Homeschooling what now? A Therapist‚Äôs Perspective
As most families are struggling to balance what appears to be our new normal life for at least the foreseeable future, a new challenge begins next week when most Oklahoma School-aged children are heading back to school.¬† Only this time, when they go back to school they will not be returning to the physical classroom, but beginning a new challenge of learning at home.¬† With this comes a new set of challenges and opportunities for parents, students, and yes especially teachers.
I know most schools have begun contacting parents to ensure the students have the necessary technological resources to actively participate in distance learning/ homeschooling.¬† Some schools and kids will be able to complete required coursework via online learning, others will have to complete printed material.¬† This is a huge challenge for all involved.¬† I would like to remind you as a parent you are not alone in the struggle, teachers and students alike are feeling it too.
Many of you may be asking yourself the following questions in regards to homeschooling:
- How do I juggle home responsibilities and teaching?
If you have concerns about how you will juggle your responsibilities, I suggest coming up with a schedule.¬† I have found that when I become more anxious and am worrying about all the things that need to get done I easily get overwhelmed.¬† I have also found that having a schedule with tasks and responsibilities written down, allows space in my head to not have to worry about such things.
- I’m worried I’m not smart enough to help my child with school.¬†¬†
If you are worried about your intelligence and ability to help your child with school, you are not alone.¬† Most people who are beginning something new have doubts about their abilities.¬† Think about that promotion or your first professional job out of school.¬† I know I was very nervous and had to consistently fight that little voice inside my head we call self-doubt.
- What if I screw up as a parent trying to teach my kids.¬† I’ve never gone to school and worry I don’t know what to do.¬†
I understand the feelings of fear associated with messing up as a parent.¬† At this time those feelings may be increased due to the added responsibilities.¬† However, I believe we (as parents) will have more support than most teachers starting out.¬† We will have the internet and Facebook to ask for help and ideas, as well as, most of the teachers will be more than willing to give us advice and guidance in helping our kids.
- As a parent what can I do to provide the greatest opportunity for success for my student?¬†
The greatest thing we as parents can do to provide the best opportunity for our students to be successful is to be present with them.¬† As parents, we will need to at times have more patience with them, as well as added structure.¬† The more we can control ourselves and our emotions the easier it will be for our students/ kids.¬† When I have an upset kid, one of the things I do to help them is a breathing exercise.¬† I start what I call a broken record routine, and repeat this over and over again until the child starts to calm down.¬† The routine goes like this:¬† ‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to smell the flowers (I breathe in through my nose), I‚Äôm going to blow out the candles (blow out through my mouth), I‚Äôm going to continue this until I calm down.‚ÄĚ¬† One of the most interesting things I have experienced from this exercise meant to help calm my kid down is that it helps me not lose my cool as well.¬† Our kids will need us to be calm, stable, and available to them.
- I’m stressed already worrying about how to keep my family safe and now I’m having to figure out how to help them with school…¬†
If you are stressed already then now is the best time for you to take advantage of some stress-reducing activities.¬† There are numerous apps for both android and ios that help with breathing exercises, self-meditation, and relaxation exercises.¬† I have also found that there are times when just taking a break and having a dance party with kids helps reduce my anxiety
Some resources that are available right now to help with learning
The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) has also begun to assist with homeschool efforts by changing their daytime programming.¬† Beginning March 30th, 2020 OETA will be broadcasting educational programming to help in conjunction with what the schools are doing.¬† Here is a link to the¬†schedule¬†that breaks down the programming based on grade level.¬† On their website, OETA reports that these changes will last until the end of the school year.¬† For more information on OETA‚Äôs programming changes¬†click here.
ABC Mouse is offering free access during the school closures at¬†ABCmouse.com.¬† You can use the code ‚ÄúAOFLUNICEF‚ÄĚ for the Early Learning Academy (which is preschool to 2nd grade) and Reading IQ (for preschool through 6th grade).¬† The¬†Adventure Academy¬†(for grades 3rd through 8th) uses a different code ‚ÄúSCHOOL7771‚ÄĚ.
This pandemic shall pass.¬† In time we will all get back to whatever we considered a ‚Äúnormal‚ÄĚ life.¬† Each of us has a unique opportunity of the likes most have never seen.¬† We have the opportunity to take this moment in time, slow down, and actually feed ourselves and our children emotionally, physically, and spiritually.¬† Human connection is vital for us we crave it, desire it, and thrive from it.¬† What better way to connect with our kids than during this time when we are homeschooling them.
If you find other resources for parents, teachers, or students please post them in the comments below so we can help get the word out on all the resources available.¬† Helping each other during this time is what makes us as Oklahoman‚Äôs so great!!!
At¬†New Vision Counseling¬†we help individuals, couples, and families like you create a life worth celebrating.¬† We have 2 locations conveniently located in¬†Oklahoma City¬†and¬†Edmond!!¬† Give us a Call or schedule your¬†free consultation.¬† Let us work with you on your path to healing and restoration.¬† We look forward to hearing from you.
Written by Daniel K. Edwards, II., MS, LMFT
Daniel K. Edwards, II. is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist that specializes in Helping Couples find their way to the Relationship they want.