Homeschool-Be Flexible

I recently shared the schedule my kids and I are using during this time when we find ourselves schooling (and working) from home. You can find that here if you’d like it. 

Today, I’m sharing another piece of our journey. 

Today is the fourth official day of the homeschool journey for my kids. Basically that means that, although we have been working from home for over three weeks, they only started receiving online curriculum from their school on Monday. 

The school district, like so many of them across the country, uses a unified classroom product to bring online resources into their classrooms. They have used this software for more than a school year and hoped it would help make the transition simple. It hasn’t. The basic problem appears to be that the product cannot handle the volume of students and teachers who are currently using it. It has been crashing or down every day since we started using it. 

That brings me to my tip, which I probably mentioned when I was discussing schedules. 

This is really the most important rule of our new reality.

My kids have 4 time blocks in their schedule, but you may have noticed I don’t lay out what subject they do at each time. This was intentional. My kids choose the subject that they want to work on for every given block. So, if the online product isn’t working for one subject–they switch to another one and make a note to check later. 

This rather simple solution has kept us all from stressing during the first three days. We’ve been able to access the assignment that wasn’t loading in other ways or when the online platform comes back up at some point in the day. 

This little trick helps us to stay calm when something isn’t working and just come back to it later.

Note: This is a good place to remind you my kids are keeping track of the assignments they’re supposed to do in a notebook. This helps them remember to come back to the assignment they had trouble accessing. Otherwise, we’d all forget!

Today, our patience was tested.

For the first time since this journey has started, my daughter had an assignment that wouldn’t load during block one. Then it wouldn’t load during block two. At that point she had a Zoom call with the teacher, who also couldn’t get it to load. Now I’m faced with a 10-year-old who is stressed. She’s on the verge of tears because that assignment is something she has to do and she simply cannot do it. 

So, my “be flexible” philosophy kicked into high gear. 

After lunch, we’re supposed to enter a third work block. As lunch was wrapping up, I used my phone to check the online materials again. Still no assignment. I knew my daughter would sit down, open that platform, and really get upset. So, I made a choice. 

We cut the third work block out altogether. 

We took a drive up to my husband’s work (he had to go in this morning) and delivered him lunch (he came to the car, we didn’t go in). We just drove. The music was on, the windows were down, and we rode. 

My daughter asked about the assignment and I reminded her that I value her learning but I also value her. I told her that we would all get the work done that we were missing right now. But we were taking a break to be together and not worry about it right now. 

Guess what? It worked. 

I mean, not completely. The assignment still isn’t loading and it appears there’s no other way to access it besides this site. So I’m not sure what happens with it. We’ll try again tomorrow. But, she relaxed. She realized that it’s going to be alright. When we got home and her fourth work time block came up, she moved onto another activity and got that done. She didn’t stress and she never cried. I’m proud of us. 

What do I hope you get from this little story?

  • It’s ok to stop everything if you’re feeling stressed
  • It’s ok to not finish it all today
  • It’s ok to take time to just be together, without working
  • It’s ok to break your own schedule 

At the end of the day, just remember these three things:

  1. You did the best you can
  2. Tomorrow is a new day
  3. You love your kids

Thanks for being here and reading about our journey. Feel free to ask questions (I’ll answer them if I can) or drop comments to let me know how it’s working for you. 

Until next time, be safe!

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