After reading this CNN article recently, “A mother captured an emotional photo of her son crying in virtual class to show difficulties of distance learning during pandemic”
I was reminded again that this IS what all of us are worried about regarding school this year. The absolute feeling of disconnection and disillusionment that happens with online learning. As a teacher of 28 years, I can guarantee you most teachers feel the EXACT same way. This is NOT why we are teaching, this is HARD and, in many cases, just isn’t enough. For me this image and the sentiment encapsulates why I started my tutoring business. Even in the best of times some kids need more. Today with the changing delivery methods parents are left trying to figure out how to manage a day with “asynchronous” learning and how to make it meaningful. We have a few tips and we are here for you if you are looking for more support.
- REFOCUS…Seeing our kids in an emotional breakdown is a surefire trigger for our own fears as parents. The past 6 months of isolation has taken a toll on all of us, and it has left us quicker to enter fight or flight mode. The first line of defense is to take a deep breath. No really. It sounds hokey, but breathe deep 3 times and feel your nerves calm down. Now ask your child to do the same.
- RELATIONSHIP before rigor…If your child is irritable or weepy, it may be time for a break. Remember that your relationship is more important than completing a task. Offer a snack, suggest some exercise (20 jumping jacks or a run around the block), or tell a joke to ease the tension. Set the timer and gently guide your child back into the task when you both feel more confident.
- RESET…Focus on gratitude for all that is right in your world. Even in the worst of circumstances, there is light. Start with simple things like the fact you have been given the gift of another day. Pay attention to your senses. What do you see, hear, feel, taste and smell that brings you joy? Together, with your child(ren), make a gratitude jar and add to it when things are going well. On hard days, pull out a few to remind you and your child that just as Christopher Robin encouraged Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
While these strategies, in and of themselves, seem simple and may not get the task completed immediately, they do provide the necessary space for you and your child to shift from feelings of overwhelm into a willingness to try again. On those stressful days of feeling like the sky is falling, that is the first step for success.
If you are looking for a partner to come alongside you as you navigate these learning challenges with your kids, LiftOff Learning would love to help.