CoVID-19 has had a powerful and immediate impact on us all. Businesses and schools are closing for indefinite periods. Like many companies, at Modern Family Law we have implemented a work-from-home policy. Our team and their families now find themselves with a lot more time staying at home together.
This presents challenges, even as this is being written I can hear rushing footsteps of my children whose, “school day” has just ended. In this home, we’ve taken the approach to developing a daily structure to enable learning, but also to encourage family bonding and fun. This article is designed as a helpful guide for this temporary new normal.
Fortunately, many school districts and private companies have made resources and tools available for free during this time. Take advantage of them when you can.
The first recommendation would be to check in with your local school district. They are likely developing a plan for an online curriculum. In our school district, various programs used in the school’s active curriculum have been made available for at-home use. Some schools are set up to keep a regular, virtual, school day, while others are not. Regardless, there are a lot of options.
We recommended starting by developing a routine or daily schedule. There are many examples available online. In our home, we’re using a modified version of the now-viral example posted by photographer Jessica Hale via Facebook. This can be found here.
There are many other examples we’d recommend finding one that suits your family, or better yet finding an example and customizing it to fit your needs.
We suggest implementing a modified “school day” without trying to exactly replicate school. Allow some flexibility for sanity (and maybe drop your teachers a note of appreciation).
There are a lot of available resources for kids and parents. More and more are becoming available. We recommend Googling your specific interests to find other alternatives, but here are some of our favorites:
• ABC Mouse Early Learning Academy- www.abcmouse.com (free for 30 days)
• PBS Kids- https://pbskids.org/
• Math Games- https://www.mathgames.com/
• Read Write Think- http://www.readwritethink.org/
• ClassDojo- www.classdojo.com
The options are seemingly endless with many programs tailored to your family’s approach.
Another useful tip to implement is having a family morning meeting. We start in a basic manner by talking about what day of the week it is. From there, we discuss the daily plan and set expectations for the day. Don’t forget to build in some time for fun, free time and fresh air (at an appropriate social distance).
This leads to another suggestion for those attempting to balance it all while working from home which is to set ground rules for the working parenting. In our home, I announce to the family that I’m “going to work and I’ll see you when I get home.” The children know that when I’m “at work” that they need to give me my space. Then when I “get home” they know that I’m readily available. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, other than to make sure expectations are clear and understood by all.
If your family adopting the “school day” model, we’d encourage you to consider the best “school days” which are… field trips! It may be difficult to balance a real-world trip with the present restrictions but consider a virtual trip instead. Presently, there are many options for this as well. Consider:
Do you miss the arts? 12 museums around the world with virtual exhibits:
Do you miss the animals? 6 Zoos and Aquariums with live animal videos:
Do you miss the beach? Webcam for the tranquil Madera Beach in FL: https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/weather/bay-news-9-cameras#Madeira_Beach-WX
Have you wanted to go to Space? Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover:
Again, there are many options available online. One thing that hit particularly close to home for my family was the loss of sports. The good news is if you need to catch up on games from this season or even classic games you can check out.
NBA League Pass is now offering a free trial to watch both classic games or games from the 2019-2020 Season (Go Nuggets!):
Need a football fix? NFL Game Pass is free until May 31st:
Are you a fan of in-depth sports journalism? The Athletic is free for 90 days:
The need for stimulation isn’t limited to children. With all this free time to fill, why not take some time to learn something new?
Embry-Riddle is offering free online courses: https://worldwide.erau.edu/massive-open-online-courses
Learn Spanish? Chinese? Or virtually any other langue:
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg and we highly recommend exploring. A few of these suggestions came courtesy of Amber Piller’s Facebook post found here:
As you can see there is an immeasurable amount of options to explore to assist with filling time. With all these options it can also be easy to get lost in a screen.
One final thought, don’t forget perhaps the most important resource available to you in this unprecedented time which is the “off” button. Disconnect, play a board game, have an exercise class, cooking instruction, or just sit around and talk! Today’s busy families are so strapped for time, the biggest blessing may just be all that literal face time you’re about to enjoy.
Our favorite game here is an impromptu session of Hide and Seek, which means an unannounced game can start at any time. How does this work? It is simple, someone in the house just starts counting (to 20) really loudly. Everyone scatters and the game begins. This can be a one-off or it can turn into a long series of games.
We hope these suggestions are a nice jumping-off point for you and yours. We’re all in this together.
See other COVID related articles here.
Make the most of it! Be safe.
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