2020 School Success for Families
By: Karen Carloni, LCPC
Synergy eTherapy Therapist
By now your family has started to cope with the reality of whether you will be doing on-site (in some cases ending the semester early) or online learning.
If you are on-line it might be asynchronous (assignment or project based studies), synchronous (required sign ons on line) or hybrid (some of more than one of these categories. Feeling confused? Feeling anxious? Worried about health and safety? Trying to maximize learning without getting burned out?
Here are some tips for navigating the 2020 School Year as a family
Unless you were already homeschooling before last Spring it is likely that your family had to suddenly figure out how to share space, computers, and balance education and at home work.
How did it go?
If you are like many families the answer is “Not very well”. Let’s talk about practical steps that can help reduce anxiety in your family and improve how you handle the Fall and build competency for an unknown Spring semester.
FIND OUT– Make sure you fully understand your school’s plan. If you will be on site understand the safety precautions (and what you will be expected to provide) so that you can discuss them with your children and practice if your children are younger or have disabilities. If your children’s classes will be fully online make sure you understand whether they are synchronous, asynchronous or hybrid and how children are expected to get extra help in the event of issues. Create a time blocked calendar for yourself and your family and make sure it is either posted or “shared” digitally so that everyone knows what is happening.
PLAN– You may have “made do” during the Spring. Now is the time to be sure that there is dedicated learning space with necessary supplies to improve focus. Consider involving your child(ren) in choosing where the space will be and what they will need. Consider the differing needs of the age groups in your home. Do some meal planning together. Consider doing some batch cooking on the weekend such as making 2 lasagnas or extra soup to put into the freezer so that you have a meal another night.
AUTOMATE– What can you automate to make things easier? Grocery delivery? Meal kits? Bill Paying? Daily/Weekly/Monthly Household Chore Lists?
PREPARE – Now is the time to start regulating the family schedule – bedtimes, mealtimes, screen times. Perhaps it has been lax over the summer. Now is the time to move back toward a sustainable lifestyle. Check out healthy sleep habits here
INVOLVE – sit down with your family and discuss how you will work together to ensure
success, consider having weekly family meetings where assignments will be reviewed,
and what is and is not working can be discussed. Consider also adding a gratitude
practice to your family meetings.
CORRECT COURSE – be ready to correct your course several times during the semester
as it is likely that some things will work well while others won’t.
BALANCE – make sure that your family and academic schedule includes some
movement, some outdoor time, some fun (try dancing in your living room) as well as
work and school responsibilities.
ACKNOWLEDGE FEELINGS – Normalize feelings. Listen to understand one another. This is hard for everyone and this is also an opportunity to build personal resilience and family closeness.
Breaking things down into small steps makes them manageable and prevents overwhelm. Your family won’t be perfect AND THAT IS OK!!!! If you need support to know that you aren’t alone, some encouragement along the road, or help navigating the emotional complexities we are happy to help.