As the sun is about to set on another school year, parents/caregivers and educators agree that it’s been extremely challenging three months. Distance education is not new. But given the speed with which “stay at home” orders were enacted by statewide governments, school systems and educational leaders were not prepared to train and equip their faculty or their families with the necessary tools for successful remote study.
There’s a lot of distance coursework inequity across the board. Beyond that, parents, especially working parents and most especially single working parents, have struggled to figure out how to add homeschool supervision responsibilities to our already full plates. In addition to the negative psychological effects of quarantine (anxiety, depression, hopelessness), remote learning has increased tensions in many homes.
At our best, parents might find ourselves a little snippy with our kids whining about boredom, or we might struggle to keep their homeschooling lessons feeling relevant and real. At worst, there’s a staggering increase in domestic violence and abuse.
The funny homeschooling memes are real… and so is the truth that some of us are really struggling. We need better tools. As Rabbi Michael Knopf, father of three and rabbi of Temple Beth El (Richmond, VA) recently posted:
“…[O]ur struggle and our pain is real, and just because others are hurting doesn’t mean we aren’t. And while we most certainly should advocate on behalf of others who are suffering right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to advocate for ourselves, too. And here’s the truth: our leaders — on the local, state, or federal level — have not done nearly enough to help working parents in this moment. It feels like we got hit by an earthquake; the building we were in collapsed, we’re trapped in the rubble, and no one is able or willing to help pull us out.”
On May 20 the CDC released their requirements for schools reopening. Much to the shock of (some) parents and educators, these requirements will not be easy to meet. Most of us are likely facing several more months of either hybrid home-and-school learning, or continued remote learning. Help and change are needed — now.
In the spirit of sharing tools for thriving, Bayit offers the following data-driven and results proven guide:
Transform Your Home into the Ultimate Social Emotional Learning Setting: A Jewish Parents’ Survival Guide to Remote/Distance Schooling [pdf]
Restructuring our “COVID-19 stay at home lives” to Social Emotional Learning-friendly spaces will help families benefit and even thrive. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) offers wisdom and results-proven techniques that families of all shapes and sizes can implement in our own homes.
Here’s to building increased schooling capacity in our homes: for our kids’ sakes, and for our own.