My daughter recently came to me frustrated about her remote learning experience. She preferred the school setting for the dedicated attention of the teacher during school day, the lack of distractions of being in a classroom rather than her bedroom and of course the social aspect of being with her friends each day.
I had been thinking through how to make my work days more productive as well, so I thought I would share some of the ideas we came up with:
1. Create A Dedicated Area For Work
We have an unused desk in the basement. We pile items on it that haven’t yet found a “home”. We decided to set up a work space with a lap top and materials needed to complete her schoolwork. I explained to her this will help her get in the mindset of doing work rather than being in her bedroom which is typically used for leisure time.
It is someplace she can leave when the work is completed and not be reminded that her schoolwork is calling. It will give her a much needed mental break in these stressful times and help her to separate work time from leisure time.
2. Set A Schedule
I was delighted, initially, to turn off my alarm clock with the first announcement of school closings. I have enjoyed leisurely sipping my coffee with no sense of urgency to get on the road.
Beginning our fourth week of being at home, I am now longing for that structured schedule. For my daughter, her classwork and video meetings with her teacher help form a schedule for her day.
However, it will still require a more rigorous attempt at keeping a regular schedule. Planning out each day’s task with clock times rather than a general “To Do” list will help keep us on track to completing our daily assignments in a timely fashion.
For example, set of a goal of being dressed with brushed teeth by a certain time in the morning to begin the day. Have a regularly scheduled lunch time to look forward to and schedule a set amount of time to complete your determined tasks for the day. Of course, the schedule may need to be adjusted but this will help keep you on track each day.
3. Make Your Bed!
What does making your bed have to do with getting your schoolwork done? I know, it sounds strange. The speech made famous by an Admiral in the navy reminds us that when we accomplish a small task, it gives us the confidence to accomplish the bigger tasks in our day.
Every time you walk by your made bed, it reminds you that you have completed a task for the day and are ready for another. My son who is working on organizational skills has remarked that even though he doesn’t like making his bed, it helps him think more clearly as his bedroom is more organized and thus helps his thoughts be more organized.
It could be a different task that gives you a sense of accomplishment like putting away the dishes or making sure all the laundry is folded.
4. Dressing for Success
My daughter wears a uniform to school and I have work clothes that have gone untouched in my closet for weeks. We’ve been taking advantage of not leaving the house and wearing very comfortable athletic or lounge wear each day.
To help us get back into a work mindset, I recommended we dress each day for our work. This will be another signal to our minds that we need to prepare for a period of work each day.
Because our current clothing is for a time of leisure and rest, it is confusing and difficult to overcome that thinking when we have work at hand.
I suggested we dress with more formal clothing even if that means jeans rather than sweatpants. Making that mental separation between work and play will help both of us in our productivity.
5. Take a Break
We are not made to work ceaselessly! God ordained that we work and rest in daily and weekly cycles. Reward yourself when you complete a task or tasks. It can be something as simple as changing tasks like folding a basket of laundry in between your more mental tasks.
My son, who enjoys socializing, can be rewarded with calling a friend or family member for a mental break or allowing him a set amount of time on social media. The simple reward after completing your task will increase the likelihood of you completing the next and so on.
Soon you’ll have created a habit and find yourself needing less rewards. That doesn’t mean we should give up our times of rest. Have a time in the day when you know you are done with schoolwork for the day. Enjoy your leisure time of the evening and in the morning you’ll be refreshed and ready to start afresh and anew!
Traveling to a designated place of work like a school or classroom has these benefits of structure built into them. With structure comes discipline and increased learning.
While we are forced for a time to adapt to remote learning in our homes, if you would like to learn more about a classical, Christian education for your student click one of the options below to learn more.