Education has been a part of my everyday life for more than 10 years. I am a former pre-k and kindergarten teacher, experienced tutor and have a master’s degree in reading, so one would think I could handle teaching ONE spunky 5-year-old at home like a pro. Well, though I appreciate the bid of confidence, that would be wrong! This is unprecedented territory for all of us, but it is important to remember you’re not alone and you’re doing the best you can!
At the time I am writing this, we don’t know what distance learning will require of our children and of us as parents but I am sharing some ideas in hopes that you will be more prepared to conquer “quarantined home school:”
- Routine. Last week in a Facebook group I posted a schedule I made for Olivia to keep her and me on a consistent routine. It was quickly criticized for being too rigid: I needed to just let the girl learn through play. Well, that sounds simple enough and could work for some kids, but there is no doubt that my child thrives on routine. She needs that routine or we can make a sharp turn to meltdown city in no time at all. If you are also working from home it is even more important to have a schedule so you are able to get your tasks done, and it will help your kids learn how to give you time to work. Just remember to be flexible and don’t let “mom shame” get in the way of what is best for your child and YOU!
- Read. Read. Read. Read. This can not be stressed enough! Read to your child, have them read to you, Facetime grandma and ask her to read! Even if you do nothing else during this time at home but read, you will have moved mountains in my opinion! Olivia and I are going to participate in the Read OKC Scavenger Hunt; participate and get more information at okcps.org/Page/4530.
- Rest. Allow time in your day for rest and relaxation. Our bodies are working so hard to make sense of what is going on around us that it can emotionally and physically drain us without us realizing it. That goes for the kiddos, too. Whether it is a quiet time in the bedroom or electronic devices on the couch, make time for rest.
You know when the flight attendant says to put on your mask before you help someone else with theirs? Well, this is one of those cases. You have to take care of yourself so that you can have the energy and mindset for working with your children at home. Right, I know, easier said than done. But if you are anxious, distracted or frustrated your child can simulate those same feelings. If you feel yourself getting to that point, take a break. There’s always tomorrow!
When this is all over, you will have spent quality time with your child and created memories at home that you never would have had the time or imagination to do, and if you’re like me, you will also be ready to shower your child’s teacher with an abundance of appreciation, admiration and their favorite adult beverage!
Torie Shoecraft is an Oklahoma City mom to Olivia (age 5) and currently a field representative for OKC American Federation of Teacher.