Putting the words parenting, pandemics, and peace into the same sentence seems unimaginable as we take on what we now call our ‘new normal.’ Despite what last spring showed us, virtual learning does not have to be stressful. Here are four easy to implement tips that can help parents, who are now stand-in teachers, find some peace.
1. Create a productive learning space with your child. Yes, we’ve all seen the impeccable home classrooms on Facebook, but as an experienced educator, I’m here to tell you that all you need is your child’s device, a clean desk, and school supplies. Put the desk in a quiet area that your child can personalize and ensure that all needed supplies are in or near their desk to eliminate unnecessary hunting. Also, no, your house does not need to be perfectly clean or organized at all times, but the learning area should be in order to maximize productivity.
2. Plan out your week. Find a blank weekly calendar that your child likes and print it off. At the beginning of the week, go to your child’s online learning management system (i.e., Schoology or Google Classroom) and write down the times of their video conferencing classes and their assignment due dates. You can even set labeled phone alarms and develop reward systems to increase independence and peace of mind.
3. Practice simple technology skills with your child. Trust me, eventually your child, whether they are 6 or 16, will know how to access and submit assignments online. Just use the “I Do, We Do, You Do” method that teachers use in the classroom. First, model it for them. Then, hand them the mouse and guide them. Finally, give them a few chances to complete it with you as a silent nearby guide. I also recommend teaching them how to use text-to-speech and speech-to-text tools on their devices. This way, you will only need to be within earshot instead of sitting beside them all day.
4. Pace yourself and seek help. You might feel like you have to do it all alone, but you don’t have to. Contact your child’s teacher if you are starting to feel overwhelmed or find a virtual private instructor if you notice any skill regression. You weren’t doing it all before March, and you don’t have to now. Just remember: Finding peace while parenting during a pandemic is possible; just accept that it won’t look perfect.
-Mandy Jayne Antwine, M. Ed.
Owner/Instructor of Antwine’s Academics LLC
Private Instruction & Consulting