It’s strange. It’s strange to me and it’s strange to them. They wake, they eat, they sit. Then 5 hours later they stop sitting and we have lunch. The pros are that they are not exhausted at the end of the school day and doing homework is less of a struggle because of it. The cons are they are under stimulated and have to get the energy out. Thank God we have the pool.
I have been able to be detached from their actual class time as I had hoped. The WhatsApp groups have quieted down as the majority have found their stride (or given up… some have definitely given up). And then there are the complainers who continue to complain far past it being cathartic.
I complained I know. And I see the merits of a good venting session. But continuing to complain about something that is a fact and unchangeable (what are you’re choices? Homeschooling them without the school?) is just a waste of breath and energy.
If you find you’re one of the complainers ask yourself if it’s making you feel better. If it, is then go for it. Just find the right people to complain to.
My method of coping with a difficult situation, that I cannot change, is trying to shape myself around it in the most comfortable way for me and my family and wait it out. So if I am not in the most comfortable position but it’s working, and I know that eventually, I’ll be able to get comfortable again, it’s not helpful for someone to say “wow… this is so uncomfortable. Aren’t you uncomfortable? Especially that part! That part is extremely uncomfortable… right there where you are. Right? I mean how uncomfortable are you? tell me!”
A good vent to a friend is important and God knows this will happen so I am not condemning that. I am condemning the widespread “lets all talk about how difficult this is constantly without suggesting any ways to make it better.”
So here I am suggesting ways to make it better! Here are the things that worked for me to be able to detach and hopefully still be in the loop with my children online learning.
1- Get them on a laptop or desktop and remove or restrict their tablets or phones. “Working” on their iPads is the same as me “working” on my phone. Too many distractions. It’s like trying to study in the middle of the school cafeteria. Also, the portableness of a phone or tablet means you are more likely to have a child walk up to you and stick the live feed in your face and film you whatever you are doing.
2- Make them wear their uniforms. I know this is a mandate here and I know many found it silly but I find that they tend to take it more seriously than attending class in their normal clothes. At least we are saving some of the going school rituals we used to have.
3- Make snack time a thing. For my kids, they go to the playroom at snack time and it’s on the table ready for them. This adds another ritual that helps them mark where they are in the day and keep a routine. Make a list of the weekly snacks to simplify the process and not spend ages deciding what the snack is on the day.
4- Give your child all the information they need to sign onto the classes. Show them how once or twice, let them do it while you watch, then stop watching. My children can navigate their games, build worlds in them, sign on and off of them at will, check their email for the voucher then input the numbers of those vouchers into the game to unlock some silly suite or weapon or whatever. They can even hack the screen time passcode if they try hard enough (no more using my year of birth for that one). If they can do that, then they can handle putting numbers in the zoom screen and pressing join. Do not get sucked into the “I can’t” rhetoric your little one is spewing. They can, they just like you to do it for them.
5- Do not completely detach. I know this is the opposite of what I said before. Detach in the sense that you don’t have to sit with them all day. But remember they are children who can get distracted by a piece of lint or a ray of light (true story). So periodically stick your head around the corner to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.
6- Treat it like a normal school year when it comes to routine. I know this is difficult since some of your children don’t start their day till 3pm*. But decide what the schedule is and stick to it. If they’re still going out daily, staying up really late and floating without a clear routine, they will not settle into the school year. Try and keep the rules as close to what they used to be pre-COVID when it comes to screen time, going out during the weekdays and sleep time. I don’t think we’re going back to schools anytime soon, so stop waiting and settle in.
7- If you have the time and the energy, ask them what they learned today in the different classes they took. This helps you get an idea of what classes they have to pay more attention to. It’s not an easy task for a teacher to teach 23 (yes 23) students in one class over zoom. It’s not all going stick.
8- Accept that you will have to teach them some of the things that they should have learned in class. Do not accept if you have to teach them the majority of things they learned in zoom. This is not ok.
9- Be forgiving. Forgive your child for being bored. Imagine sitting in back to back zoom meeting for 5+ hours a day. Forgive yourself for whatever it is you do that needs forgiving. We’re all just trying our best. Forgive the teachers. It’s hard for them as well.
10- Aim for “as good as possible in the current circumstances” as opposed to “the best in class!”. “As good as possible” is not a free ticket to throw the whole year out of the window tho. It’s just a reminder that things are different and that’s ok. My child may still excel. But if my child is working hard and giving it his best shot then I’m happy with that.
This is the year of learning how to deal with frustrations, how to manage their time, so they’re not late for class. To self regulate and learn how to self manage.
This is the year to learn decision making and the consequences of those decisions. In a classroom, they are continually being corrected and redirected. At home, unless you plan to attend every class, they have to learn this on their own.
This is the year of spending more time together and learning to navigate that!
This is the year to take responsibility for their own learning.
If they do not progress a lot academically but manage to have learned those life skills its a win in my books.