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The New Normal

At my house, we’re figuring it out.

We’re figuring out how to navigate school at home for our first grader and eighth grader, while ensuring that our two year old is occupied and safe.

We’re figuring out how to burn off the energy that two year old used to get out at the kid’s gym and community center every day.

We’re figuring out how to navigate our work days while balancing the needs of three children who are worried, confused, and missing the normalcy of their everyday lives.

We’re figuring out how to stay connected to our parents and grandparents – the ones we worry about who live far away, and the ones close by who, until a week ago, had been a daily and integral part of our lives.

We’re figuring out the best ways to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities as safe and healthy as we possibly can.

And we’re figuring out how to share the same four walls with each other twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the foreseeable future, while helping our kids keep learning.

A school day is carefully structured and scheduled to maximize opportunities for learning, and to keep every child safe and engaged throughout the day. Children know, through the rules, routines and procedures that teachers establish and practice throughout the year, what the expectations for learning and behavior are in their classrooms. Now that they are learning at home, our kids need to know what their school day will look like and what our expectations will be.

We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes, and we need to keep remembering to show kindness, courage, and compassion to each other – and ourselves – on a daily basis. We are all navigating our way through this unprecedented time, and that means figuring out what works best for you and your family on a daily basis.

My family’s structure and solutions may not work for everyone, but I want to share a few ideas that (so far!) are working well for us. I hope you’ll use them, add to them, change them, and share them to help us all get through the days ahead – and come out stronger on the other side!

  • Structure your days – in whatever ways work best for you!

  • This may look like a daily or weekly schedule, a set of rules for everyone to follow, family planning meetings, or whatever else works for your family.

  • Incorporate learning times, activities and strategies, in any order, at any times, according to what works best for your kids and your family. Let me repeat – YOU know what works best for your family!

  • Recognize that schedules and plans may need to change at any time, since learning (mostly independently) from home is a very different situation for most of our kiddos.

  • Use this opportunity to help kids explore their personal interests and talents! This is a great opportunity for them to really dig deeper into topics, hobbies, and talents that are interesting and meaningful to them. Encourage them to use the extra time they may now have to discover and learn something new, then help them find resources to read, research, practice, and virtually collaborate.

  • A word of caution – since it is likely that they will use technology more often and in different ways. Please be sure (as always) to actively monitor your child’s on-line activities!

  • Reach out (virtually) for help – from your child’s teachers, parent friends, your (safe) online communities. We may be practicing social distancing, but we are all in this together!

Check out the video I made with ideas and tips on creating a successful and personalized home learning experience for your kids!


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