Well we have arrived. This is no longer an extended spring break. The kids are starting to show signs of cracking…the dog has less fur, the windows are now foggy with hand prints, the pee on the toilet seat is starting to get to you and the worry is setting in that your kids educational existence as we know it is about to collapse.
Fact: You’re doing just fine and so are they.
Yes, we have hit a new and confusing moment in time, where the learning in a formal setting has stopped, where you need to work to keep an income coming in and on top of it all, you are going a little bonkers with this lengthy social distancing.
You are reading articles everywhere on what you should be doing with the kids, seeing friends posts of kitchen tables adorned with glorious crafts being built across the nation, and you sit there doubting your very parenting existence because dammit you need to work. How is Karen down the street making popsicle stick houses and Roger around the corner is sitting in the garage with his kids building bird houses. You suck at this right?
First and foremost, Karen most likely just posted a picture sitting in her phone photos from another time trying to look like she’s got this while literally vibrating off of the couch after her sixth coffee and Roger bought those bird houses pre built from Amazon and the kids just finished a screaming match so he has forced them to paint the houses under desperate need of distraction.
Social media posts are not always what they seem, so stop focusing on them.
What we do need to focus on is the balancing act we are all trying to achieve right now and the different ways we can do that.
Number one, don’t try to become a school teacher. You can’t, you need to make an income too. In our latest podcast (Listen here) we talk all about different ideas for educating your kids while you are working from home. But the crux of the message is around doing what you are doing to earn an income for your family and in terms of education, focusing on lifelong learning lessons instead of desperately trying to replace the school system.
We need to educate kids and can’t just let them stay on iPads all day, but why not while you are on a call or a Zoom meeting? Why are you worried about that? Who are you trying to prove anything to right now? If you need the time for you, take it. What is wrong with that if you focus on a lifelong learning plan?
Lifelong learning can happen, anytime, anywhere, from any one. In particular, let’s focus on the anytime.
Yes school, has structure and yes teachers specifically teach certain things in certain ways with curriculum to cover each day. But that is because their days have a forced start time and a forced end time. You are at home. You don’t. You have time. From when the kids wake up to when they go to bed you have time to provide learning. Teaching them life lessons, and even government created curriculum does not have to happen at certain times of the day, it just needs to happen. That means you CAN have a quiet ZOOM call, or conference call and not feel bad about it. We are all in a new reality. Let them have that iPad moment, while you complete your work. This biggest reason? Mental Health.
This is a stressful time for all. You AND your kids! They have questions, you have questions and very few of us have any answers just yet. Allowing them to have a few minutes on their iPad while you get quiet time to work will make sure all of you have some mental relaxation and you will ultimately be better with each other. Understanding that the learning day is much longer than it was before social isolation, allows for this. Good mental health is important while we all self isolate.
It is ok to teach your kids when your work day is done. It’s ok to demand time for your work and to use tools at hand to allow you to get that work done and it is especially ok if you are not able to or are uncomfortable with teaching a certain subject, let’s use math as an example; to not teach math then and teach something else you ARE good at and passionate about.
Look at our platform Mortgage Magnates we are a lifelong learning platform for mortgage brokers, a sort of mix between Masterclass and Netflix, allowing brokers to stream other successful brokers across the industry who teach what they do best. There is a reason that the brokers we film teach certain topics and we don’t ask them to teach other topics. That is because they want to, and we want them to, teach the topics they know best. This is how we consume learning as adults and it is also how we best teach. Trust us, we have done the research.
Teach your kids what you know best and feel great about it. Teach them how to clean up a yard in spring, teach them how to leverage technology, teach them your passions and then when it’s your time…and trust us, you are allowed to have it…that’s when you can pop on a National Geographic movie on Disney+ or let them have that device time, and yes, that may be at 1:00pm and that’s perfectly ok.
You are doing just fine, your kids are doing just fine. Lifelong learning is exactly that, lifelong. Worry less about forced learning hours and more about making learning, about any topic, fun and help kids develop a thirst for lifelong learning. Never again should kids want to throw their books in the air and runaway from learning screaming “school’s out for summer”, it means we are doing something wrong if we celebrate the end of learning. Neil Degrasse Tyson says, “kids are born scientists, exploring, pulling things apart, building them back up, it is our world that takes that away from them”. Maybe now we can encourage it, give it back to them and change the way we as humans approach lifelong learning.
Stay well everyone!