• Jason Downes

16/52: School's (not) back and I'm scared!



On Wednesday 15th April 2020, Victoria officially began Term 2 with students working from home...right by their parents trying really hard to do exactly the same thing. I have one seed to plant and it is this:

"Slow progress is still progress".

I have two daughters (Grade 5 and Grade 1) and I'm working in a sales job that requires me to be on the phone all the time. This is going to be a very interesting time at our house and I'm sure many people reading this will be thinking the same thing. How can I be productive, help the kids to learn and not end up at each others' throats?


This very question dawned on me three weeks ago and my wife and I decided we had to make some changes at home. We had a massive cleanup, re-shuffled the bedrooms so everyone had their own space and I started building a study desk for my 10-year-old! Now that we're on the eve of a new way of learning, I'm very happy we made those decisions but I'm still concerned about the actual working, learning and avoiding each others' throats!


So let's take it slowly. The BAU rule book is out, and as I mentioned last week, we need to start with our own physical and mental health. With that in focus, we can then look at our work and learning. In the same way as our sales and profit targets have shifted in the short-term, so should our expectations of our kids and what they should be achieving at school. With primary school children, this is easy to say, however, I understand the anxiety and concern that parents of high school children, especially Yr 12, must be experiencing.


So here's my advice for Week 1 of Term 2, 2020:


  1. Find a physical space for everyone that needs to learn or work

  2. Take baby steps in everything: one small achievement today, another tomorrow

  3. Develop a routine (this might involve sharing breaks, a lunchtime walk, end of day wrap up) and cut out the things that are not working

  4. Celebrate the 'wins' and try to have fun with this experience

  5. You are not alone right now. Everyone is going through massive change and most people are having significant challenges adjusting to a work-with-your-kids world.


Above all, inching forward is much better than flying backwards and slow progress is still progress.


Best of luck to all of the work-from-home parent/teachers this term. I'd love to hear what you're doing so please share your best piece of advice and what's working for you.

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