New Normal: Working from Home, Schooling from Home

We live in interesting, and confusing, times.  For many, working from home has become a requirement, not a choice.  And as of March 17, in the State of Kansas, our kids’ normal has now been altered drastically. Due to the concerns over the spreading of the COVID-19 virus, school facilities across the state have been closed until the end of the school year.  That means roughly 8-9 weeks of a completely different routine for families. 

Rest assured, it’s not the end of the world. Many of us are unsure of what our roles as parents/educators are going to be. One thing is for certain, when this is all said and done, we will have a new appreciation for those that choose to educate our children as their chosen profession.  Thankfully, we are fortunate enough to live in a world where technology is so readily available.  What many of us have viewed as a distraction will now become a vital instrument in the education of our children.   

How do we juggle all this from our kitchen tables? How do we keep the kids on task while trying to get some amount of work done ourselves?  First of all, we should view this as an opportunity to connect as a family and learn more about our kids and what interests they have when it comes to learning.  Guidance will be given by our school districts and tasks and lessons will most definitely still be implemented by the teachers.  But there will still be a responsibility on parents to ensure that the lessons are completed and the kids are staying on task.  

We’ve compiled a list of tips to keep in mind in the coming weeks: 

  1. Have patience: It’s a given; there will be plenty of frustration as we navigate uncharted territory. Expect interruptions and distractions, they are bound to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are so many resources out there for us to turn to, especially when us parents get stuck on the dreaded COMMON CORE MATH.  (Does that make sense to anyone?!?!) 
  1. Make a schedule: If you’re working, have the kids doing schoolwork as well.   Take breaks when you need a break and get some fresh air! 
  1. Set goals, and stick to them: Set goals for yourself on a daily basis; what you want to get accomplished and what you need to get accomplished. Allow the kids to take some ownership in their education as well.  They are used to a rhythm for their school day! 
  1. Be flexible: While there will be dedicated time for traditional school work, the schooling from home concept allows us a unique opportunity to introduce some non-traditional learning.  In this case, the dreaded screen-time isn’t a terrible idea.  There are plenty of resources out there for kid-friendly documentaries and classic films.  Take this opportunity to introduce some valued life skills into their day. Cooking and baking actually reinforces math skills, and they get the thrill of accomplishment when they’re finished. Arts and crafts encourage creativity, and can be a fun family-friendly activity. Take a drive through the zoo and talk about the animals. Let the kids guide some of their own learning!  
  1. Recess is good for you:  It’s not just for kids anymore! Go outside, run around, have a picnic, plant a garden.  Your own backyard could be one of the best classrooms your children have.  
  1. Try to have some fun: In these uncertain times, where our normal changes daily or even hourly, it’s important that we remember that we’re all in this together.  Remain respectful of each other, no matter how frustrated we get with being in each other’s space. Find a routine that works for you…every family is different. What works for one, won’t work for another.  Someday we will look back on this and be grateful for the added time we got to spend with each other.  Think of it this way—you get a front row seat (from a much different view) to watch your child learn, grow and become whatever great thing they are destined to be.  Remember, this is only temporary. It is not a burden, but a blessing.