If you are like me, and so many others around the world currently, you are trying to continue to do your job remotely over zoom, GoogleMeets, and other virtual platforms, which is strange and challenging enough, on its own. IF, you also happen to be a parent, and especially a parent of younger children, you are trying to figure out how to co-teach your child from home with the help of their teacher who is valiantly trying to figure out how to keep learning and engagement alive in these unusual global circumstances. How do we cope?!?
I love the quote above taken from Edutopia because I think it frames well what should always be our stance as parents and educators, but most especially in these times of stress and uncertainty.
Advice from the frontlines
You might have seen this making the rounds on facebook. I love how it assures us that teachers know how to do this AND your kid will be fine if you support them emotionally. Emotional support should be our first priority as parents, not keeping them on track in some imaginary, scholastic race.
At my school, we recognized that parents are seeking help, support, answers for how to do this distance schooling at home in a very strict lockdown. We are in Johannesburg, South Africa and in our lockdown we cannot even go out to walk the dog! He is so sad. So how do you stay sane as a parent, try to help your kid keep learning, and support your child in trying to maintain sanity without being able to leave the house. It is a tricky balancing act.
Help for parents
To address this need, we have begun a mini-parent education series consisting of short videos posted to our new COVID-19 webportal. The goal is to regularly provide some tip or advice to parents to help them try to organize the time at home and to nourish the lives of the family without going crazy! I know, a tall order in these times some days.
Our first video focused on 4 points:
Relationships: You are a parent first. Don’t make distance learning a battle. Make sure they know they are loved and cared for and then try to support the work from class if you can.
Routines: Knowing what to expect in the day makes many kids feel safe. It also lessens conflict when the expectations for time are clear. This is reading time. When I am done with that I can jump on the trampoline.
Responsibility: Our goal is for our kids to become self-directed in their learning. Support them in asking questions and suggesting strategies they might try when they get stuck. Robbing them of the opportunity to problem solve for them selves enables them to become dependent on others. Help them to be responsiible for their own work and learning. It is ok if it is not perfect. Nothing is!
Rest: Learning is exhausting. The brain needs rest. In school there is recess and lunch and times when students are less engaged mentally to balance out the strenuous mental energy they apply for working and learning. Make sure there are rest, breaks, and consistent bedtimes routines at home.
Below find the first video we made which address the points found above. Good luck!