Your kids’ schedule gets priority….

Your kids’ schedule gets priority….

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been researching what parents can do to support their children in learning at home. One of the central themes for parents is to tailor your work schedule and daily routine to dovetail with your kids’ schedule. Routine is important in stressful times. Perhaps this is an opportunity to design a routine together. 

For example, perhaps you:

  • Save your reading for when they need to read.
  • Schedule your virtual meetings while they have their virtual classroom sessions if you have two computers. If you have only one, work out who gets access to the computer when. Consult your kids and their school schedules before deciding.
  • Take breaks when they take breaks.
  • Get outside when they go outside.

I’m reminded of when my children, Amy and Jesse, were in the 9th and 10th grades. Jesse played baseball and Amy played field hockey. At the end of the year, I had only made it to about five of their games. Not so good. This is even more curious because one of my favorite things to do in life is watch my kids or grandkids perform.

Why wasn’t I there more often? I had simply scheduled my work travel and meetings first. My calendar reflected my intentions: work first, family second. I even remember leaving for work one day and Amy asking me if I would be at her game. I wasn’t even aware she had a game that day.

So the next year, I put all of Amy’s and Jesse’s games into my calendar first, and then I defended those commitments when they came into conflict with work obligations. Sure, once in a while work displaced those games, but I did make it to over twenty of them.   

Of course, making time for our children’s events is different from learning and working together in the same space. But the point is the same: adapt your schedule to theirs, not vice versa.

We can give everyone a break for how the first three months of no school and working from home went. We were not prepared, and most of us expected it would all get better by the time school restarted in the fall. Now we can see that we’d best figure out how to make this work—to treat learning at home like it matters. 

This is certainly among the worst of times, but perhaps we can make it some of the best of times, too. Your presence has always been important to your children. Now that you have the time with them that you’ve always longed for, it makes sense to make it quality time. 

There’s only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it on.
Leo Christopher


- By Paul Axtell and Jacob Mnookin, authors of Make Virtual Learning Matter

December 21, 2020
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