Back to School at your Kitchen Table. Your Best Guide to Successfully Managing Virtual Schooling This Fall
By Jackie White
Summer is winding down and back to school is gearing up, well sort of. This year back to school is looking a lot different than any of us could ever have dreamed. It’s likely that whatever the scenario your school district may be following, virtual school will play a part in your child’s education this year. The following guidelines will help you prepare, manage and pull this off successfully!
Get Ready, Good News and Encouragement
First, a word of warning, virtual schooling isn’t a walk in the park, and it will need some attention from you. The good news is that we are providing the guidelines and checklist to get you started on a positive path! Second, a word of encouragement, you can do this, your child can do this! You might even be surprised how much you both learn from this unique experience!
Before school starts you must take some time to prepare. Hit the sales and gather the materials you will need. This year you might want to consider buying a white board where you can track assignments for each of your kids.This will be very helpful to keep you and your students organized.
Does your child need special equipment, like a chrome book for school work? How well does your wi-fi work? Do you even have wi-fi? If not, check with your school for resources on how to obtain it.
Study Space Environment:
Set up a designated place your child will work. Bedrooms are not great choices for getting work done. If you have multiple kids studying together, make sure they have the space and environment to work without distraction. To help set the atmosphere, discuss if your child likes soft music playing or quiet. Quietly played Baroque music can help enhance learning by improving focus.
Find out how assignments will be assigned, where the details of the assignment can be found along with due dates. This seems like obvious information but frequently is where the chaos occurs.
Grading and “Optional” Work:
Understand the grading of the classes. Make sure you are comprehending the teacher’s directives. Here’s an important tip, some assignments might be considered “optional”; unless you know which ones are, you might be hearing from your child that there are far more “optional” assignments than there really are. I know, I have personal experience in this area!
This is a big one! Spend time on establishing guidelines and expectations on how you will be doing school at home. Share these expectations with your child very clearly. Posting them in your study area is a good idea to avoid later conflict on what’s expected.
Establish expectations around the time school starts and ends, where schooling will occur, how communication will go between you, your child and your child’s teacher, what time breaks and lunch are scheduled and what will be expected to be completed in that week’s time. Consider using positive reinforcement rewards to attach these guidelines to bolster your child’s motivation to stay on task. These are all critical guidelines that must be established before school starts and enforced throughout the semester.
Being your child’s parent is one thing, but to also be their teacher/learning coach requires you to take on a new role. It can really try your patience to deal with an inattentive child or one that needs a snack break every five minutes. For older kids, getting them to get out of bed on time may be exasperating, but you need to keep your cool as best you can. That brings us to the next tip.
Pick Your Battles
Not everything is worth going to war over. Carefully pick and choose your battles to keep the momentum of school moving forward without daily conflict.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Child
This will be new for both parent and child and taking on the schooling responsibility at home can be stressful. Remember for both you and your child to get enough sleep, exercise and eat properly. Be sure to stay hydrated and take time to just relax everyday.
There are going to be days when you want to wave the white flag and surrender, but you have to stay persistent. When the enemy, I mean, your child sees you starting to break or slack off of the expectations, they will jump all over that! You can do this! Just stay the course.
Not everyday is going to be rainbows and butterflies, but do your best to maintain a positive attitude. Virtual schooling is likely not everyone’s first choice on how to school, but it is a circumstance we need to not only survive, we need to thrive. If you are feeling tired or frustrated, take a moment to reset and then do your best to maintain positivity as your energy will feed your child’s energy.
There is always a silver lining. I can tell you from my own experience, that schooling my child at home was one of the best experiences of my life. You have an opportunity here to really engage with your child in a way you would not have before. Take the opportunity and be grateful that you can spend the time with your child.
You are now prepared. Keep your mindset positive, take breaks as needed, but whatever you do, don’t give up!
Oh, yes and remember to Shine On!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.