Over the course of the past few months, the world has changed unexpectedly - and perhaps, even a little drastically. With COVID-19 and the global pandemic taking force and forever changing our world, life as we know it has ceased to be anything but "normal" moving forward. Gyms have closed until further notice, salons and clothing stores are slowly reopening, restaurants are open for only outdoor seating or limited capacity - these are difficult changes in aspects of our daily lives that we never knew we had been taking for granted. One of the major changes that seems to be affecting everyone is the change on our educational system, meaning, the shift into hybrid or online learning.
Hybrid learning is something that has actually affected me directly. Back in the spring, I was actually finishing up my senior year of college when all of this happened. While I was mostly working for this company as my internship, I still met for classes and had studio time, all of which suddenly came to a major stop. My school told me to work remotely for my internship and soon, all of my classes started getting canceled in response to everything changing within our world and what it means to be safe. For about two weeks, I didn't have school as I, and my classmates, awaited to hear the news. Soon enough, we were switching to remote, online learning for the rest of the semester.
I definitely am not the only person who dealt with this - my nieces went from going to elementary school every weekday to attending Zoom classes with their teacher. Across the entire country, parents were slowly becoming teachers and spending time out of their days to ensure their kids were meeting their requirements for school and a proper education. Things did - for lack of better words - honestly get extremely difficult for many, and it is understandable!
In preparation for the next school year, a question that crosses most people's minds is whether or not their kids will be returning to the classroom in the fall. If not that, they're wondering, "How can I balance work life with the needs of my child?" These questions, sadly to everyone still adjusting, are probably going to go unanswered for quite some time - however, there is advice to be passed on to help and possibly encourage. If you are curious on how to trek into the new school year head-on, check out this beginner's guide to hybrid learning!
1 - There ARE Going To Be Bad Days - Take Them With A Grain Of Salt
So, before we even dive into this post, I want you to breath! Take one big breathe, and just let it out.
When beginning the transition into Hybrid Learning, the first thing you should know (though you might already) is that there are going to be good days - but there will also be plenty of bad days. For starters, it is important to be patient, taking things one day at a time. There is going to be a balance that must be learned, in making sure you get the work you need done, and making sure your kids get the attention and discipline they need to finish their school day - just know it will come with time.
What I have learned from having conversations with my sister about my nieces, is that the most difficult days revolve around kids not being able to grasp what they learn. For example, my one niece was having such a hard time being able to read an analog clock - meaning, she couldn't tell time on a non digital clock. My sister spent the day repeating the lesson with my niece the best she could, trying different approaches each time. It took a couple of days until my niece finally got the hang of it. Honestly though, she probably still doesn't 100% get it.
The thing is, children are going to learn in different ways and possess different capabilities. My two nieces, both the same age, learn things at unequal paces and will pick things up that the other might not. This can definitely be a difficult obstacle in moving forward, but it is best to stay patient and circle back to a topic if needed when your child may not be getting it.
2 - Develop A Schedule and Stick To It
During this time, experts believe that setting and sticking to a regular schedule is key, even when you're stuck at home all day. Kids should get up, eat, and go to bed at their standard times as consistency and structure are calming during times of hybrid learning and change. Kids, especially younger ones or those who are anxious, benefit from knowing what's going to happen next and when. Schedules can help you plan out the days, having the morning and afternoon more structured with the rest of the day open and more relaxed.
Consider creating a schedule that can mimic a school or day camp schedule, changing activities at predictable intervals, and alternating periods of study and play. Think of it as a check-list, making sure that you keep your child's goals aligned. Know, however, that it is okay if you do not get through everything on the list or get overwhelmed. Your children may get through things quicker or slower than you expected - do not stress about it.
3 - Learn That It Is Okay To Prioritize Your Time
When it comes to ensuring that you have the time in your day to keep up with work, know that it is okay to sometimes prioritize your own time, especially when you have older children who may not need as much attention as littler ones.
For example, in trying to maximize the overall effectiveness of your time at home, it is important to structure it differently than you would a typical workday. This might mean setting a clear schedule with everyone in the house to ensure you can do any important tasks, meetings, conferences, or calls that may come up during the day. If you have the power to schedule these events, choose a time that works best for you, your family and children, your energy levels, and your time management skills.
Another tip to help you stay on top of your goals while working at home is by defining one or two key goals that you want to accomplish during this time. These should be jobs or other tasks at hand that require at least an hour or more of uninterrupted attention. These should be work that simply requires more creative, strategic thinking than you may be able to achieve in an office environment.
While this is just a start, there are many other ways to ensure everything runs smoothly with hybrid learning! Make sure you are staying connected, reaching out to the school or teacher if you need any help! And know - soon, hopefully soon, things will get better in one way or another!
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