Many schools and parents are still undecided about how this year is going to look. We are in conflict as to what is best for our kids and country. With that said, how can we be ready… for anything?
Here is my version of the Serenity Prayer...
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot plan, the courage to plan the things that I can, and the awareness and motivation to do it..
There will be some last-minute scrambling closer to the first on-site ring of the school bell. It is also a possibility that schools may open, then have to close again with the increased spread of the COVID19 virus. While we cannot make an exact plan for the new school year, there are 3 steps we can take to be ready for anything.
Grab a Paper and Pencil
A goal without a plan is just a wish! And, a good plan begins with the end in mind. So, step one is to put on paper all those amorphous thoughts swimming in your head where you can SEE them. It is impossible to effectively hold a good plan in your head.
Break it Down
Break the school year down into the following buckets: AKA ESSAYS
Write what you can KNOW now within each bucket?
Extracurricular Activities: What activities do you want to plan for this year? Do you know what is available? What equipment is required? Do you have all of the contact information you need? Once these questions are answered, you are ready to start.
Study Environment: How did the homeschooling go last Spring? Were you able to create a space that promotes good concentration and learning? Is everything ready and available there? Would having a spill-proof water bottle be a good idea for your child? Will your children be sharing a computer? For my boys, a good surface area was necessary with chargers and nearby outlets for the computer. We used our printer a good bit and always kept plenty of paper available. We also needed binders, notebook paper, and graph paper. Have you seen the smartphone app for scanning papers? This was a life-saver for us last Spring. What else will you need that you can check off your list now?
Schedule: I recommend a physical calendar for the month, week, and day, even if you keep a digital calendar on your phones. This may seem redundant, but it makes sense to prevent conflicts and missed assignments. The monthly calendar is necessary to keep test dates and project due dates in view. It should otherwise not be cluttered with weekly commitments. Those weekly commitments are best viewed on a week-at-a-glance calendar (free on my website). This will work magic to prevent conflicts, prevent your student from missing class and assignments as well as allow time for those extracurricular activities. The day sheet is critical for transferring all assignments from the computer to a one-pager so as to not miss a thing. Reach out to me for my foolproof method for keeping all assignments, zoom meetings, and schedules. Also, I recommend that everyone in the family have access to each other’s schedules. This is best done digitally.
Academic Picture: As soon as possible, it is a good idea to familiarize your child with his new school schedule and teachers. I recommend that you make a contact page in your smartphone with all of the teachers ahead of time. Also, what does your child know about virtual school etiquette such as background environment, eating during class, or moving around? Does the teacher require that the video is on at all times? What about bathroom breaks? Some parents find that giving their child a fidget spinner or stress ball helped to keep their kids from wiggling too much in a virtual class.
Year-End Goals: All kids could benefit from some future thinking this school year. Many parents will rush to establish goals and expectations for their children. What would it look like to ask your child what he/she expects to achieve in this new environment? If you collaborate with him/her about goals, you might get some new insights and your kid’s buy-in for success. Have them write it down. For example, are the expectations the same for this year as they would have been before COVID? How are they different? What expectations will the teachers have of their students? What expectations will the students have of their teachers? What goal could you and your child set for new CDC approved social events or opportunities? Would your child like to develop a new hobby? What self-care goals (for you and your child) might be worth looking into during COVID to keep your child energized?
Support Team: This is a team you can enlist around your child’s success. It could include teachers, a cohort of friends in the same class, the parents of the cohort, an executive function coach, tutor, therapist. As soon as a class roster is made available, collaborating with your child to create a cohort of friends could be fun. Reach out to the other moms to brainstorm ideas for staying on top of homework and projects. Perhaps some fun, safe field trips can be arranged to have something to look forward to.
So, let’s bottom line this thing. The unknowns around COVID are creating a good deal of stress this school year. The best we can do to counter that stress is to consider what we can know and can do. We have the power to do the steps above and more! Please join me on Instagram to get more suggestions for what we can do now to be better prepared… for anything!
Start planning today with my free Week at a Glance planning sheet. Click here to download.