Have your well-intentioned school from home schedules fallen apart, leaving you feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or inadequate? You are not alone in this. Distance brings with it many unique challenges, and with many parents forced to become full-time teachers, caregivers, and housekeepers while working from home, we wanted to offer a few words of encouragement.
This is only temporary. Keep reminding yourself and your child that this is only a season, and things will eventually go back to normal. Remember that you are not responsible for your child’s entire education, even though it may feel that way at times. Teachers don’t expect your child to learn at the same rate they would during school, and will take into account this long break when students return to the classroom next year.
It’s okay to take breaks. No one learns well when they’re frustrated, so if your child (or you!) is finding a particular subject or worksheet difficult, take a break, and agree to look at it again later, with a fresh mind. If you or your child need a day off from learning, it’s okay to take the day off. Forcing yourselves to work through a lesson simply because it’s the time you’ve scheduled to do science will only make for a frustrating learning experience. Remember, kids also have much shorter attention spans than adults, and this can be exacerbated if they have experienced significant trauma. So try to take frequent breaks and do small chunks of work at a time if possible.
Kids learn differently, and that’s okay. Keep in mind that students have different learning styles that are taken into account in the classroom, but teachers aren’t really able to tailor to these styles via zoom meetings and worksheets nearly as effectively. This also means that what worked best for you in school, may not always be helpful for your child. If you don’t know your child’s learning style, click here to take a short quiz. If your child learns best visually, draw out a lesson or process, use items around your house to demonstrate math problems, and find videos that explain concepts they’re struggling with. If your child is an auditory learner, have them repeat parts of the lesson out loud, tell you what they’re doing on a worksheet, and read books out loud together. For tactile learners, try acting out definitions or events, and find projects or experiments to do together.
Teachers are frustrated too. Teachers know that you don’t have the time, resources, or environment to teach your child the way they would typically be taught in a classroom. They do not expect your child to complete every worksheet and learn every concept perfectly. Teachers simply want to make sure your child is continuing to learn over the break, and want to help your children retain what they had already learned this year. They understand you’re doing your best.
Your best is good enough. This is not the time to be self-critical. You have been tasked with brand new responsibilities, and it’s easy to scroll through social media and compare yourself to the parents who seem to be doing perfectly. Most likely, on the inside, they are just as overwhelmed as you. If your child doesn’t finish this week’s math packet, you haven’t failed as a parent. You’re doing your best, and that is good enough. If keeping your child learning means watching their classroom’s YouTube channel, that’s great. If it’s finding a Netflix documentary that interests your child, or reviewing how fractions work as you measure out the ingredients for dinner, that’s great too.