Back to School @ Home

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Having to “homeschool” this year? Check out these four tips for a better school year.

While homeschooling and distance learning are not new concepts, children virtually learning while their parent or guardian are remotely working in the same household is a new, pandemic invoked reality. 

Across the world, and even in the United States, many schools are resuming in person learning. However, a great number of students will be relegated to some sort of virtual learning – either in a hybrid model or 100% on-line. 

With some proactive planning, you can make this time as stress free as possible. Here are some suggestions that helped me feel prepared:

1. Create a separate space for your children.

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Two weeks before school started, I carved out a separate space for my elementary school aged children. And by that I mean the other side of our small family room / office. I made sure they had basic supplies they may need and were able to sit comfortably. I am working full time so this of course will be a challenge. However, having them close, in their own space will allow them to work autonomously with me being able to pivot to assist them if needed.

If your children are older, they can have a desk in their room or an unused corner of the house. The same rules apply, ensure they have any supplies needed now.

2. Meal Plan / Prep.

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Just hearing those terms make me tired. Although I have been working more hours now thanks to coronavirus, I find myself more flustered at meal times if I don’t spend time to meal plan. I aim to have at least three lunches and dinners prepared. I keep breakfast easy, light, and filling during the week. Just imagine-your kids break remote learning to have lunch and it’s already ready for them. No rushing around and extra time lost from work. Also, having lunch from a usual lunch box is a great way for kids to have some normalcy in their lives.

3. Talk About It.

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If you’re working at home and have to share space, it is imperative to talk to kids about expectations. For example, let them know you may have a meeting and need quiet time. You can make signs to aide in this. For example, if my headphones are on my children know I am on a phone call with my job. They can walk over to me with a “I need help” sign and quietly wait until I am able to assist. They know to interrupt if there is an absolute emergency however. 

Typically, there is one spouse or guardian that bears the brunt of the work. This becomes exceptionally hard when that person is single. It is important to communicate with whomever is helping (whether is a spouse, your parents, or friend) your needs and expectations. You WILL need relief or help. Establish a home help base now and discuss a plan of action. Revisit this list often through this time and make sure all parties are on the same page.

4. Join a community group with other parents in your child’s school 

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Kids are resilient. But they are still kids. We out it to them to ensure they are moving and developing as much as possible, with or without the ever present coronavirus. Who better to understand your plight and offer suggestions than other parents who are in the same boat as you. Search Facebook for a local parental group specific to your school and childrens grade. You want to ensure your children can safely socialize on a regular basis. You can also find out information for tutoring or joining small sports teams. Active children are better learners overall.

While we’re all eagerly waiting for “precedented” times, doing the best with what we have now will help is get the best out of the school year with as little stress as possible.

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