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An Unusual School Year

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Either the end is near or if you are like me, your duties with virtual learning has officially come to an end. Whichever is your reality, as parents we can now breathe a little easier because we have relinquished a responsibility that appeared upon us out of nowhere. This is the time, when I recommend we reflect on the school year. Let's think about our approach and the methods used to get through this unusual time. Honestly, this would count as my 3rd reflection. These constant cogitations really aided in keeping the sanity within the household in check. This was a shift for all of us, so I wanted to make sure, mentally we were doing okay.

I'm sure virtual learning was new to you, but this will not be the last time we are approached with something we didn't necessarily expect. That's what parent hood is all about right? I will share my experience and methods with you all. Upon completion, my daughter ended this school year with an amazing overall average and was able to make the proper adjustments to keep the house running smooth. Don't get me wrong, these weren't the easiest of times, but I felt like my daughter didn't miss anything when it came to academics. She finished strong and i'd like to believe these tactics assisted with her success.

So, whether school is over or the finish line is in plain sight, your child is probably over it all, as well as yourself. This would be a great time to implement a memorable finish. It's important that the children do not associate negativity to this school year. Something that everyone can partake in would be best. A way to show that efforts from the year were not overlooked and end it with a bang :)

I used a couple methods to help guide my progression during the school year. For example, here some simple questions I asked myself to assist with the evaluation/re-evaluation. "Was this actually conducive for my work schedule?" or "Did my child actually learn the material and was engaged?" are some constant questions I used. It was important to understand the basic needs from everyone in the household. It helped keep decorum and allowed life to run as smooth as possible. If something wasn't working out, then I took the time to fix it. If not, I wouldn't have made it to the finish line. Life, as we know it, is already super unpredictable, so gaining control over what I could actually control, eased some of the tension I was experiencing on a daily basis.

I tried this evaluation method in August, January, and March. I re-evaluated the way my household transitioned from in-person to home schooling in March and lets just say, it didn't go so well; actually it was horrible. Understandably there was a lot happening with the world at the time, but nonetheless, it wasn't our best. My house was in a whirl wind. Despite what was happening in the outside world, my inside world was just as chaotic. Therefore, I knew a change had to happen and it had to start with the way we approached virtual learning. The reason I revisited this concept in January and March is because I wanted to make sure we were all still aligned with the same goal; ensuring that my daughter was still consistently engaged in her learning and making the best out a very unprecedented way of learning. My daughter is pretty much the epicenter of my little family, so getting her situated and structured took priority.

Being the analytical person I am, I had to break down our day. While doing so, I asked 2 important questions. 1) Is there a routine? 2) Why is my daughter having such a hard time blending schoolwork and home?

Knowing that children need consistency and guidelines, I knew I had to implement some type of schedule. This is where I messed up the first time. I just assumed that she was able to go with the flow like adults. This was not the case. She wasn't concentrating and didn't have a designated area for school. Knowing my child, that would make a big difference in her progression. So, I did just that. I created a learning corner and boy did she love it. Also, with this new information, I devised a plan that turned out to be suitable for everyone in the house.

I dealt with the 2 re-visits a little differently being that on the surface, everything seemed to still be running smoothly. I conducted what people call, temperature checks, with my daughter and her father. Communication has become even more important than ever before. Asking questions like, "how was school today?" or asking her father his input or help regarding homework and other special projects hit a different level of importance. We made it a priority to continue being those involved parents we always were because it was imperative that my daughter was able to hold on to some type of normalcy regarding school. Lastly, keeping the communication lines open between myself and her teachers. This allowed me either get ahead of any lackluster behavior that may have been developing or fix a situation that I wasn't aware of due to my occasional slacking (to be completely honest.) Since then, everything has been working out.

So, take some time out of your busy lives to sit and observe. Honestly, take a gander at the way things played out during this time. You may have tweaked things along the way, but don't feel ashamed that the original plan wasn't working so well. Life is about learning and implementing; adjustments are inevitable. As long as you are willing to alter, then you're already ahead of the game.

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