In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, educational professionals, who are also parents, are swallowing the sour pill of having to teach our own children, which for some reason is so much harder. And parents who never had to teach their own children, now understand a little bit better what teachers go through daily and are showing an outpour of appreciation. To add insult to injury, we are all trying to learn how to continue to do our jobs virtually—if we haven’t already been deemed “non-essential” and laid off.
The crazy thing about all of this is there is this unspoken expectation to do it all without missing a mental or emotional beat. Well, I don’t know about you but I’m realizing with each passing quarantined day that just as much as we all need to stay home to stay safe, we have got to find ways in this unprecedented era of “social distancing” to stay sane also!
In the classic words of Whitley Gilbert, we need to “RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE!” Here are some suggestions to get us through:
Regular parents, regardless of the daunting task that has been thrust upon you, YOU ARE NOT A TEACHER! That’s just a fact and you won’t become one now! Also, teacher-parents, though you have experience and training in this area be advised, YOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT YOUR REGULAR STUDENTS AND TEACHING THEM IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCE ALL TOGETHER! This is not news, as most of us, given the choice wouldn’t dare opt to do such a thing! We are all learning while doing something never been done before. Give each other a break!
Here some things to keep in mind:
- Testing and scores will be suspended as well as professional scores, school scores, and promotional advancement requirements adjusted.
- To expect new knowledge or even learning progression in these physical, mental, and emotional circumstances is absurd. So, let the goal be to simply continue exposure to standard materials and keeping kids on some kind of familiar structured day. However, a homeschooling day is not as long as a regular school day and shouldn’t consist of more than 2 – 3 hours of online direct instruction, and paper and pencil work.
- Capitalize on independent and fun opportunities for educational learning that is less structured. This can be watching educational programming like PBS, YouTube song/dance videos that reinforce math and reading skills, and or downloadable interactive games or websites (some school districts have links on their webpages that take you directly to the ones your child is used to using) such as LEXIA and JIJI Math.
- STAY INFORMED as we are dealing with a serious crisis, but limit the “Corona Overload” of information. Nobody’s anxiety will benefit from that. Catch morning news and evening only! Check social media for a laugh here and there, but don’t let these “end of days” and “conspiracy theories” run on a loop in your home.
- Incorporate fun for fun’s sake. Play in the backyard, take a walk around the block “within social distancing guidelines,” play board games, card games, do puzzles, cook or bake together. Try to use this time to create projects, experiments, memories and appreciate some of the extra hours of the day you are getting with your kids and family that you wouldn’t have regularly.
If all else fails, take occasional family time outs. Personal space and time is still a thing we all need quarantined together or not. Hell, if you can, take a mid-day nap, or a mid-day shot! Cheers!
Again, this cannot be said enough, these are uncertain and unprecedented times evolving daily! Adults and children alike are struggling to maintain balance and structure, and to just remember what day it is.
A fun idea to spice it up and keep it straight is to theme each day. For example, On Monday, we all wear mix matched socks, on Tuesday wear a holiday shirt, on Wednesday each person has to tell a joke, Thursday eat breakfast for dinner, etc.
Check in with your kids! We are all NOT OK and THAT’S OK! Address and identify with their worry. Sometimes children find comfort in the fact that we’re all figuring it out together and we’re all a bit antsy. Encourage journaling and picture taking because this is a part of our history and once it passes, as it will, they will have something to look back on and a useful tool for working through their thoughts and emotions in the midst of turmoil.
Keep loved ones close! Not necessarily in the physical sense, but bring the outside world in through video chatting apps such as Zoom and Duo. Allow your kids time to talk with family and friends. We adults should do the same! This is the time to connect with those we’re always too busy to call usually.
I mentioned a nap, and a shot earlier, as well as some alone time here or there. You can also soak in a bubble bath, scream into a pillow, binge watch a Netflix show of your choice once the kids go to bed, drive around, but stay in your car. Whatever works for you!
Work on you and look towards the future! Read a book, learn something new or research a trip to take once we get the all clear.
Check things off of that “to-do list”! We all have stuff waiting to be gotten to around the house be it laundry, painting, planting, etc. Lucky for a lot of us this is happening in a time where even inside of our homes we have numerous options for entertainment, exercise, and expansion. Keep in mind and prayer (if that’s your thing) those of us at this time who do not have such options!
Just a few tips as we muddle through together at this time! Use these ways and find others to RELAX, RELATE, RELEASE, while remembering that like all our worst days before…this too shall pass!