Kids, School

Online School, Flexibility and Life Lessons

This is a quote that I have always really liked. I’ve heard it a lot in the fitness world, but I think it applies to all aspects of life. 

In the fitness and health realm, it refers to staying true to your goals (decisions) but knowing that there is more than one way to get there. Too many people, when faced with their first road bump (i.e The gym is closed. It’s raining, so I can’t go for my walk. We are out of my favorite healthy breakfast item. Etc.) just throw in the towel and say, “Forget it!” I have been guilty of this in the past when I have been busy myself and used a jam packed schedule as an excuse to skip my workout that day. 

But I love this quote because it reminds me that there is always another path to the destination! Staying flexible is probably the most important key to achieving our goals (be it in fitness, or otherwise). The gym is closed? Okay, I’ll do a quick online streaming workout at home at least. It’s raining? Fine, I have an umbrella. We’re out of the oatmeal I wanted? I can have eggs and spinach instead- I don’t need to dive into the Lucky Charms box. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately in regards to the kids and this whole online schooling situation. I know this is not ideal for anyone, really, so I’m not trying to make it out to be all sunshine and rainbows. But I have been noticing some benefits that I think my kids will walk away from this all with. Specifically, I hope they are learning that they can still make progress during difficult times by remaining flexible in their approach. 

1. Improved typing skills!

They are doing a lot of computer work. Also, part of their school activities include doing online typing programs which they work on everyday. Their typing speed has visibly improved over the last couple months. 

2. Increased comfort maneuvering various online platforms

They can now whiz back and forth between Gmail, Google classrooms, Epic reading programs, Newslea news articles, Scholastic news, etc. They know how to keep track of their log ins and passwords, how to find all of the sites, how to log in to Zooms and operate the video calls, how to record videos on Flip Grid (plus the “public speaking” practice of being on video)… At first they needed help with a lot of this but at this point they are 100% independent with it all. 

3. Practice crafting emails and communicating with their teachers

At school, they just walk up and ask their teacher a question. Now, they have to independently send an email (hopefully in correct format with a greeting, a body and closure), wait for the response, and follow up. Considering that as adults we all send a LOT of emails, this is probably very good practice for life (and college). Also, they are getting practice managing an email inbox, keeping track of many, many messages, sorting and organizing them and realizing the importance of deleting unnecessary emails. 

4. Self-regulating/ directing their own schedules

We have backed way off on having any real specific, firm schedule for their school time. I’ve noticed them doing a better and better job of looking at their task list and prioritizing what needs to be done when, based on due dates, workload, etc. While this is a tough skill to develop at their ages, I think they are actually doing a pretty great job of it right now. It’s been a work in progress, but I am seeing them making some really smart choices and being surprisingly careful and thoughtful about spreading their work out over the school week. 

They both have some larger research type assignments that require planning ahead and doing a little bit of work each day/ pacing themselves and I have been impressed with their ability to figure some of that out. Definitely a good life skill to have. Procrastinating is not usually the best route, so I’m happy to see them learning that now (ahem, my Procrastination Queen sister, if you are reading this….I’m looking at you. “But I work best under pressure!!” LOL). 

5. Learning to be more flexible

They have had to be flexible- some days they have Zoom calls, other days they don’t, sometimes they work on one subject, another day something totally different… The style of the assignments has varied week to week and they have had to sort of roll with the punches. I know they do a variety of activities in school normally, but again, I think it’s different when someone is leading you through it all. 

6. Learning to stay focused and on task when no one is watching you!!

I think this is probably the biggest positive that I’m seeing of all. Again, this is a work in progress for sure, but they are both learning that “the show must go on” even if there is no teacher in the room and Mom is working. I have been thankfully very impressed (overall) with their ability lately to just sit in the sunroom and do their work while I’m downstairs working. I mean, I am sure in part it’s because they know they can’t be “done” for the day and play outside or play video games until their work is complete, but regardless, they are learning the vital skill of regulating your own time and staying focused. As someone who works from home and needs to be very self-motivated, I can vouch for just how important this skill is down the road! 


Again, I’m not trying to claim that my children are perfect and have this all figured out. We still certainly have our frustrating moments like everyone else. But I am at least noticing some positive differences between now and the end of March when this all started. Ethan especially has become over 90% independent with all of his work, really just wanting me to check over a few things now and then. He oftentimes goes off to his room and just sits on his bed with his laptop and works for long stretches of time. Asher has improved in leaps and bounds too, especially regarding figuring out all of the different tech platforms and logins. He still wants some help from time to time on some assignments, but I find I’m helping him much less now than I was at the beginning. 


                          
5/13:
Steps: 10, 209
Meditate: Done!
Read: Nope. Painted the deck rails most of day and never took the time to sit and read. 🙁 

Daily Gratitude:
This may seem like a random one, but I am really feeling grateful today for my master bathroom! I am just grateful that I have one in my house. It’s another one of those small things that you probably don’t really think about that often, but it’s just really nice to have! I know it isn’t necessary- Ivan grew up in a house with 6 children and one bathroom and he lived to tell the tale- but I really like having my own little space away from the kids’ bathroom. Not to mention, it’s so convenient in the night or when I get up early and want to get ready for the day without disturbing the whole house. 🙂 




2 thoughts on “Online School, Flexibility and Life Lessons

  1. You mean to tell me that starting a paper at 5 am when it's due later that day isn't a good idea?!? You're probably right. I'm going to stop procrastinating… starting tomorrow! :-p

    In seriousness those are great skills and I'm happy to hear that the boys have adjusted to the online schooling and have become so self-sufficient. It's a huge adjustment for them and it sounds like they've gotten a lot more proficient on the computer and with managing their own time. Those skills will probably serve them well in the long term – a small silver lining to this whole debacle! 🙂

  2. Yeah, I've sort of "checked out" a little bit with the school stuff…I should probably stay on top of it a little more than I am, but on the other hand, they seem to be handling it. Sometimes though their idea of "handling it" doesn't always equal mine. 🙂 I have been trying to do a little sit down with each of them to go over their assignment list, etc. at least to try to stay in tune to what they have going on.

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