Life has turned upside down since I last posted on here. Today, I won’t be sharing anything fashion or beauty related. Instead, I’m sharing another passion of mine – teaching. I have been working in education for ten years now, four of those years as an elementary classroom teacher. I left the classroom two years ago (you might have read about it here) after developing a strong sense of my personal teaching philosophy. Since then, I’ve been working as an independent educator and growing my small business. As I’ve seen parents become teachers overnight, I wanted to be a helpful resource during this stressful time. So, let’s get started with 7 distance learning tips for working parents.
The more structure you provide at home, the easier it will be on everyone. Structure will provide a sense of security and promote self discipline. The best ways to provide structure are following a schedule, implementing rules and consequences, and being consistent. Set and stick to a realistic schedule that works for your family. Establish easy to follow rules and consequences, both good and bad, for when those rules are followed or not followed. Lastly, be consistent or all your hard work will be for nothing. Your child is more likely to thrive and succeed in the structure you have provided if you remain consistent.
This ties in with providing structure at home. Clearly state your expectations. A very important expectation to set in the mornings is getting your child out of pajamas and dressed for the day. Define expectations before your child starts any new task or activity, which includes making sure your child understands the directions and is not calling for you every other minute. Give them a list of things to do when they finish their tasks to prevent unwanted behavior in the case that you are busy working. To-do lists are helpful visuals (even if your child can’t read yet) to see exactly what needs to get done. Motivate your child to complete to-do lists by creating special incentives for when they finish everything on their list.
An effective workspace away from distractions is important. Keep all school materials in the workspace and have your child keep them organized. Besides school materials, other basic supplies you’ll need are pencils, erasers, scissors, glue, and crayons. Playing classical music while your child works can be soothing and help with focusing. If your child has a lot of energy or has a hard time focusing, try letting them stand while working or try an alternative seating such as a balance ball. You could even have your child make a name tag to put on the table. When the name tag and pencil case are out, school is in session. When they’re put away, school is done for the day.
If you find yourself planning your own activities to supplement school work, keep them simple. This will be easier on you and your child. The simpler the activity and instructions, the less help your child will need, which means uninterrupted work time for you. Have a few simple activities back to back on a to-do list to keep your learners busy. Repeat activities that your child is really interested in so that you’re not constantly finding new activities and teaching it to them.
Taking breaks is so important to everyone’s sanity. If possible, schedule your own work breaks to coincide with your child’s breaks. Go for a walk, cuddle up and read a book, do some yoga together, or take a snack break. I’ll have another post up soon with more resources you can use for breaks.
If your spouse is also working from home, set up a schedule in advance so you take turns overseeing your child. Check in with other parents in your child’s class or any parent in general. You can create a system where each parent guides the children through an activity over video call. If you have older kids, have them be in charge of the younger ones when it comes to staying on task and reading directions. If you need activity suggestions, Pinterest is your best friend or you can send me an email. You are not alone in this!
Don’t feel guilty about not being able to teach your child from 8-3 while you’re working. There are a ton of learning opportunities you can provide at home. Remember, your children do not need to be doing worksheets from 8-3. School is much more than doing math and writing. Work on emotional skills by having morning meetings over breakfast to discuss how everyone feels that day. Teach about health, nutrition, and math while cooking or baking together. Work on social skills by letting your child video call family and friends. Teach science by making observations on a nature walk or let your child help out in the garden. Teach about gratitude by talking about things your family is grateful for before bedtime. Even if you’re giving your child more screen time than usual, they are most likely learning something new or at the very least working on language skills.
I have so much more to share, but I’ll cut it off here. This does require a bit of work and time to implement, but once these guidelines are in place, learning at home will run more smoothly. Do what is best for your family and make sure to allow yourself time for your own mental and emotional well being. Wishing you all good health, peace, play, interesting conversations, new memories, and small moments of joy as we all get through this together.