7 Ways Moms Can Prepare for a Remote School Year

August 19, 2020

By Elizabeth Griffin

Fall is a season of change. Typically, that includes a new classroom at school for our children, seeing old friends and making new ones, and learning new things. But this fall most of our kids will experience a different kind of school – online or hybrid. Sure, they did this last Spring … but now they’re going to do it again. And that means parents are also doing it again.

School during a pandemic is an opportunity as a parent to teach our children some valuable life lessons. There are many things that can’t be taught in a group setting or a classroom, so take the opportunity to teach them now. Here are seven tips for teaching the right life lessons:

  1. Your attitude influences others and your kids will pick up on how you feel about online school. They will know if you are rolling your eyes internally – so don’t! Even if you have to work at it, focus on the positive things going on this fall – bonus time with your kids, for one. The opportunity to teach them things they will never learn in a classroom setting. The chance to relearn or remember what you were taught all those years ago. Keep the vibe upbeat in your own heart and in your home.
  2. God always gives us what we need. If you feel inadequate in the role of online schooling you’re being called to play, realize that you’re not alone. There are other parents who feel the same way, and God knows how you feel. He’s not going to abandon you or let you or your kids fail. Be honest and come to him in prayer – with other moms and especially with your kids. Pray with them every day and ask for his blessing. And when you don’t know what to do, ask for help.
  3. Gratitude is an action, not a feeling, but it definitely affects how we feel. We’ve all heard of people who have great joy in the hardest of trials. There’s a reason for that – they choose to be grateful. And the rest of us can, too. This is one of the most important lessons you can teach your child. So, start every single day this fall listing what you and your kids are grateful for. Make it the first activity of the school day. Change it up with these ideas:
    • Write three things you are grateful for in a journal
    • Put out a large blank sheet of paper and have everyone draw or write what they are grateful for – at least three things a day (you can do this over the course of a week or until the entire page is filled)
    • Have your kids act out what they are thankful for while the rest of you guess what it is
    • Play 20 questions – one person says, “I’m thinking of something I’m thankful for” and the rest ask “yes” or “no” questions until someone guesses the answer. Let everyone have a turn.
  4. Hard work can include fun so sprinkle fun throughout the day as you help your children meet the online requirements for school:
    • Take a break and play a game in your backyard together
    • Walk around the neighborhood and wave at your neighbors
    • Work in sprints – focus on schoolwork for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break to dance to their favorite music (then repeat for as long as they have official schoolwork to finish)
    • Make spelling fun by activating it with movement and music (if you’ve got a trampoline have them jump while spelling out loud)
    • Inspire imagination by having kids create skits or songs that demonstrate what they’re learning
  5. What we learn at school matters in real life so take official online lessons and help your child make the connection between book learning and practical use:
    • Extend math lessons by having kids bake cookies and make sure they know they’re using math when they measure ingredients
    • Sharpen reading skills by having kids read to a younger sibling or to you, and vice versa
    • Explore science in the real world by taking a hike
    • Take turns speaking in front of each other to develop confidence and the ability to articulate well
  6. Celebrating different seasons of life is important so continue First Day Traditions and make new ones. This year, it may be more important than ever to do things that mark the official end of summer and start of school. So go ahead and buy a new outfit for your child, take a photo of them on the front doorstep, measure and record how tall they are, make a special breakfast for them, buy school supplies and help them organize their study space, and tell them a story about one of your first days at school. Be sure to make this first day of school a real event, an official starting point, and something to remember.
  7. Working with others helps everyone succeed so do it when faced with a challenge in your child’s schoolwork. Not a whiz at math? Ask the teacher or another mom for help. Can’t write well? Trade your science knowledge for another mom’s writing skills and tutor each other’s kids. Whatever it is, reach out and ask for help sooner rather than later. And don’t worry … we all need help with something. And we all have something to give.

Elizabeth Griffin is Senior Writer for CRISTA Ministries.