I’m usually writing about careers, education, workforce, but on my run yesterday I was reflecting on several conversations with clients and parents as well as family members. Coronavirus has pushed everyone’s buttons. And in a time when so many are out of work or in limbo, a common stress I heard were conversations surrounding the feelings of falling short as the educator in the family in lieu of regular school for their kids. Tears had been shed over maintaining “school hours”, who had or hadn’t logged on or violated someone’s assigned time, and the worst…assignments that were confusing or misunderstood leading to frustration and incomplete lessons. Has it happened at your house?
The word “CAN’T” permeated lessons, balancing work and family at home and for some the end of the rope loomed way to close. My past life as a principal came rushing back. What would I have done? It hit me….treat it like travel. Yes, being on time, having lessons complete, checking all the boxes for the grade book is important. But, when a family would ask if they could be excused for an unusual family travel experience, my answer was always emphatically “YES”! Nothing educates like travel. Learning new geography, currency, customs. They are all genuine life learning experiences that make connections in our brains unlike learning in a book or even catching it on an electronic device.
COVID 19 has put us all in unusual family/work experiences, and we can choose to make our memories of this around the word “CAN’T” or we can frame it around the words “WE DID”. So how bad would it be if a tearful lesson in math got put away until later and a cooking experience commenced. Or how about a distance challenge calculating steps through the house if one was to suddenly become blind…. the possibilities are endless. The point is to use the imagination, take the pressure off of each other. I’m not advocating throwing in the towel on curriculum, but I absolutely advocate that in a time when everyone is navigating this virus as best they can, we need to feel empowered to make decisions that move everyone forward. Learning goes well beyond the walls of a classroom. It goes beyond the walls of our perceived imagination.
So, what will you DO to ensure that when your children look back and talk about their memories during the quarantine of COVID 19, they remember what “WE DID” and not what they “couldn’t”.