I’ve been talking about how we can make it through this pandemic right now, with free online resources for students & fun ideas to do at home.
Today’s post about how to Embrace the Crazy of Social Distancing comes from my sister-in-law, Jill Hoffman. Jill is an amazing science teacher at our local middle school. She is married to my brother, Tim, a high-school principal at a neighboring district. Together they have my sweet niece & nephew, Dylan & Lia. ♥`
Embrace the Crazy
Social Distancing. Possible shelter-in-place requirements to come. You can’t possibly know the effect this type of living can have on a person until you are literally in it. Well, we’re ALL in it now, and how we see ourselves through this will leave an impact.
Will your impact be positive or negative? It’s truly within your control.
SO – the kids are home now through May 15th. The house still needs to be cleaned, the laundry still needs to be done, and meals still need to be cooked.
Now add to that – educating your own children on all subjects for all grade levels while working and getting your own career responsibilities completed from home with said children asking questions after every step of the process. The husband (maybe helping) doing his career duties from home and trying to keep this all in balance within the square footage of your home.
Whew! That’s A LOT!
I know it’s a lot because I’m living it too. But this too shall pass. Honestly, I never thought I’d be working in such close quarters with my husband…ever…and we’re in the same line of work. After five days, I don’t really want to ever repeat this scenario again:
- My husband is a principal & he’s video conferencing with his teachers.
- I’m a middle school teacher & I’m video conferencing with my students/coworkers.
- We’re completing online professional development.
- Our voices are echoing throughout the downstairs rooms of our house.
- My children are both in elementary school and they are navigating online learning with a good amount of grace, but there are questions flying everywhere, all the time, and the questions always seem to start the same way – “Mom…?”
There’s no escape! So, what can we do?
Two ways we can handle this, unfortunate, disaster:
- We can allow the crazy to overwhelm us, causing us to break down, and lose all motivation and control; in which case the next several months will be impossible to emerge from with even the hint of a smile.OR…
- We can embrace the crazy, find the positives, take things one day at a time, and indulge in moments that we otherwise would not be privy to during a normal workweek. I say we embrace the crazy together…and here’s how!
I say we embrace the crazy together…and here’s how!
Create a Schedule
Sit down with your children and ask them to make their own version of a daily schedule, and then together create a schedule that allows for their work to be completed, while still providing them with time during the day to be a kid.
Be consistent with your routine
Kids secretly crave structure and routine. Once the schedule has been decided – stick with it! I promise you – after the first week, adhering to the schedule will become second nature. The sooner the routine becomes a habit, the sooner you are able to breathe easier throughout the day and be more productive with your own work and chores.
While this obviously isn’t the traditional (or preferred for some) method of educating children, it is all we can do right now. Teachers across the country, myself included, are working countless hours to make sure that your children are still able to move forward with their learning in an engaging manner.
It’s SO important that you show your children that you value their education, otherwise next school year your child will begin with a poor attitude about school.
Right now, that looks like you checking Canvas or Google Classroom for assignments and checking your child’s progress on those assignments throughout the day. It saddens me to see social media posts from people saying that teaching is the teacher’s job and “I’m giving up.” It’s ok to just give up on your kid?
In the classroom, I don’t give up on my students, and I surely won’t ever give up on my own kids either!
It Takes a Village
During a “normal” school day, even the most accomplished student may need redirection on their task.
This action is completed ad nauseum by your child’s teachers throughout the day, and will ultimately fall onto your task load these next several months.
PLEASE continue the hard work of teachers by supporting your child and their learning from home.
Ask Questions. Make Mistakes.
It’s OK to not know how to do something. Yesterday, a friend used Face Time to have my child show hers how to access a few documents for an assignment. We were happy to help. I loved seeing their faces and it really made us feel important and valued during this time alone in our home.
This is also a good time to build up you and your child’s growth mindset. Let them know it’s ok to make mistakes as they figure out their own work and problems. It’s ok to make your first “B” on an assignment. How can we experience growth as people if we never experience any form of failure?
Learn a New Skill
My husband and I were scheduled to take a basket weaving (seriously!) class at Mitchell Community College (a local college) this month, but it’s been canceled due to the outbreak. So we plan on heading outside to pick up some pliable branches and try to teach ourselves. Guess who will learn alongside us?! The kids!
Many of you may be learning new skills daily – like 4th-grade math for instance. Embrace it. There are so many opportunities right now with the free educational websites that are giving away their subscriptions due to school closures.
Let your kids teach YOU. This is actually the best way for kids to learn is by teaching others. If they can explain the lesson in a way that makes sense to you then you know they are comprehending the skill!
Make Family Time a Priority.
Time is slowing down these next few months. We are not going to be constantly on the go all the time between the kids’ activities and our after-school duties. It’s actually been really pleasurable to be able to sit down together for dinner and play a game as a family on a nightly basis. And that’s even before they shower and read a book before bed!
Embrace the time that this virus has allowed your family to spend together.
Embrace the time that this virus has allowed your family to spend together. Make cookies, watch a movie from when you were a kid, go for a walk and make it into a scavenger hunt, plan a dinner together and everyone takes a part in the creation, FaceTime out-of-state family, create cards for some seniors at a local nursing home and teach your kids how to address an envelope. Make the most of this time together.
Do you know what would be awesome? Email your child’s teachers and let them know how much you appreciate what they do for your child on a daily basis – even from home where they are also navigating and embracing the same crazy you are…
More Posts You Might Like:
- Free Resources for Teachers
- How to talk to your kids about the pandemic
- The Pepper & Soap Science Experiment to teach kids about germs
Jill Hoffman is a middle school science teacher navigating the virtual schooling lifestyle as a mother and teacher.