Which subject does your child struggle with most? Have them study that subject first thing in the morning, while they are still fresh. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Which subject does your child struggle with most? Have them study that subject first thing in the morning, while they are still fresh. (Jennifer Bardsley)

How to manage distance learning like a pro in 7 easy steps

This mom sees the humor in trying to work from home and play teacher for her kids at Zoom school.

Congratulations on your new job as an unpaid paraeducator! Here are tips for managing your virtual school from the semi-comfort of home.

Use dawn effectively. The early-morning hours before students wake up is prime time for adults to center their day. Pour coffee, unfold the newspaper and tell your spouse about the nightmare that woke you up at 3 a.m.: Rabid raccoons clawed your intestines as you fought to escape the house. If you have extra time, roll out your yoga mat so you can either exercise or lay on the ground and sob.

Wake-up strategies that work. Once you’ve woken up your children in plenty of time for them to attend their first Zoom lesson, check your email. Quickly sort through messages you don’t have time to answer, and then attempt to wake your children up again. Come back to your desk and hit that delete button. Nobody likes an inbox filled with spam. If your kids are still asleep, use the “freeze out” method. Yank the covers off and open the windows.

Study difficult subjects first. Which subject does your child struggle with most? Consider having them study their most challenging topic first thing in the morning, while they are fresh. You’ll be full of energy, too, which is why you’ll be able to help with school, unload the dishwasher, order groceries and pay bills all at the same time. When your student seems fully engrossed in learning, tackle the project you have due at work. You’ll be able to concentrate for five whole minutes before your child needs help again. Use those minutes wisely.

Turn lunchtime into family time. The pandemic’s silver lining is that families have more time to spend together, especially during meals. Gather ‘round the kitchen table for whatever you were able to scrape off the bottom of the refrigerator. When in doubt, add a limp carrot stick to the plate. Now that you’ve served vegetables, it might even be a USDA approved reimbursable meal.

Create a fresh learning environment. Video meetings are giving teachers, students and coworkers an inside glimpse into our homes. Be sure to put your best foot forward by dragging all of the dirty laundry out of view. If a bookshelf is in your child’s background, fill it with titles they’ve never read but which will make them seem smart.

Honor recess. The shortened virtual school schedule allows plenty of time for kids to recreate with other students inside their pandemic bubble — meaning their siblings. Provide sports equipment such as jump ropes and badminton rackets. Give important safety reminders like how rackets are for hitting birdies, not each other, and that jump ropes are meant for cardiovascular endurance as opposed to tying each other up.

School’s out — yay! Yes, you can complete your eight-hour workday in the 2 hours and 43 minutes before it’s time to make dinner. Wait, never mind. The groceries are ready to be picked up. Who’s ready for a field trip?

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

TikToker Brett Kelly, 24, whose Pumpkin man character TikTok video will be aired on the CBS show The Greatest #AtHome Videos on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The TikTok ‘Pumpkin Man’ of Lake Stevens dances to TV fame

After his pandemic layoff from Macy’s, Brett Kelly, 24, has been adding to his 1.4 million followers.

The Black Tones are one of three headliners of this year's Fisherman's Village Music Festival broadcast on YouTube and at www.thefishermansvillage.com. Catch the band's performance on Oct. 31. (Kendall Lawren Rock)
Fisherman’s Village festival returns as streaming video series

Long delayed by the pandemic, the spotlight for local music is being broadcast in four episodes this week.

The five telltale signs of a ‘hortaholic’

It may be an addiction, but it’s the good kind that enriches your life.

This silver-plated serving piece is called a box but it doesn't look like one. It held English biscuits, but if the sides opened, the cookies inside would fall down. Each of the shell-shaped bowls had a hinged, pierced flap that kept the heat and the biscuits in place when the sides were opened and became flat bowls to serve the cookies. The flaps are often missing when the biscuit box is sold.-
These British ‘biscuit boxes’ are cookie jars by any other name

And fancy silver ones can sell for as much as $256 at antiques auctions.

Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’
Great Plant Pick: Vitis vinifera “Purpurea”

It’s a common wine grape, but in the Puget Sound region, it’s grown for its beauty — the fruit won’t ripen in our climate.

Pandemic psychology and fear of contagion or psychological fears of disease or virus infections with 3D illustration elements.
Pandemic pains: Sleepless nights, hair loss and cracked teeth

Chronic stress from the months-long COVID-19 pandemic is a common thread among many of these conditions.

An expert’s top 3 tips to effectively train for virtual races

When COVID-19 struck, many races were canceled to limit crowds. Virtual races are becoming a popular alternative.

Beer-brined BBQ chicken with mustard and miso mayonnaise sauce. (Sam Folan)
Feel like a chef in your own kitchen with ‘Home Cookery Year’

The cookbook is divided by seasons and includes midweek suppers, recipes on a budget and payday cooking.

Curried beef stew is a warm, hearty dish when the weather turns cool. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette/TNS)
Chase away the chill with this Dutch oven curried beef stew

It gets an Asian kick from curry powder and fresh ginger, and umami from a few splashes of fish and soy sauces.

Most Read