Organization, Parenting, Working Mom

How to Start Your Virtual Back to School Off Right!

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It’s been a much needed break from writing and blogging, but the academic year is now upon us and it’s time to get back into the swing of the routine.  Is everybody ready?  Us either.  Part of me is dreading this new academic year with virtual Kindergarten, virtual 7th grade, and University classes (also online) all happening at once.  It’s going to be a semester for the books!  I can’t believe I am starting my 20th year in a classroom (longer if you count my pre-school teacher days)! 

Since time and content management is what is mostly on my mind these days, we are going to spend a little time talking about how I am going to manage our lives online this semester and still try to keep my sanity (y’all pray for me, it isn’t going to be easy!).

I am going to revert to the schedule we used for our family during Spring last year when we needed to wrap up the school year and still keep a little structure in the kids lives.  I’m linking that post here so that you can see what our daily schedule is going to ROUGHLY look like.  Now keep in mind that mornings are going to be devoted to the kids’ school work.  Teeny will log on at 8:00, 10:00, and 12:00 for Spanish, ELA, and Math.  Tiny will log on in the mornings for 4 of her 8 classes each day.

I have organized Teeny’s space into a desk area, calendar, and other materials.  Tiny has a mobile table, the kitchen table and a couple other work spaces depending on what her needs for a particular lesson are (she is doing culinary this semester, she is going to rock that!).  I have positioned “mount Mommy” between their work areas to keep them apart and from distracting each other. 

To organize assignments and due dates, I have a cork board (to hold schedules, spare bits, etc.) and a white board segmented by day to list assignments.  We have found that using a list is helpful for Tiny to keep track of her upcoming responsibilities and not let them immediately fly out of her little ADHD brain.  She is at the age now where I am trying to teach her coping skills to organize her thoughts.  It is really hard for her to organize without a visual system.  We will list assignments for the week by due date so she can stay organized and on time. 

I have some basic school supplies on hand for each of them.  Pens, pencils, ruled notebook paper, composition books (primary ruled for Teeny and regular for Tiny), scissors, coloring crayons, markers, and construction paper.  They each have a dedicated place to set up the Chromebooks that their schools loan to each student (can I tell you how blessed I feel to live in a county that has a policy of providing technology to each child?!?), and lighting for their respective areas. 

Their daily responsibilities will be very different, and their needs will be different, so I have attempted to create flexible spaces within the office area to accommodate everything from projects to independent work.  Technology is going to be reserved for school based assignments for the most part, but they will have a little wiggle room twice a day to have breaks and play games to give their brains a break as well. And of course, we have added a few little fun pieces to make the space engaging.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about the coming weeks.  Even after being in the educational arena in various capacities for more than 20 years now, I’m still not 100% sure what to expect.  It is going to be difficult to balance my job, my children’s educations, and family life.  It’s a little intimidating to me.  That being said, I can only imagine what it must feel like to a Mom or Dad that hasn’t thought about school work in a while.  These are scary times, but we can and will get through them.  Just take it one day at the time.

What questions do you have about starting your own school year?

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