The Unseen Benefits of Education at Home
While we can lament the lack of "normality" of formal education during this COVID-19 pandemic, we might also be missing and overlooking some of the unseen benefits of education that are happening with learning at home. This unique setting provides an opportunity for parents to enhance their children's education at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four Key Educational Opportunities
Balancing Chores with Schoolwork - A Lesson in Time Management
The easy excuse for most kids when it comes to family chores can be "no time, busy with school." However, this is the time to teach that having "no time" is a choice, and time management is a skill. Domestic tasks like making beds and emptying the dishwasher are great opportunities to teach children time management skills while balancing these chores with schoolwork.
Some psychologists say that children are so stressed right now because of COVID (this article by Reuters says psychologists believe the pandemic to be traumatic to children), so now is not the time to add more to their plate. I fear that following such advice may be a missed opportunity in the sense that it is not adding more to their plate, but teaching them how to manage their plate. Balancing schoolwork with chores and other responsibilities is the perfect opportunity for children to learn the critical life skill of time management. One needs to be flexible, but one need not be an enabler of laziness and procrastination.
Family as a Team
It is important to recognize that kids are under greater stress and suffering from a lack of social interaction. Parents can teach them that they are also not the only ones enduring stress. Parents are also suffering, so it takes a team, and a family needs to work as a team.
One way to teach children this given that kids are not seeing their friends often, is by asking them, "What if your friend was scared of getting COVID? What would you tell him or her?" This is a way to use the current situation to generate and teach empathy by encouraging children to consider scenarios outside of their own feelings and activities.
The family must also utilize interpersonal communication skills to function and exist peacefully in the home while under stay-at-home orders. Tight spaces and long hours under one roof can cause anxiety and disruption unless conflicts are met head-on and time is taken to learn to resolve these conflicts in a healthy way.
Family engagement in education has increased during this time and presents a great opportunity for students to also connect with family culture. An article by Axios.com, Coronavirus Reshapes American Families says, "Enduring hardships together builds stronger connections." The article goes on to say that several families surveyed claim the COVID-19 pandemic made them closer than ever. One family said, "We spend much less time on electronics and more time together. I think it's a product of schooling the kids from home as well as home becoming the new all-in-one."
Families working together as a team has also given children a new creative edge. From finding quiet space for study and Zoom meetings to finding ways to exercise at home and perhaps even stand in as a barber or nail technician, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced creativity in children while at home.
Learning about Parents' Work Life and "The Real World"
Students are also learning vicariously through watching and experiencing what parents are doing and how they handle life and work. In many cases, students might not have intimately known what a parent really does during the day, but now they listen in on team meetings, client problem-solving, as well as see parents juggle laundry, grocery ordering, and meal preparation.
This article from the Washington Post addresses the impact parent's work-from-home experience during COVID-19 has had on children: 'Seeing a parent's professional identity — skillfully leading a Zoom meeting, getting treated respectfully by co-workers and being important in the corporate context — can have a profound impact. 'Children are getting glimpses into [their parents'] professional lives right now in a way that we've never seen before, and there's a huge opportunity here for learning, sharing, growth and connectedness — both for kids and for parents,' said Neha Chaudhary, psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and co-founder of Brainstorm, the Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation.'
Cross-Generational Actions Increase
Parents should not barricade themselves in a home office all day, as the world has grown accustomed to the "new normal" of children interrupting the Zoom meeting…this is not only ok and acceptable, but it helps redefine corporate culture and cross-generational dialogue. Kids see what mom and dad do and the boss sees what challenges the employee has at home.
It's a form of cultural competence, but there are also cross-generational interactions that tend not to happen as much in school. In school, kids spend most of the time with people their own age. At home, they are spending most of their physical time with people of different ages. There are great learning opportunities within this.
In this article titled Children Interrupting Zoom Meetings Could Be the Reboot Corporate Culture Needed by the Guardian, they ask, "What if it took a virus to reboot our workplace cultures and humanize them? To give our leaders and managers confidence that people can be trusted to deliver without having to put on suits and judged on what time they leave the office? One of the things virtual meetings do is put us all in each other's homes. We try to look professional from the waist up. But when that two-year-old bursts in the boundaries between the workplace and the domestic space collapse."RELATED POST: Has Coronavirus infected equity in education? Millennials may be the vaccine!
While not being at school has limited some aspects of formal education, the bigger opportunity for the "school of life" has emerged during this time. With challenges, changes, and limitations, there is the opportunity to grow in compassion, learn cross-generational skills, and develop greater capacity for empathy. Ultimately, might we look back and say that the chances of a student becoming a lifelong learner who adds value to the world was actually enhanced through this time?
Other News and Announcements
Ravi is currently available for both in-person and virtual online keynotes. Click here to learn more about both of these (and see his video specifically on Virtual Keynotes).
Ravi is putting the finishing touches on his new book, PIVOT, due to be released before the end of the year. Learn all about it here: https://raviunites.com/publications
A number of school districts have inquired about online convocations. If you are interested in having Ravi deliver your 2020 or 2021 school convocation keynote, please send us a message through our contact page, https://raviunties.com/
Ravi Unites Schools Update
We had two Realtime Audio-Video Interactions scheduled with Shanti Bhavan in India: one with Bethel Elementary School in Virginia and another with Londonderry Middle School in New Hampshire. All of these schools are currently closed due to COVID-19 and these interactions will be rescheduled for later in the year.
If you or your organization would like to learn more about becoming a strategic partner of Ravi Unites Schools, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.