Looks like we are in this for the long-haul, folks.

With schools announcing a move to remote learning for the rest of the school year, we are moving into a new way of life for both students and parents. As the mother of a child who spent 5 years in an online school environment, I can tell you that this will be different than what you expect. 

Our experience was mostly positive as we used a system with a well-developed online infrastructure. If we needed computers to go to class, we got computers; books and all other materials were provided for us; we had an actual person who was assigned to us to help answer any questions we had. In addition, there were resources for parents and opportunities for learning outside of the home environment.

Most likely, this is not what you will have. Regular school districts are not set up for remote learning on a large scale. Though many subjects may have an online component (Zingy, IXL, Newsela, ThinkCentral, to name a few) teachers are learning right alongside your children the best practices to deliver instruction. There are many more questions than answers at this point as we wonder "what does the rest of the year hold"? 

To help you through the next couple of months, keep in mind a few tips that will hopefully lessen the load and make this time sheltering in place a little more constructive and creative.

Be patient with yourself and others: The world is in flux and everyone is learning right now: teachers, students, and parents. Be prepared for a bit of a learning curve, and don't be surprised when things don't go smoothly. Days will begin to melt into one another if they haven't already. My daughter, now a college student, actually yelled at me the other day for not waking her on a Sunday because she thought she had class! The point is we are all going to make mistakes and forget how this works, where that site is, what the password is and how to help our child with that problem. It's okay; this too shall pass.

Try to maintain a schedule: Yes, the kids are at home. Yes, you are probably at home. Yes, we are all watching more Netflix. But this isn't summer and it isn't a break. Try to maintain a schedule at this time. Wake up, have breakfast (together even!), get dressed and start your day. If you can, assign your child a place where "going to school" and study takes place. Have breaks for "recess" and "lunch". Don't forget extracurricular activities; exercise and creative outlets for children will be especially important at this time. Take a walk, play some hoops, draw a picture, journal, work in clay. This goes for you as well as your student. And don't forget a bit of "me" time if you can manage it.

But stay flexible: Remember what they say about best-laid plans...no, I can't remember either but I think it's about them going awry... anyway, it's a good idea to have a plan B and maybe a plan C and maybe not worry so much if it all goes south. Refer back to tip #1.

Talk it out and have a laugh: This is a stressful time for kids. Depending on their age, they may not understand why they can't see their friends or go to the store whenever they want. Be available for conversation. Their fears are real and justified and it's important that we acknowledge those fears. But it's not all doom and gloom. While the reality of the situation is frightening, we are actually NOT in a zombie apocalypse! Take time to have a laugh, sing a song, or watch a funny show or movie.

We are all in this together: If you haven't already, try to put together a circle of support for yourself. Other parents, teachers, and friends can all offer encouragement and assistance. Ask questions, help others and just be there for each other. We are also here for you to help with any questions you might have. Just contact us.