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Doing Online School

Doing Online School

Doing Online School

In the continuing twists and turns of this pandemic roller-coaster, many parents face the new problem of meeting their children’s ongoing educational needs.  Whether it’s because the schools are still closed or because there are other concerns, jumping into doing online school can be daunting.

How do we do this?  Are there special supplies or requirements?  How involved will parents have to be? 

Educate Yourself

Try to remember what it was like when you attended school as a child. In the first few days of school, you became acquainted with your new teachers…and rules.  You were introduced to the basic curriculum that would be covered for that term and given teasers about some of the really cool things to look forward to.  Because doing online school is different in almost every school district, be sure to sign up for any webinars or information seminars that may be offered. Forewarned is forearmed.  Knowing class schedules and what teachers are planning can help your family stay on track and not be sidelined by unexpected deadlines and requirements.  This will also help you to gather the necessary supplies to be ready for the first day of school!

Setting Up

Okay, now that you know “what”, now you have to set up “where”.  Are your children varying ages? Would they be in class, or at the same school together?  Most likely not.  If your high-schooler would be distracted by what their elementary-aged sibling has on their computer screen, then it’s probably best to situate them in separate rooms.  Work with each child to make a dedicated school/study area if at all possible. Things to consider for optimal learning:

  • Make the area as much “like” school as possible
  • Have a desk and a chair. They don’t have beds at school, so don’t allow them to use their beds during their school day.
  • Have a place for everything. Keeping things tidy, especially in tight areas, are better for mental focus.
  • A solid meal before classes start, just like a regular school day, will ensure they don’t have grumbling tummies. Stick to the “school” schedule. Kids aren’t allowed to go get a snack when they want one at school, so don’t let them root through the fridge at home until it’s snack or lunchtime.

Ready, Set, LEARN!

The kids will not be the only ones learning this year.  This will be a group effort from administrators all the way through the student body.  Kids of varying ages will, of course, have different class requirements. Here are some suggestions for doing online school for helping all of your children do the best they can. As always, when taking on something new, be sure to be patient:

  • With teachers and school personnel. This may be the first time they’ve had to undertake online learning and may have limited resources to do so.
  • Your child(ren) as much as you can. In some cases, this may be like moving to another country because things are so different. If they’re unhappy or not doing well, try to find out why.
  • Yourself! If you’re not, or never have been, a teacher then do the best you can. You’re learning too!

 

Just know that this will be stressful for a while…for all of you.  You got this!  Maybe consider hiring a cleaning service while you’re doing online school.  Taking on the duties of “teacher” on top of your other responsibilities will be challenging enough!  Delegate the cleaning to someone else and enjoy learning with your kids.

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The New Normal of Working From Home

The New Normal of Working From Home

The New Normal of Working From Home

Adjusting to the new normal of working from home and “Pandemic Living” has been abrupt and fairly confusing.  Every day there seems to be new guidelines and requirements.  It’s fair to say that many thought that this would blow over in pretty short order, but now it’s clear that …probably not.

So, you’re working from home now. Time to get settled in for the long haul.  How do you make that work?  Space needs to be carved out for you to do your job effectively while not overtaking some area of the house that everyone uses and disrupting the flow of things there.  So let’s look at where to set up shop, even if it won’t be forever.

Important Considerations

If you normally go to an “office” and work at a desk, many employers have internal requirements that can reduce injury or strain caused by poor ergonomics resulting from inferior desks and chairs. It’s important to take this into consideration for your working from home set up as well.  Being uncomfortable at your home desk, however temporary, will eventually take a toll on the quality of your work, not to mention your body.  If you anticipate that this will be even a semi-permanent thing moving forward, perhaps your employer will purchase a new desk and chair for you, or maybe let you bring some of that equipment home for you to use. You’re never worse off for asking, right?

So that everyone has their space, you also need a dedicated space for your work.  Something that you don’t have to take down, say, for dinner every night and one where you can function reasonably without interruption.  Ideally, a room or space with a door so you can shut out the noise and also have a visual barrier to the rest of the household.  The area should be as uncluttered as possible so there is “room” to think and do your job.  Cramming a tiny desk into an overflowing walk-in closet will have you picking up your laptop and moving to the living room in no time.  Be thoughtful about where you are going to work.  It may take a little planning and rearranging, but it should be as close as possible to the work environment you have at the office.

Working from home with the kids!

Having kids at home is another substantial consideration.  They may be thrilled to have you at home, but children, especially younger ones, don’t understand the meaning of needing to earn a living…while they’re at home….during a pandemic.  Adjustments have to be made on all fronts.  Kids thrive with routine because it creates a sense of security, so create one and stick to it.  This will block out time for you to work disruption-free, and your kids will know when you are available and when you’re not.  Be clear about boundaries…like when the door to your work-space is closed, or how long they must wait to talk to you.  This can also help kids to be creative problem-solvers on their own, or to not expect instant responses when they want something.

Be sure that the schedule for everyone is doable in these strange times.  Trade with another trusted parent on child-care, so if you need an extended period of quiet for a big project, they can cover you…and vice versa!  Kids get a change of scenery and you get your stuff done.  BAM!

How others cope with remote working with kids can forge new relationships for you and your children.  Being gentle with yourself until a routine is established is going to be the best way to adapt.

But the housecleaning…!

This may be a good time to consider hiring some help.  The myth that successful people do it all is exactly that…a myth.  Their secret?  They delegate.  Even if you hire professionals to come in and hit the bathrooms, dusting, and floors, you will be miles ahead of your stress.  And that is good for the family during these stressful times.

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