As a mom, I have always been involved in the schooling and school life of my son. I inquire how his day went. Helping homework. Observe the grades of my son. I remain in touch with his teachers.
It's back to square one for school kids as Covid-19 daily cases remained on an upward trend. What might be new to other mommies and me out is the degree of dedication needed to keep track of our kid's education during the Covid-19 pandemic. These days seem to come with extra responsibility if the kid's participating in e-learning.
The circumstance of each parent is different, and the logistics around how best to handle your child's education while also doing your own work can vary depending on your children's age. If you have the flexibility to work from home if you have a support system, how long your child will learn virtually.
Many parents are tackling this challenge, and these are tips that could help, as suggested by a source I've read HERE.
Keep A Structured Routine
Your child is used to having a school routine. Even though virtual learning may lend itself well to incorporating some extra flexibility, a set schedule and structure will help your child stay on track - hopefully limiting the unexpected distractions you encounter while completing your own work.
When it comes to planning your family's virtual school schedule, keep it simple. Schedule specific time for:
- Getting out of bed and eating breakfast.
- Being "all set to go".
- Logging in, taking a break for lunch.
- Working on offline projects.
- Rest, relaxation or playtime.
- Homework completion.
A structured routine can also help you understand which parts of your workday may need to be adjusted to accommodate your child schedule, which is especially important if your child is young and requires more hands-on assistance. For example, if your child needs to be logged in at 9.00 am every day, consider blocking your work calendar for the 15 minutes before and after so you can be available to assist if necessary.
Preparation is Key, but Interruptions Will Still Happen
Interruptions are bound to occur when your child is at home every day. You know that your child is not responsible for help. Still, it's easy to compassionate and let frustration take over instead in the heat of the moment. The best way to deal with and limit interruptions is to recognise that they are inevitable and plan as much as you can.
Try the following to help limit interruptions during your workday:
Establish a dedicated learning area with all your child's supplies and equipment.
- Ensure your Wi-Fi meets your additional virtual learning requirement, especially if you plan to make conference calls.
- Make sure that your child is logged in.
- Know-how and when your child is counted and when your child will be offline.
- Prepare lunches and snacks in advance.
- Help your child understand which interruptive questions or roadblocks do not occur during your scheduled work break (you should be breaking anyway!).
- Exercise before the first day of virtual learning.
Even the best plans can be short when weeks or months of virtual learning are needed.
If interruptions are essential, you might benefit from putting in place a "no interruption zone", such as going to a room, closing the door and asking your child to slip a note under the door, or text if he or she urgently needs something.
And remember, interruptions are all right, but try to limit your frustration. You may find that taking a long and deep breath is just time to shift your mind to the extent that your child feels it needs.
Leverage Your Support System If You Can
It is never easy to ask for help, but now is the time to give such advantages or invest in planning tools.
If you are a parent in a household with two parents and both work from home, divide your working day. Maybe in the morning, you are "on-call", and after lunch, your partner will take over. The best support system is one that lives under your roof - make sure that you talk about how to co-parent efficiently while your child is learning virtually.
If you live in a multi-generational household or are willing to help with an older child or another family member, think about bringing it up. Whether he or she can help you learn virtually, make snacks and lunches or do homework, so there's one thing less you can do after work, support is likely to alleviate stress. However, a word of caution, some people are more likely than others to suffer from Covid-19, and people outside your immediate household may not be as safe as your family during this pandemic.
Finally, use the planning tools and technology whenever and where possible. Some online learning platforms used by schools allow you to synchronise children's schedules with your own schedule, which can help you to know when they learn online and work offline. It's also a great way to understand what they're doing every day so that you can ask if the material was clearly found.
A computer or tablet and decent Wi-Fi will be a vital component of the virtual learning plan of your child, so make sure you have access to it.
Be Upfront with Your Manager
If you are concerned about managing your work and facilitating online learning for your child, let your boss know. Explain the new problems that you face, how long you expect them to meet and what your plan is to manage your workload in addition to these new tasks.
If you're currently in the office, ask your boss if you can work from home while your child is virtually learning. If you can't work from home, ask your boss if you can make accommodations to your work schedule, such as flexible hours.
The situation of each parent will be different, so don't assume your boss knows your specific challenges and understands them. Self-awareness and open dialogue can help to set realistic expectations and reduce stress throughout your child's virtual learning experience.
Take Care of You, Too
Education and happiness of your child are a significant priority, but so are your mental and well-being. While you may feel like throwing yourself entirely into the new virtual classroom of your child, don't allow your own work and personal needs to suffer.
Remember, your child still has a dedicated teacher and will spend several hours with him or her online. And while you may need support, teachers and education systems work tirelessly for months to make virtual learning as successful as possible. It's never a bad idea to ask your child how they feel about virtual learning but believe teachers do all they can to help your child learn at home efficiently.
Finally, put your spare time to rest, reward yourself for handling everything somehow and make sure you find quality time to spend with your family.
Parenting is a tough job, and Covid-19 has certainly not helped. However, you can get through it with a decent plan and a lot of patience, love and self-care.