Ask Ms. Gail

Navigating the Transition From Traditional School to Home

Q: The other thing I’ve heard people struggling a LOT with is the transition from parent to teacher. My kids and I have already butted heads a few times over school work. Any ideas on navigating that?

The schooling dilemma! I know academics are important but please everyone relax a little! While we want children to stay busy and hopefully learn something, it is not nearly as important as a child’s emotional and mental health. Children are struggling socially and emotionally. We should expect short term, minor issues in behavior and emotions. What I don’t want to see is long term issues.

Parents are not school teachers and there shouldn’t be an expectation that they suddenly become one overnight. Do the best you can, without causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.  Academics can be taught down the road, I promise you children can/will “catch up.”

Also, remember every child/family is in the same spot. Don’t compare your family or child to anyone else! If you have set aside two hours a day for “learning” and that is just a nightmare then shorten it!

Children, of any age learn best through active, hands-on experiences!! Most work going out to children is worksheets, rote, passive experiences. This is likely to be a big part of why children are fighting and struggling so much (“it’s boring, stupid, too hard, too easy”) Create your own learning experiences!

-Sending mail to friends and/or teachers is a great learning experience! (literacy, addressing an envelope, postage, how mail works)

-Cook/bake and let them do most of it, even though it will be messy (math, literacy, science, fine motor)

-Journal what is happening right now from their perspective (literacy, emotional awareness)

-Have them create a play. Set up a dramatic play area or play games (not electronic, even just card games are great)

-Try “loose” materials – grab random things around the house and ask the children what they can make/play with them (kitchen utensils, clothes pins, bowls, plastic eggs, coffee filters, measuring cups, really anything) then add water, shaving cream, dirt or sand and you will have hours of entertainment and learning!

-Read to/with your child every day!

-Go outside!!!!!! Let them run, dig, get messy, look for signs of spring and then document. Measure the new blooms and then track how much the flower grows every day. Write down the measurements, take pictures. 

-Ask your children what they want to learn about and start an investigation/project on that topic!

-Even though we may not know exactly when this will end, give your children a visual/concrete timeline. Pick a date: Easter, in two weeks, April 15th, May 1st, etc. Make it a game, have everyone guess, “When will we be able to see our friends again?” Then make a calendar and have a child cross off every day, better yet have every child give an answer and make their own. Or make a paper chain (great fine motor activity, count out the strips of paper…) and every day rip one off. It will help children see there is an end in sight. If you get to the end and are still at home – start again!

Learning happens in so many ways when a child is active in play! Get your children playing!

I hope this info has been helpful to you. Obviously, a huge thanks goes to Ms. Gail for taking the time to answer my questions. What a gem you are, my friend!

If you’ve got more questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email! We’re all in this together, friends, so pooling our intellectual resources and helping each other is what it’s all about.

I’m going to leave us with the Gail quote we started with because I think it’s so important and sums everything up:

Above anything else, let patience and kindness guide you. There is no best way of handling this situation. Don’t compare yourself to any other parent/family. Do what you and your children need.

Love and light to you all, my friends!


Mary Susan

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