June 7

Hitting the Brick Wall

We have three more weeks of school and we are acutely aware that some students are hitting the brick wall! We’ve been “in school” virtually for the past 11 weeks and we have learned so much and have done our best to adjust and tweak to meet the needs of all our families. Despite all of this, we know some students continue to struggle in this context. So what now? Here are some tips and resources that will hopefully help steer the train around the corner and away from the wall as we head towards summer.

Some reminders that may help reduce the pressures.

  1. Our schedules are designed (on purpose) to be asynchronous for students who need it. Build a schedule (visually) with your child that works for them. Be sure to include what Google meets they should attend, what they should watch later, when they should take breaks, snacks etc… You can use the grade level schedule as the guide and then adjust accordingly to help your child feel successful.
  2. Our teachers are prioritizing the assignments into Must Do, Should Do, Could Do. If your child is struggling to complete their work or stay motivated, encourage them to tackle their tasks in order of importance.
  3. Get creative, be open-minded and think outside the constraints of the schedules. We are encouraging students to ‘Own their Own Learning’ and please remember that all at-home learning counts as learning, even when it is not a task or activity on the schedule. For example, if you know your child is focusing on rounding numbers in Math, then if they round house numbers while on a family walk, that counts! If your child is intrigued by the news and is passionate about being an activist, creating a poem, writing a letter, researching ways to help our society – this all counts as learning.  If your child is an expert with building with LEGO, videoing a tutorial on how to build a tower is learning. Have an avid reader at home? Encourage your child to suggest a book club with some classmates who also love to read. Is there a budding chef in your house with a keen palate? Have them create a recipe to share with the class. You get the idea, capture and highlight and celebrate all the ways your child is learning, share those moments with your child’s teacher and celebrate their successes and love of learning.

So let’s shift the conversation to why students are hitting the brick wall and what can we do about it. We know that many children are stressed, worried and wildly disappointed about all the things they’ve lost in their used to be fairly predictable world. All of that has been yanked from under them and it’s no wonder that stamina, persistence, willingness to comply is waning. I follow many educational sites on social media that focus on mental health, anxiety, and coping with stress. GoZen! is one I particularly like and during the pandemic, they are sending out free resources to anyone who signs up. Check it out here https://gozen.com/

One of the free resources I received is a feelings journal Feelings Mini-Journal Here. This is a nice way to help your child name and address the uncomfortable feelings they may be having at this time and how to work through them.

Niki Green from the Contented Child is another expert I really enjoy following. She is based in the UK and offers an abundance of resources and also holds parenting workshops and webinars (for a fee – prices are listed in euros) on various different topics. Feel free to check her out here https://thecontentedchild.co.uk/webinars/ if you are interested. One of the resources I recently received from her is called How Big is Your Worry.  This is helpful for children who tend to have a very large reaction (yell, cry, scream, stomp, punch, kick, throw) to a small or medium problem or worry. It helps to teach children to label the worry/problem from 1-5 and then label their reaction from 1-5 to help them understand that their reaction may not have equalled the worry.

Let me know if you want a copy of it and I can send it to you. If you have a child who is struggling feel free to make an appointment with me to discuss further. I have lots of strategies and ideas on how to help families steer away from the brick wall. We know that for some of you this is super hard and we hear you and see you. Summer is coming, and although it will definitely not be the summer we were all hoping for, hopefully, it will allow everyone time to recharge, reset and find some joy and relaxation. Be in touch if you need support.

Posted June 7, 2020 by sreichstein in category Uncategorised

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