Today’s super fun post is sponsored by both shopDisney and ShopStyle!
I was so excited when shopDisney reached out to me about collaborating on back to school because that’s all we’re talking about around here as we…
Right now, virtual learning pretty much consumes our little world…school, school, school and repeat. It won’t surprise you all to hear that we’ve already got ourselves a nice little routine, so I thought I’d add this post to my routine series.
Okay, right now, all four kiddos are at home with me and we are (like so many of you!)…
…figuring out schoolwork via virtual learning!
I love this partnership with shopDisney because they understand back to school looks different this year for all of us, but we can still celebrate the season as we get creative and get busy educating our kids from home. From backpacks and lunch totes to stationary kits, food containers, and beyond, shopDisney has all the back to school items on our checklist!
This is how we all felt the first day. Anyone else?! It was the unknown that had us all so nervous! In the spring, we had a very relaxed scheduled that could be done on your own time, but this fall, the students in our district are following their normal bell schedule live with their teachers, so it’s all very different.
Here’s what a typical day for us looks like:
4:10 I wake up, do my Bible study, workout, make my bed, sit down and do a bit of work before waking up the kids
6:40 wake up kids, eat breakfast and get dressed for the day
7:45 my three kids in elementary school sit down at their work stations and log in to their virtual classrooms
8:00 I grab my second cup of coffee and start my rounds around the house. My two big kids are pretty independent, but I help both little girls make sure they’re “in class” and off and running.
8:45 Kensington’s school starts!
My kids schools are keeping them on their normal schedule. Between 8:00 and 3:52, I toggle back and forth between all four kids. The bigger kids seem to have things under control and really need minimal help, but my little two need more assistance from mom. I would say their biggest struggle right now is using the technology. I’ll get them all connected in their websites, and then they’ll accidentally disconnect so then, we have to connect again. I know there’s no easy way to teach virtually but the multiple sites (when they go back and forth between synchronous and asynchronous work) is typically where they get themselves into trouble. It’s not ideal for me to work in between helping them do their school work, but we’re trying to keep positive attitudes about the situation.
3:00 The elementary kiddos are done with school!
3:52: Whew! Kensington’s school ends and our day is over!
I do feel like some specific things are helping us right now:
1: We are making our lunches the night before and then the next day, each kiddo eats their own lunch during their specific lunch time. This way, I’m not having to stop my work and/or helping other siblings to make them lunch because that would end up being two hours out of each day (each kid has a 30 minute lunch break).
2: Because our house is currently under construction, we don’t have permanent work stations for each kid. Right now, they are all moving around each day to different spots to stay clear of that day’s mess, noise and construction. I’ve given each one of my kids laundry baskets for all of their school work and laptops. This way, it’s easy to move them from place to place quickly and easily. Plus, at the end of the day, they can put their laptops and chargers in their laundry basket, and it’s all grouped together and out of the way.
3: We are using headphones to minimize outside noise when we can. It’s so easy to get distracted by other people or dogs in our house, so our kids have been plugging in with headphones to reduce the amount of ambient noise around them.
4: We’ve cut down screen time even more! We don’t like a lot of screen time, but now that they’re logged in and looking at computer screens all day, we are really encouraging them not to watch TV or iPads any other time during the day. After school, we make sure we head outside for fresh air and space to run out our energy. At night, we’ve been playing games and really trying to reduce screen time to give their eyes and brains a break.
5: We’re getting up at our normal time and getting dressed. It’s super tempting to sleep later since we don’t have to leave our house, but I think we’re all doing better back on our normal routine of waking up at 6:40 and getting dressed for the day.
6: We’re practicing grace and flexibility! As much as we’ve struggled in 2020, I feel like learning to be more flexible and gracious when things are not going the way we want it to is one way we can control our part in virtual learning.
…my last tip is to try and make school fun by incorporating some non-traditional things into their back to school routine. I let both of my little girls buy new shopDisney water bottles to have at their work stations, plus new notepads and the cutest stationary kit to make learning more cheerful at home. I even bought them these cute Minnie t-shirts with sequins that flip up and down to make their virtual learning more fun when their friends see them online.
My favorite part about being at home and virtual learning has been hearing my kids’ teachers in the classroom. I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it must be to have parents listening while you’re working, but I have been so impressed! It’s a rare glimpse into my kids’ days and how they learn and are taught.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit to another favorite thing about listening to their classes is hearing all of the funny things kids say. Oh my word! I have laughed and laughed over some of the things these kids say to their classmates and teachers during the day.
So, over at our house, we’re making the most of the situation. I think our kids will go back in September and then depending on how things go, they’ll stay or they’ll return home at some point and virtually learn some more. Regardless, I have a new appreciation for my kids’ teachers and schools. I cannot imagine, CANNOT IMAGINE, how hard it is to teach every day much less teach virtually. I also have a new appreciation for parents that stay at home and home-school full-time. The attention to detail, the time commitment, the focus, the hours they spend preparing to educate their kids in their homes overwhelms me. I applaud all of you who do that year around.
In the meantime, I’m trying to soak up this time. How often do you really get an inside looks at schoolwork? It’s not easy. It’s not ideal. It’s hopefully not forever. But for right now, I get extra time with my babies during the day and that is always a blessing.
shopDisney has so many fun back to school items for your family’s online learning. From backpacks and lunch totes to stationary kits, food containers, and beyond, shopDisney has everything you need to make back to school this very non-traditional year more special.
Okay, tell me what you’re doing right now! Do you have tips for making virtual school easier? Do you have ideas for me and everyone else about how to juggle housework with school work and still have time to do our jobs as well?