Tell me something good that happened to you in 2020.
I know there’s been more heartache and suffering than we want to think about. I’m not denying that 2020 has been a rough year – personally, locally, nationally, and globally.
But if we only focus on negative, negative will be all we ever see. In difficult times, we have to make ourselves look for the good things that are happening.
You may have to look hard to find them, but there are things to give thanks for in the midst of all this turmoil and pain. There are indeed blessings in our lives.
Tell me about a blessing you’ve experienced this year.
It’s ok if you have to dig to find it.
It’s ok if all you have to cling to is a tiny blessing. EVERY good thing counts.
Tell me one good thing…then think about more. List them on paper so you can see them written out.
Here are a few positive things on my list that have happened in our family in 2020, especially since the virus hit in March:
Emery learned to ride her bike. We’ve been trying to teach her for several years, but she wasn’t interested. Then, one evening just a few days after the school closings in March, she said she wanted to learn to ride her bike. And she did! Quickly! She hasn’t stopped since.
We walked around our neighborhood as a family in the afternoons in the spring time when it warmed up and the days started getting longer. We did this almost every weeknight for several weeks in a row. There wasn’t a rush to go to bed because the kids didn’t have to go to school the next day.
I’ve gotten to spend bonus time with my children. Time I thought was gone since they started school, and I went back to work. The virus shut down the schools and my workplace, and it was like they were little kids again, and I was getting to hang out with them all day.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s been challenging – even excruciating at times. Sheltering-at-home and social distancing from our friends, family, and church. Job-site closing. Sickness and death. Fear…
But I acknowledge that this time with my children has also been a blessing.
Typically, they’re in school. I’m working. My time with them is short. They spend more of their day at school with their teachers than home with their dad and me.
Then, WHAM! All of a sudden they’re home with me.
Tears have been shed. Tempers have been lost…but it hasn’t been all bad. This is invaluable time with them that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I call that a blessing.
I pray you are able to see the blessings in your life in 2020. I pray you are able to find some positive moments.
If something doesn’t come to you quickly, take the time to sit and think.
Ask God to show you good things you missed. Then watch and listen until you see more.
How are you and your family holding up? Has your job resumed? Is everyone back to school on a regular schedule? Do you have children at home remote-learning for at least part of the week?
Many families in my immediate area are involved in remote-learning to some extent. My children go to school 2 days a week for in-person learning and then work from home the other 3 days, so figuring out how to make it through a day with as much school work done and as few tears as possible is at the top of my to-do list Monday through Friday.
I won’t say we’re doing a stellar job in the Hooks house…we’ve had our share of meltdowns and tears (from the kids AND from me). But we’re learning and adapting. We seem to have more good days than bad days after 6 weeks of this. It doesn’t seem to take as long for the kids to complete their work as it did when school started in August. There is less hand-holding on my part. All those are victories in my book.
Along the way, I’ve attempted to figure out how to navigate learning during a pandemic, how to do it better. I want to survive this experience relatively unscathed AND with my relationship with my family intact.
I want that for you as well.
So, I want to share what I’ve learned through trial-and-error during the first 6 weeks of remote learning. Maybe something we’ve discovered will help you and your family.
Tips for Surviving Remote Learning
*Start your day in prayer. Fill up with God so you have something to give. Enjoy some quiet and stillness before the chaos starts. (Here are some free devotional Bible studies to start you off).
*Do what you need to do for yourself before the kids wake up. Drink your coffee. Watch your morning news show. Read some chapters in your book. Wash your face. Shower and shave your legs…give yourself whatever “me-time” you need to start the day.
*Get your workout done early. Do something physical before sitting down with the kids. (Pro Tip – it’s good for the kids to get some exercise in before they start their day as well. There’s something about getting the heart and lungs going with some physical activity that helps them calm down and focus later on).
**Getting these 3 done for yourself before your children hit the ground running may mean you have to get up earlier, so be kind to yourself and go to bed earlier, too.
*Eat breakfast. Protein will keep you full longer. Eat well throughout the day as well.
*Start the school day as early as you can – soon after breakfast, exercise, brushing teeth, making beds, putting on clothes (if you try to keep a morning routine like that).
*Create a checklist of assignments/schoolwork to do each day. Kids mark off their own work when they’re done.
*Consider the order of classes and work – does it work best for your child to get the hardest or least-favorite subject out of the way first thing in the morning? What is the subject that tends to bog them down if they wait until later in the day to do it?
*Stop work for physical activity throughout the day for yourself and your children. Take a quick walk or bike ride after lunch. Find a quick yoga, stretching routine, or movement video on YouTube that is kid-friendly. (My daughter likes Melting-Flow and some of the silly Moose-Tube videos from GoNoodle).
*Do a small-to moderate-amount of work (depends on their ages as well as the schedule set by their teachers), then take a short, 10 minute break. Go outside. Jump on the trampoline. Get the mail. Throw the ball for the dog. Climb a tree.
*Leave the easiest or favorite subject’s work for after lunch/in the afternoon/last when their energy and focus are low.
**The biggest thing to remember is that this is trial-and-error. Reevaluate everyday with input from your kids. What worked? What bogged you down? Where did you get frustrated? Did you like doing the hardest assignment/class first?
Change what didn’t work. I’ve heard people say that the definition for crazy is doing something the same way over and over and expecting different results, and that’s true. It’s something to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to help your children learn from home. If you end every day angry or frustrated, look back at the day and try to figure out what caused the mood to go that way. Then try different strategies to change the outcome. Don’t keep doing things the same way and expect the day to go differently.
Encourage your children. Praise them when they do well. Help them when they need it. Enjoy brainstorming with them about an assignment. Use Khan Academy or other online tutorials for help with math. (Follow the link or just search YouTube for videos about the math concept that’s giving your kid grief and watch the ones from Khan Academy).
Know your kids. Are they better earlier in the day? Do they get “hangry” easily? Do they need “heavy work” on their breaks? Do they need quiet to stay focused and work efficiently? Does a schedule or outline of the day help? Do they prefer you to be nearby while they’re working or do they work well on their own? Is it comforting to their brain to have the dog sit in their lap so they can pet him while they work? Does it help their concentration to sit on the back porch and hear the birds and the breeze?
Try different things. Throw it out if it doesn’t work. Be flexible and adaptable. Monitor their progress and take breaks when they start to lose it. Have a quick snack or a walk around the yard.