re not alone. Many of us are struggling to adjust and take on new responsibilities like teaching. For additional support during this time, check out our free Facebook support group for parents, moderated by our team of licensed therapists.