As if facilitating learning at home learning isn’t a challenge enough. You may have several children at different academic levels with perhaps different learning needs and at the same time, you may be juggling work and housekeeping. Now add to that mix separated parents where there may be other pressures let along different expectations.
It must be understood, these are trying and unusual times.
Survival depends less on the amount of work a child completes and more upon the emotional tone of the home.
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That is not to say there aren’t some expectations, but there will be a need for flexibility at least in how and when to meet those expectations.
When separated parents can get along: communication is key.
Together you can determine the educational needs and how best to meet those needs looking at each other as a set of resources and capabilities.
It is helpful to play to each other’s strengths as well as availability. Some of this support, connection and working together can also be through video conferencing. School work and support doesn’t take the other parent being physically in the room, but simply available even through online media.
When separated parents cannot get along, the same approach when not concerned about a virus applies and that is a perspective of parallel parenting.
Given you cannot control or influence what goes on in the other parent’s home, you concentrate solely on what you can do only within your own home. This is not about the best outcome but attaining what is actually achievable. Like colouring within the lines, things look better when we stay in our own boundaries.
The real goal in managing through this pandemic is maintaining one’s mental health as best as possible. That is enables with reasonable and achievable expectations, flexibility and some routine, although not restrictive routine. Learning that meets the child’s interest will bring more productivity and even joy to their learning.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW is a Canadian Social Worker in private practice. He is recognized from his 65 episodes of the hit show Newlywed/Nearly Dead, to over 650 columns as the parenting expert of a major metropolitan newspaper, to more than 350 media appearances, to his book, Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout Canada and the US and helps family peacemakers grow their practice.