The Anxiety of Distance Learning
As I sit drinking my late night tea trying to calm my racing thoughts about “distance learning” next week my head spins. I wonder if I’m alone in feeling the anxiety of distance learning, being a business owner, and a mom of two kids. How will I manage keeping the home quiet enough with my very loud toddler who mostly only wants me when I’m at home, yet I will have to dedicate all of my attention to my elementary school kid. It’s funny because my husband and I had a very long discussion about home-schooling months prior to the COVID pandemic. I still remember it. I was standing in the kitchen cutting up veggies for dinner, knife in hand, and he asked if I would ever consider home-schooling our kids. As I chopped away I laughed at his question and fastly responded, “no way.” I’m their mom and I love that aspect of that but that’s where I draw the line. I had fun teaching my kiddoes throughout toddler age or helping them along with homework but I never considered being the sole teacher throughout the day to my extroverted children. Not only did disaster strike in the spring time as schools closed and our lives were turned upside down, but we were thrown into being full time teachers. The lessons I learned throughout our first experience was that the world won’t stop if my back then first grader doesn’t finish his 12 assignments in the first day, white boards are life savers, and kids need movement over sitting for long periods of time.
I know more than anything and everything that my child needs a mom over a teacher right now and that’s who I am meant to be. I am his mom and I’ll be there supporting him throughout the day in whichever way I can because I know that these changes are hard on the kids too that are missing lunchtime with their friends, races through the school yard, and the in person smiles & patience from their teachers.
So as I prepare for next week to take those first day smiley school pictures, I remind myself that distance learning won’t be as bad because it’s all about the attitude I bring to the table. I know that sometimes I just have to let go of things that I cannot control, accept things not to be as perfect as I expect, and always end the school day with smiles and hugs.
Wishing all the parents an easy transition into the new but very different school year.
5 TIPS FOR DISTANCE LEARNING
Use a WhiteBoard. Post your child’s schedule either on a whiteboard or print it out and paste it on the wall where they can see it. White boards can also be handy for explaining any problems throughout the day.
Time matters. Kids want to know what time it is all the time. Instead of driving yourself insane with hearing the same question throughout the day, add a clock to the room they are in.
Keep distractions away. What a disaster it was when we had to quickly jump into distance learning in the Spring and my son’s room was organized for play not for learning. Legos were everywhere and even on his long Ikea desk that had lego base plates for building. We removed all that and substituted with a simple but big boy desk for learning.
Keep Kids Moving. Remember to incorporate stretching, walking, and recess. No one, even adults, cannot sit throughout the day for hours. Include breaks for fun movement. Keep it light and fun!
Patience is Key. Keeping calm throughout distance learning is key. That’s why we appreciate teachers so much because they have so much patience built in. I remember even during distance learning as a teacher was trying to explain a math problem over zoom to my son, she was so gentle and tried to make it fun to relay how to do it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so we shouldn’t be just expected to adapt to this new distance teacher role in a day. It will take time and patience.
YOU GOT THIS. DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE!