Guest Blogger: Delphine Rule, B.PE, M.Teaching, OCT (original blog post here: https://www.access2education.com/blog/itsoktosayno)
Over the past month we’ve seen a huge change in our world. As parents trying to do it all it can be hard. Here are some tips to remember along the way.
The World Has Changed
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be writing a blog post about how to support your child at home while you become the teachers. Over the past month (I am sorry it’s taken me this long to blog…. I can’t find words) the world as we knew it has changed.
I can hardly remember when I last left the house without ensuring I had gloves (and not because it was too cold out) or hand sanitizer. On a daily basis I have to remind my kids why we can’t just to the park. It’s changed so many parts of my life, and yours I am sure.
For those who are just starting to read my posts, I am a mom of three (10, 8 and 4) and I am working in Education in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am a full time working mom and I love it. But this new reality…. Well I am not so sure I like it. I miss being in my school with my colleagues, the kids I teach and most of all the routine of going to work.
Even my kids who don’t LOVE school are starting to miss it. Just the other day my eldest said he never realized how much he liked school. Don’t get him wrong, he’s loving sleeping in, staying in PJ’s all and having free access to fridge. But he misses his friends, his teachers and that sense of day to day.
So you say “OK, Delphine what’s your point here. We all feel this way…” but my question today is how’s the remote learning and working full time, working in your house? It sure as heck isn’t going super well in my house.
So lets look at some ways to take it a bit easier on yourself, your family and remember one key point, you can say NO. It’s important to remember that in this time you get do decide how much or how little you do.
I am going to say that one more time - You can say NO to some, all or none of the work.
For those of you reading who have neurologically diverse students, if it’s anything like my house, things are not always easy. Some days we’re good, we get through the work and feel good.
Other days… Well lets just say I am glade when 5pm rolls around!
As a teacher myself nothing frustrates me more then not being able to get my own kids to do their “assigned” school work. I wake up early just make sure their Google Classroom work is downloaded. I wake up early to make sure their school provided laptops with their assistive technology is all hocked up. I wake up early to enjoy, if I can, a few minutes of silence in the day.
The teacher in me is used to having the lessons all planed out. The timing just right and the lesson laid out. Well, problem number 1 : these are not MY lessons. Problem number 2 : I am their mom not their teacher.
So what should you know if any of this sounds like your house. Here are 5 things to remember.
5 Tips to Remember While doing Remote Learning:
- You are your child’s parent first
We as parents want our children to do well and be happy. Our goal for our kids from the day they are born, or arrive to us, is to keep them safe, happy and feeling loved. Things in our world are changing. Our Neurodiverse children are often Super Feelers, they feel emotions above an beyond what neurotypical child might feel. Remember that they will feed off your energy, if you’re anxious they will, if you’re sad they’ll notice that, if you’re feeling stressed they’ll feel that. Tip #1 is to remember that as their parent you decide what might or might not work for you or your family. You decide how much they can handle in a day. As a family take each day as it comes and make sure that everyone, yourself included, is given some grace.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher
This one is as important as tip #1. In all the work I do with families I always start with building the relationship between the families and the teachers. The teachers are part of the team that help build your child up, help move them along and feel safe in their learning. For each one of my children over the last three weeks of remote learning, I have emailed them to say NO to at least one part of the work. I’ve said no to many Google Meet meetings in week, I’ve said no to doing too many math ‘worksheets’. I’ve expressed what it’s like my house with two kid with ADHD and a partner who’s work has increase 10 fold since all this started. to the teachers that I have no help. My partner is not able to help with the demands of ‘teaching’ our children. So I was honest. My words to the teachers were I am going to do the best I can each day, and that’s all I can do.
Guess what… My kids teachers, 100% with that. 100% understanding of what my kids and my family need.
- Don’t expect too much of yourself or your child/ren
This one is hard for many, and super hard for me. I am a perfectionist, I want it to be perfect all the time but I just can’t. For so many reasons that’s not going to happen. My middle child, he’s a giver-up-er. He sees a task and says “I C—-A —— N’TTTT!!! He’s not even attempted it yet. The first few times I was ready. I knew how to coach him through it, I could see it coming, I could ready myself. Each day it took a bit more energy out of me, but I thought well he HAS to do it all! Now 3 weeks in, I am not expecting him to finish everything. In our house now, we’ve taken things way, way back. They have tasks given by the teacher, they focus on the parts that interest them first. Then if they still have time in the 1 hour I expect them to do in a day, they can do the other stuff. I don’t expect too much anymore, I expect them to TRY, to work at it and do the best that they think they can.
Some days this whole thing has felt like being back in the infancy days of my kids. I remember going to the shower and locking the door, turning up the radio and staying in the shower until I was wrinkled. Why? Because it was the only time I was alone. The only time I could hear my own thoughts. At this point in the pandemic, we can’t just go to the coffee shop or to walk with a friend to change our head space. So you have to get creative. Finding time for yourself as the parent makes sure that you can recharge, breath and look after yourself. You can only be useful to your children if you yourself are feeling well.
- No child will fail this school year
If you remember nothing from these 5 tips, remember this… No child is going to fail the school year because they didn’t complete all the assignments on time, because they didn’t do all the work or because they didn’t try. The long and short of the story is that students will be getting the mark they would have gotten day schools closed on March 13th. The only thing that can happen to their marks now is for them to go up. If you are stressed about this please don’t. If you are worried about your child not having what they will need for the following school year, remember this. Your child and all other children are in the same boat. All teachers, when we return in the fall, will have to do some review and reteaching of information. No child will be penalized or left behind this remote learning didn’t work for you or your child.
So lets recap the 5 tips
In case you didn’t read them all… Here they are:
- Your your child’s parent first
- Communicate with the teacher - it’s OK to say NO!
- Don’t expect too much of yourself or your child
- Find time for you as the parent
- No child will fail or be left behind because school closed.
We are living something that is only seen once every 100 years, we hope! Our children who are neurologically diverse tend to feel things more deeply. It makes things harder, from getting into a routine to getting school work done to just going outside. It’s OK if things don’t go 100% as planed. Pick the battles, minimize the tantrums.
As parents your number one goal is to ensure your child is safe and advocate for their mental health and well being of your family in all of this scary stuff. If that means you don’t get all the work done each week, then fine. Learning can come from so many other spot (stay tuned for that post!).
Give yourself and your family to space it needs to be safe, healthy and happy in this time of uncertainty and unease. Together we’ll make it through to the other side!
My name is Delphine, I am a mother, wife, teacher and strong believer that all children have huge potential no matter how difficult their learning struggle might be. As a person with a learning disability, who fought hard to be successful, I am now on the other side as both a parent and a teacher.
I have two children with learning challenges, both have Dyslexia and ADHD and one also has Generalized Anxiety Disorder. By building my knowledge and community connections I have grown stronger and have been able to advocate for what my children need.
My goal is to help families and children advocate for their needs. Working with families, in both French and English in understanding Special Education, Individual Education Plans (IEP) and Individual Placement Recommendation Committee (IPRC).
Together with my clients, I support their needs from working on IEP’s to going to IPRC meetings to help advocate for what they want. I also help families connect with support services in their area to create success.
I work with families to feel empowered and informed on how to work with their school and community with the ultimate goal of supporting their children’s success.
Still wondering how I can help you advocate for you child’s needs? Let’s chat:
Access to Education
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