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Please Wear Pants

Only up to Day 8 of kids learning from home, but for some of us, it feels like Day 143! We are uncovering new-found respect for our children’s teachers and discovering sometimes uncomfortable truths about our own children as well as some of the darker recesses of ourselves. I guess this is otherwise known as ‘settling into some sort of routine’,

As we navigate these new waters together for the foreseeable future, here are some emerging ‘rules’ that Clunes parents are adopting as they ‘supervise’ their children’s learning efforts (and yes, every parent who shared these ideas said them in imagined air quotes - take that as you will).

Rule 1. Please wear pants. Word is that parents are putting the foot down and using this to get their child mentally ready for learning, by getting them physically ready. At worst though, a minimum dress standard should apply - like wearing pants. Just for your sanity alone.

Rule 2. Ask the teacher. When in doubt, ask the experts. Teachers are going to expect questions, (in the midst of funny memes and unintentionally inappropriate gifs if your children are anything like mine) and will get back to you when they can. Remember they are working from home too, and probably have children of their own who are giving this new learning a go. So keep your questions in school hours!

Rule 3. The schedule the school sends is a guide. It’s not gospel and although there will be certain requirements that teachers will ask your child to meet, the schedule can be adaptable if all hell breaks loose. It’s just not worth getting yourself or your child stressed about every, single, little point of learning.

Rule 4. Kids learn in different ways. This has no doubt become immediately apparent to you if you have more than one child at home. Some children are happy to work through their own schedules and at their own pace (bless them), others are more easily distracted and simply “need” that drink of water that you offered 10 minutes ago (it’s just a coincidence of timing that it happens each time you try to start something new!) As a parent, try to roll with it if you can. If you can't, clear a space in the corner so you can use that to just rock!

Rule 5. No school work is worth getting stressed over. Although routine is important to most kids, try to keep it light and adaptable where you can. So if your child is feeling bogged down and getting stressed, or you’re waiting for your teacher to email a reply as to how you should approach an activity, go and do something else. Like a run around the block with the dog, or planning dinner together for that evening.

Rule 6. Feel free to disregard all above rules to suit your own child’s learning style and needs. Not to mention your own work/family life needs. Your school won't be mad. In fact, that is what they want.

To be honest, our children are not going to remember what we are attempting to teach them at the moment. But they are going to remember how we make them feel at this time. So it’s worth taking time out from your learning routine to just enjoy spending time together doing something unrelated to school. Ironically, it'll be those moments where they may just learn the most.

IN RESPONSE TO: "So many rules/things to remember! What are some of the things other parents are telling you works for them?"

AUTHOR: Natasha Poynton. Writer and Chief Wrangler of three primary school aged kids. c2020

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