Parents everywhere are struggling with remote learning. If you feel like you’re not doing enough, you certainly aren’t alone. While this COVID-induced homeschooling is hard for kids, virtual school is hard for parents too.
I want to assure you that if you’re feeling how hard this is, you’re absolutely right. I’m here to commiserate with you and tell you that this is 100% the hardest thing I’ve done as a parent. I also have some suggestions of how you can feel a little bit better about parenting a virtual learning student.
No matter if your kids are in elementary school or high school, the struggle is totally real.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY VIRTUAL SCHOOL?
It’s February of 2021 when I’m writing this. Schools across America and beyond are in various states of remote learning.
Some schools in smaller districts might be operating as “normal”, where kids are there 5 days a week learning directly from teachers, while wearing and utilizing PPE and loads of hand sanitizer.
Many Schools have adopted some sort of hybrid learning model. In this model of virtual school, kids might be going to school every other day or two days per week and then doing online learning on the other days of the week.
And then we have schools that are physically closed to students. All students are learning from home every day, usually with their teachers interacting with them directly through a laptop or tablet screen.
Am I missing any other types? I’m sure that there are other virtual school models that I’m not aware of. But what I am aware of is that they are all challenging right now.
WHY IS VIRTUAL SCHOOL SO HARD FOR PARENTS?
There are SO MANY reasons why parents are struggling with remote learning. Here are just my top three.
- This is not normal. Every day feels just a little bit (or maybe a lot) wrong. Are the kids going to school today? Do I need to pack lunches? What if I need to actually go into the office, who will watch the kids and help them with their work? Did I forget to send an extra mask with them? Those are just some of the things that run through my head every single morning. I never really know what to expect, and that hurts my brain.
- We feel guilty. It used to be that I could feel somewhat good about the fact that my kids were in school every day and doing well enough to progress and learn things. Now, I’m not even sure that my kids ARE learning anything. They cry about having to write paragraphs or do a page of multiplication facts. Real tears of frustration. That kills me as a parent. While I know logically that I can’t do much to change these circumstances, I also feel that I should be able to do better for my kids. Total mom guilt.
- We have other responsibilities. Remember when we used to go to work while our kids were in school? Or maybe we have other responsibilities like aging parents or volunteer commitments. The extra time that we are now putting in helping kids with school at home is taking away from those other things. Do you ever worry that your coworkers without kids might rise up in the company faster than you will because of all the time you need to be at home right now? Are you concerned that you’re falling behind on tasks? Yep, me too. Teaching our kids at home is time consuming, and another layer of stuff that we now need to do.
SO HOW DO WE FEEL BETTER ABOUT VIRTUAL LEARNING?
Here’s the tricky part. We know that virtual school is hard for parents. We just learned why it’s so hard. The kicker is that we cannot at this time do much to change the facts. Kids aren’t going to school normally right now, and there isn’t a lot we as parents can do about that until Covid levels go way down and/or more people are vaccinated.
The number 1 easiest way to make virtual school easier for parents is for us parents to just ACCEPT IT.
HOW TO ACCEPT A BAD SITUATION.
School right now is a bad situation, and one that we can’t change. So the best way to deal with that type of thing is to stop trying to change it. Instead, lean into it and accept remote learning it for what it is.
I found this post that shows 7 ways to get past tough situations quickly, and a few of them apply really well to this particular virtual learning situation.
- Make Acceptance an immediate priority – Like I said, Decide to Accept What’s Happening Now. Don’t fight it. Fighting it takes a lot of energy that you don’t have right now. You’re not giving up, you’re just choosing to accept the current state and trying to get comfortable there.
- Remove “Fair” from your Vocabulary – remember that nothing is ever fair. This isn’t fair for our kids, for us, for employers, for nurses, for teachers, for small business owners, or anyone else. Life is not fair.
- Remember that you can continue from this new place – You have to remember that you can always move forward, regardless of how the current state feels. Tomorrow can be better. There is a future and we’re all moving there together.
PARENT SUPPORT FOR ON LINE LEARNING
There is help for parents who are struggling with virtual school. And that help comes in a variety of forms.
- Find Help for Your Emotions. At this time I think anyone could benefit from a little bit of talk therapy. In fact, the rates of people seeking professional counseling over the pandemic has increased quite a bit. You may also benefit from talking to someone about how you’re feeling and processing the emotions that you have associated with the current state of school for your kids. Your kids might also benefit from therapy at this time. Talk to your pediatrician or the school for recommendations.
- Get A Tutor. Maybe it’s time that you leave some of the schooling to the professionals. Hire a tutor, or make use of the many day time care centers for school aged kids that will help with school work. Even if it’s just one day a week. Any little change could have a very positive outcome.
- Talk to The Teacher. We have it hard as parents, and teachers are also struggling right now with virtual school. Reach out to your child’s teacher. Let her know that you appreciate her, and ask her for some tips on the best way that you can help your child learn. She may give you insight that you didn’t have before.
Here’s wishing that COVID takes a hike and our kids can get back to regular school as soon as it’s safe to do so!