by: Kristi McDonald
I’m going to be honest, five years ago I was writing about school violence. Let’s be more honest, five years ago, none of us guessed where we’d be today. Let’s take a deep breath, admit that we’re here, and talk about things to make it easier. If you’re working at home, schooling at home, or still caught in the whirlwind of the new normal, unsure of what the next school year will look like – here are three things guaranteed to make it easier.
1. Incorporate Some Yoga and Breathwork
Breathwork and yoga bring each individual, no matter his age, into the present moment. It raises our awareness of our physical bodies and physical presence in time and space. Being in the present moment eliminates a lot of unnecessary distractions. Something as simple as focusing on the breath can turn the volume down on the world around us until those distractions fade into the distance. By teaching our children how to recognize the present moment, we can teach them cues to always be able to go back to this time and feeling throughout the day. It has also been shown to improve academic performance, increase self-esteem and positive behaviors, and improve physical fitness. Research has shown that students who experienced one year of a relaxation curriculum achieved a higher GPA along with higher marks in work habits and cooperation than students without exposure to the curriculum.
2. Get Outside Help
In a classroom, even the best teacher has an aide. There are now private teachers and tutors available as quickly as you can click a button on your screen. There are many ways to find outside, reliable help. One of my favorites is the E Teacher App. This and similar programs are designed to connect high quality teachers and tutors for face- to-face in person tutoring or private teaching. Many families desperately need a teacher to help either in person, or through virtual meet-ups. The E Teacher App is a centralized platform to connect high quality teachers and tutors with these families. Programs like this are such a blessing when you realize , you are not alone. We’re in uncharted territory for all of us, but outside help is available. If you are interested in hiring a private tutor for one hour a week, or a private teacher for an entire week – teachers are eager to help.
3. Create a Routine
I like to call it the magic of the divine ordinary. Children need a routine. They need to know what is coming next. Many things we learn about our environments come as lessons with age. We know what is socially acceptable and what is not. We know where the road leads. We know what we’re doing next. Very common things we, as adults, are aware of, children are not. This adds to the distractibility and difficulties focusing. Kids don’t just have one question, they have ten questions. The easiest way to ease some of this is to set a schedule for the at-home school day and post it somewhere that everyone in the house can see it. Then stick to it. Don’t forget to add in fun times and plenty of positive reinforcement. If being on a timeline doesn’t work for your household, create it in a list format, so the youngest ones can know the order of events as the day is unfolding.
Why are we doing this?
2020 is an unprecedented time for all of us. Take what works and leave the rest. When I started incorporating these tricks into my classroom teaching, It wasn’t until after I realized that I was on to something big, that I began researching why exactly this was working. What I learned, amazed even me. Continue to practice gratitude and positive reinforcement and watch how your student lights up. When they feel good, they act better.
… About the Author
Kristi McDonald, is a serial entrepreneur, educator, and CEO of ETeacherApp.com, the site created to help teachers and families navigate through the next school year. She is also a recognized children’s yoga specialist, published children’s author and Chapter Director of Boss Talks DFW. Connect with her or sign up at http://ETeacherApp.com