As a kid the First Day of School was filled with so much excitement! Seeing old friends, wearing new clothes, meeting new teachers, getting assigned seating, and the mountains of paperwork for my mom to sign thrilled me. As a teenager Back to School was the start of a series of exciting events and holidays that I loved and looked forward to every year. As a Mom I have looked forward to these days for my child and as we wrapped up Preschool Graduation, I was giddy at the idea of the First Day of Kindergarten. This was not what I had imagined!
Monday was interesting to say the least! When I planned on my daughter starting Kindergarten I never imagined that I would be going back to Kindergarten with her, but I pulled up my stretchy pants and sang the days of the week song with such vigor I started to worry myself. Here are a few things that I learned on my first day of Kindergarten.
- When signing the alphabet song, make sure to enunciate “L M N O”, because even as an adult you will feel shame if it sounds like “elemeno”.
- The Mute button looks like a horn with a line through it! Make sure it has a slash down the horn and is red! (I didn’t learn this, but I wanted to put it out there for the few parents who are still trying to figure it out)
- On another unrelated topic, all parents swear! Just because you ban certain words at home does not mean they won’t hear them at school. (Okay so this is totally in reference to the mute button)
- Teachers are Saints! They all deserve raises and there should be a service out there where you can order a bottle of wine for someone and have it delivered because if there is someone out there who deserves a strong drink this week it is a teacher!
Starting Distant Learning was an eye-opening experience, but it also was extremely funny, and we had a great day! My daughter did better than I had expected, and she is still super excited to be in school even if it is not what was originally planned. Luckily, we are not the only family going through this dramatic change! It has been such a relief to be able to turn to other parents and teachers to get some inspiration and tips to navigate this uncharted territory. Here are a couple of tips that I used and have really paid off:
- Create their own space! Children get distracted easily (as do adults). Dedicating a certain area in the house or their room as a study area or learning corner will add some formality to the experience and kids can also have some fun creating it.
- Get excited! Displaying a positive attitude is contagious. It is easy to complain about the inconvenience and find problems with the new learning system, but if children are seeing the bright side and the benefits of distant learning, they will become more adaptable and willing to accept the change.
I for one was very nervous about distant learning and debated homeschooling for the first semester. We attended “Meet the Teacher Night” and I walked out more confident in my decision to keep my daughter enrolled. Her teacher was everything I had hoped for, Chromebooks were supplied, and I had the first 2 weeks of schoolwork in my hand that I could prepare for. Once my attitude adjusted so did my kids! I was so surprised to see her get excited about her computer and countdown until school started.
- Keep up with Traditions! Whether its Back to School Shopping, First Day of School Photos, First Day of School Meals, First Week of School Event, etc. it will establish some normalcy if you keep up with these traditions.
- Accept the Challenge of Being a Part Time Teacher! This one really resonated with me. When quarantine first began, I sat down with my daughter and started putting together a list of the things we needed to have down before starting Kindergarten. I learned in that moment what my daughter was great at and understanding and a few things that she was struggling with. This knowledge gave me the control to help her get to where she needed to be. Being able to be apart of her schooling is allowing me to take the time to consider what things I need to expand upon outside of the Google classroom.
In addition to being able to understand where she needs to focus there is also the glaring fact that individualized teaching is hard to do virtually. Not to mention there are a lot of kids screaming and its hard to understand what is being presented.
- Find the humor! As I mentioned before, all parents swear! I learned this on our First Day back when a parent (not knowing they were un-muted) yelled at their kid to pay attention and dropped the F-bomb. I’m not a prude and I can say that my daughter has heard this word, but the setting was just…so funny!
Distant Learning is stressful! Between technical difficulties, impatient students, and crazy schedules it is easy to get anxiety. However, this is not permanent! Take each day one at a time and find the joy in little situations. At the end of the week, treat yourself! Do what you need to do to make it through these next few weeks and for HEAVENS SAKE remember to use the mute button!