By Nancy Noreman
Time to go Back To School in 2020 or Teach from Home?
Advice for The P.I.C. (Person In Charge)
This year so far, 2020 has given the word “NEW” a much broader definition than ever before. We are entering unprecedented times that challenge us as parents. Not only are we struggling to keep so many things together emotionally, financially, intellectually… We are now in-unchartered territory with our kid’s education. Never before have we been forced to make our children learn mainly by the use of technology at home. The CoronaVirus has made everyone reevaluate how to proceed with normalcy in the face of a worldwide pandemic in regards to Education.
I am not here to debate whether it is right or wrong … I want to help navigate the waters. Let’s face it; if we cannot keep our home in harmony, it will be impossible to carve out time for ourselves to maintain a fit mind, fit body and fuel ourselves properly. Most of us waited to have school-aged children to go back to work, create a new schedule during the school day, etc. and now all of that has been completely blown up in our faces.
As a certified teacher k-12 in three states (NY, CA & NV) since the 1990’s and a parent, I understand all too well the stress, confusion and frustration. The one thing we can all be united on is that we want what is best for our kids. I know that many of us want to keep fighting the system-, which is fine, yet that will not help you in your daily battle to educate your child and maintain your own dignity of life balance.
Most of us are anxious about the school day now. Your anxiety will destroy you and your kids. Although it is perfectly normal to be anxious during times or stress or change, kids feel your stress in an amplified way. You have to remain calm. The best way to stay calm is to feel supported and be prepared. Do not be afraid to speak to your friends with kids the same age and ask what they are doing. Collaborating with others is a great way to get new ideas and know that you are not alone in this battle.
As a teacher, listening to parents go crazy about schoolwork gets me very upset. One thing that I always stressed on open school night was that I never expected parents to teach my students- just provide feedback if their kids did not understand a topic or if their child was unhappy. I believe this applies to all of the parents right now even if your school or teachers are not saying it to you directly. There is absolutely NO WAY that you can teach your own kids if you are not educated to do so and even IF YOU ARE, it is VERY UNHEALTHY. Remember that according to Piaget’s Theory, all children will learn cognitively by their surroundings and cognitive development occurs due to biological maturation.
Some basics to remember for this 2020 School Year:
1) GET ORGANIZED
This needs very little explanation. Every person working from home in your house should have a supply list, an assigned supply area or box and have a designated spot for learning and breaks. It should go without saying that every person should be respectful that others are working at home, too. The rules of your home should be reviewed with everyone. It sounds so simple- but many overlook this.
2) KEEP IT POSITIVE
No matter what your school district has decided to do for education this year, stay positive about it in front of your kids. Bad mouthing their learning environment is only going to make them negative about school and the work that they are doing.
3) SET A SCHEDULE
The lack of in-person learning has lead to so many households being stuck in the house with a very lazy schedule. Leaving so many of us without structure. Wake up and get dressed every day. Writing things down forces a commitment to a task. As simple as this sounds, it needs to be done and we need to be accountable for our time. Include fitness for all of you. Most schools are not allowing sports, gym or any activities for some time due to social distance restrictions. . I would suggest making it fun for younger children- even if it is something so simple like running around the house … or setting up some cones, jump rope. If you are having a hard time carving out your own fitness schedule- this is a great way to get a small work out in as well. We have all been stifled by the lack of movement in our daily lives. BONUS ***Try on non-lycra/stretch clothing every week. Remember that many of us are not burning calories in normal activities the way we used to by getting so many thing delivered now, not driving kids to school & activities, etc. This is probably at least 300 calories/day we are not burning … Be aware.
4) PARTNER WITH TEACHERS
Make sure that you provide feedback to your kid’s teachers about what is working and NOT working for your child. . If you think there is too much homework, if they do not understand a lesson, if they are frustrated on a topic- IMMEDIATELY email the teacher. Do not allow your child to sit in frustration. Remember -IT IS NOT YOUR JOB TO TEACH what your child is not learning. It will only lead to fights. However, it is your job to inform the teacher immediately. Distant learning is very difficult for a teacher to get the proper feedback to see how a student is receiving the information. If your child is not old enough to give that feedback – you must be their voice. Acquiring that skill is really not done until about 9th grade for most kids. Especially if they do not understand a topic- they do not even know how to word what they do not understand. Try to be patient when they are explaining it, or ask them to show it to you in a textbook and snap a pic with your phone and send it to the teacher. My best advice is that it is most important to give your child permission to NOT UNDERSTAND. Mt teaching experience has shown me that many parents yell at their kids saying- “Why don’t you get this?’ It becomes a battle of two frustrated people with a common goal not capable of communicating well. LEAVE THE TEACHING to the teacher. Stay calm. Just inform the teacher and reinforce that it is okay with your child that they do not understand. REMEMBER—this year is unchartered teaching territory- everything is OKAY.
Communicate with each other. Ask questions. Inquire. Inquire. Inquire.
I cannot tell you how common it is to have the followingdialogue with a child:
How was school? Fine
What did you do? Nothing
How is everything? Okay
Sadly- this is the norm … BUT Definitely not good enough.
Some better questions to ask your child:
-What was the best thing that happened in school today?
-Did anyone say anything funny in class?
-What class were you most interested in?
-What one thing did you learn that stands out in your mind?
-Is there anything that happened today that you wish you could change?
-What is the worst thing that happened?
-Is there anything that I did that you think I could do better?
Now that we have school in place, you can get some time for yourself to start back to training and getting your fit life back in order!
Wishing you all a successful 2020/21 School year!
Editor in Chief.