This is my quarantine: the husband working away on his laptop while also juggling household chores, my grade-schooler daughter reading a book or playing, and me managing our 1-year-old and my work tasks all at the same time. And just a couple of weeks ago, another challenge was added on to our plate: our eldest’s distance learning.
Our eldest daughter is in grade 2 and to keep things somewhat normal for her, we’ve decided to go with her old school. The school has an existing online learning set up which they’ve expanded for this school year to include both synchronous and asynchronous activities. And even if I felt that I prepared and read up about it, the first few days were still a bit overwhelming. My answer – keep organized. So here are a few simple organization tips for parents who are balancing childcare, working from home, and distant learning all at the same time.
Set up a dedicated workspace for your child.
And stock it with all her needs – school supplies, notebooks, books, laptop, headphones, water bottle, and anything else that she might need. We don’t have a lot of space at home but we were able to give her a table for her school needs. Her school books and notebooks are kept in her old school trolley bag while her supplies are kept in another bin, and we’ve placed both within easy reach from her table. And I also made it a point to clear her table in time for the next “school” day.
Admittedly, I didn’t consider how I’ll organize and store my daughter’s learning packets, worksheets, and other printed materials. I was initially planning to use a ring binder and bind them all together as the school year progressed but since my daughter is still in the younger year levels, she tends to get easily confused over the amount of paper she has at a given time. So I switched it up and used an expanding envelope instead. This way, each subject is assigned one division along with a To-Do bin. So all I need to do is put all the worksheets she needs to do in that bin, then transfer these to their subjects once done and submitted. The learning packets are also easy to find and organized.
Organizing these will depend on your child’s age and of course, preference. Older kids might prefer putting them all in a binder folder similar to a book.
Keeping track of your child’s online class schedule and asynchronous activities can get confusing, so a whiteboard or any writing board or even paper can help you out. Hang it near your child’s workspace and use it to help them plot their class schedules and tasks for the day or even for the week. You can do this with her to teach her the value of planning – depending on her age. You can also do this every night so that your child knows what needs to be done first thing in the morning.
At the same time, keeping track of your child’s submissions and deadlines, along with your work deadlines can drive you insane. So one way to keep your insanity intact and stay on top of your child’s schoolwork and your work tasks is to keep a planner. If your child is old enough then you’re lucky and you just might need to give her one along with tips on how to keep it updated. But, you might have to do it for her if your child is still on the younger side. I started a planner dedicated solely to her schooling – I put in all her pre-class activities, asynchronous activities, and post-class activities and plot each based on when she’ll do it and deadlines. This way, I can manage her tasks and not get overwhelmed with both of our homework and deadlines.
Good luck, teacher mamas!