Let me start by start by saying I am nowhere trying to say I am a supermom – SO far from it! I’m just like everyone else trying to wing it and keep my kids alive.
For those who do not know that I am a parent to three school aged children; my son who is twelve years old, my daughter who is eleven years old, and my youngest daughter who is seven years old. As we all know many of the school districts are closed and will be for quite a bit, with most of them implementing some form of eLearning. I know many of you are like me and thinking “How am I going to juggle all of this?!” My household was “fortunate” to be in the first district to launch eLearning this week, and I thought it would be helpful to share some things that I have experienced so far and just some suggestions I found helpful.
First and foremost, BREATHE!
I was so overwhelmed, and it made my kids stress out even more – which did not help anything. It is not going to be perfect and the teachers do not expect that either. We are not home-schooling; all of the curriculum is already created. My kids’ teachers have been great about being available to help navigate and explain content that we got stuck on.
*Side note – 6th grade Math is crazy hard!
Create some sort of schedule
I found the best schedule for us was not too strict, just something to keep them focused. Not going to lie – it hasn’t really worked yet, but I am hopeful with repetition it will stick.
With that being said be ready to try, and FAIL- embrace the suck!
Be prepared for multiple logins
Be prepared for multiple logins for several different apps and websites. I don’t know if all districts will experience this, but I had to create a spreadsheet for my kiddos there were so many!
Reach out and ask for devices
Having three kids and only one home computer I initially freaked out. However, many districts have devices they can loan out, you just have to ask.
*Side note- I found out today that the loaned laptops are not restricted; so, the whole time I thought my youngest daughter was diligently doing math work, she was watching YouTube.
Think about your internet speeds
One thing I was not prepared for was with having everyone at home, and all on laptops, the Wi-Fi was moving so slow for me. Some suggestions are to direct connect to the modem, stagger work times so not everyone is online at the same time and turn WIFI off on devices not being actively used (phones, tablets, gaming system, etc.).
Have focus times that line up to your work schedule
Focus time for us is when you can work on whatever you want, just be quiet. This can be artwork, puzzles, reading, etc. I am in a lot of meetings throughout the day, some I just listen in on and some I am the main speaker. I try to have the kids focus times during those meetings when I must talk a lot. This is still a work in progress.
Encourage video playdates
Encourage face-time chats with friends throughout the day to work on assignments together- my oldest daughter is a very social person! One suggestion I got from a teacher was to get a group chat going with friends in her class to work on assignments together. We tried this today and she LOVED it. I suggested Zoom, and it worked great.
This is more for older kids but since a lot of the learning is through videos and less hands on learning I encouraged my oldest son and daughter to pause videos and take notes, especially for math problems. This is helpful when taking the quizzes/tests the following day. I would suggest organizing these notes in some way. The first day I just gave them paper and my son went from math to writing to art all on the same paper, so it was hard to figure out what was what.
Be open with your supervisor at work and share your experiences with fellow parents. We all know this can be overwhelming so lean on others to chat through it.
I have always appreciated school educators but even more so now!
Supervisor, Benefits Technology