Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tips on Avoiding the Overwhelm During Virtual Schooling

Tips on Avoiding the Overwhelm During Virtual Schooling

I never believed I was cut out to be a SAHM. I just didn't think I had the constant patience, creativity, and non-stop energy I thought was required to do everything for your children and manage the house. Over 2 years in there are days I really wage a mental war. I question myself about screen time, the health of meals I prepare, how clean (or messy) my home is, if it's really ok to take time for working out, and if I am doing enough for my children and their development. Not only that, now we have been doing virtual school since March. It's enough to make a mom crazy. Or at the very least feel pretty darn overwhelmed. If you are a mom (working or not) of a child doing virtual school- I get it! That light at the end of the tunnel keeps getting farther away. So how can you get help stay sane in this crazy world? Hopefully these tips help! 

Facetime Family Members
We can't see friends and family in person often times. These are people we often turn to for help. So how can we receive help from them? Facetime! Grandparents and aunts and uncles can help with literacy by listening to your child read aloud (giving you a brief respite). Or you can take a photo of worksheets and text or email so family members can help your child through their homework. There is a dual benefit! You get a break and they feel more involved!

I thought I was pretty good in math...until I started trying to help Claire with her homework! The vocabulary has changed and the methods are so different from when we were children! Claire had the opportunity to try Mathnasium sessions this past month to help advance her math skills and I can't say enough positive things. The tutors at Mathnasium are familiar with her curriculum and math program and knew exactly how to help her, reteach skills, and work through the problems. They are specially trained and I was impressed with the way they gave specific verbal encouragement and helped her through problems instead of giving her the answer. Claire did both in-center sessions and online. She was able to bring in her homework or I could quickly scan it and upload it to the secure portal for her online sessions. Claire thrived on the one-on-one attention and they assessed her prior to starting so they were targeting her weakest skills and ensuring the most growth. Through their fun and engaging sessions Mathnasium tutors help boost critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and boost self-confidence. After her assessment, Claire had customized problem sets created for her to work through that targeted her weakest skills. The tutors would help her through her homework and the problem sets each session and reteach skills as needed. Mathnasium provided easy-to-understand reports after the assessment and each month. They have a wonderful rewards system for completing homework and additional math problems to target skills. Claire absolutely loved it and was always proud of her work. I know she would get frustrated working with me and would end up yelling, but this was such a positive experience and stress-free for me! 

Tips on Avoiding the Overwhelm During Virtual Schooling

I really appreciated having the option of in-center or online. And switching between both options was seamless. The online tutoring is via a safe, secure connection with live tutor just like in-center. Chicagoland has over 40 locations you can choose from with help from foundational skills all the way to advanced tutoring for grades 2-12. You can visit for your free assessment. If math is a difficult subject for your child or you are looking for some homework help because it has become a stressful issue, I'd recommend Mathnasium! They have been around since 2002 and are North America's leading, math-only supplemental education. But more importantly, they are caring tutors who help your children enjoy math (and give YOU a break!). 

Visual Schedule 
Most teachers (especially those in elementary schools) display a visual schedule to help students stay on track and help foreshadow what they will be working on next. It also helps answer the constant questions of "What should I be doing now?" A visual schedule can help your child be more independent during virtual schooling. And they are easy to make! Often times you can simply print the schedule a teacher has provided. But you can also create a reusable schedule with laminated pieces and velcro. Or it can be as simple as something written on a sticky note or whiteboard! Setting timers or alarms along with a visual schedule can also help. For example, if your child is working on math independently for the next 15 minutes then needs to log on for a zoom art, then set an alarm so they know when to transition to the next subject. 

Positive Reinforcement Behavior Chart 
A what?? Often times we punish undesirable or bad behavior by taking away their favorite items for an amount of time or making kids do an extra chore. While this may help extinguish poor behavior, we also want to encourage good behavior! We do that by rewarding it when it occurs. It doesn't need to be a large reward or every time good behavior occurs, but recognizing it and verbally reinforcing it can help children want to be good more often. What it looks like in our household is a simple tally chart. You can target behaviors that you reward based on what you would like to see your child doing more often. For example, Claire often whines about feeding the cat and cleaning out the litter box. She typically needs several reminders before actually going down to the basement to take care of her cat chores. So when she immediately listens without a fuss, I try to reward that behavior with a tally mark. Once she gets to 10 tally marks she can earn a movie night or Happy Meal or something similar. We always try to make a big deal out of the tallies so she feels proud of herself. Since starting this system in March, I think we've seen some more positive behavior AND it is really easy to implement! 

I know virtual schooling can be tough! Hopefully these tips can help eliminate some of the stress! 

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