Adjust to Virtual Learning in 11 Easy Steps
Sure, online school is a vast hellscape of daily horrors, but here are the secrets to your child’s cyber survival (and yours)
“Let’s do online school! Kids love Zoom meetings!” Said no one, ever. Not even in their wildest, highest, most hallucinatory fever-dreams.
The current viral scourge that continues to plague large parts of the United States is to blame for virtual school. It’s been a steep learning curve for school administration, teachers, parents, and children alike.
Nobody’s happy about it — unless you count being happy about not getting sick and dying for no good reason. Maybe we’re a little happy about that.
Our second-grade son has now survived two entire weeks of online learning and I am still mostly alive to tell the tale, so I developed this handy guide. I hope this list of our cleverest tips and tricks will help you as much as it has me!
How to survive virtual learning in 11 easy steps:
Practice gratitude. They say it is beneficial to well-being to remind oneself of life’s gifts each day. This is going so great in our house. Just yesterday, my son growled at me through gritted teeth that he is “grateful for rain because it disrupts the internet.”
Use positive mantras. Here are a few mantras you can adapt to your family. We have found these to be both motivational and calming. Suggested adaptations are in brackets.
- All experiences are helping me grow [old and crotchety more quickly than I ever thought possible.]
- With every breath, I feel myself relaxing [from a state of crippling anxiety to only moderately high anxiety.]
- I am calm [af.] I am centered [af.] I am totally at peace [in this awful shitstorm.]
- I am doing my [gosh darn] best [even though the universe obviously hates me and everyone else on the face of this miserable planet.]
- I give myself permission to let go of what no longer serves me, [but I promise it won’t be this Chromebook because I’ll have to pay for it myself.]
Offer rewards. These are not in any way bribes. Just because they share many characteristics of bribes does not make them bribes. They are rewards. Use them liberally, but avoid appearing desperate. Children can smell desperation and fear.
Visualize normal life. Our children may be too young to remember what that is, but we have not forgotten. Close your eyes as a family and take turns reminiscing about the best parts of not being a prisoner in your own home.
Take frequent breaks. Be sure your child has adequate time away from the screen to give their eyes and brain a rest. Yes, hysterical crying counts as a break. Parents, you don’t get a break — like, ever — obviously.
Practice self-care. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Just kidding.
Stretch. Bring your hands together at heart center in prayer position. Reach up to the sky. Fold your body in half and feel the gentle stretch in the back of your legs as you collapse in a blubbering pool of rage and resentment. Pull yourself together briefly and repeat as needed.
Exercise. Run. Away. Don’t forget to take your mask with you, but just keep running as far away from reality as your legs, wheels, or other method of locomotion will take you.
Drink plenty of water. Yes, water. Yes, really! If you’re going to booze, smoke or otherwise binge yourself into oblivion later, you need to be well hydrated first. Didn’t you ever listen to a word your school nurse said?
Breath of fire. Inhale, filling your lungs with fresh air until you can’t inhale anymore. Exhale all of the negativity in your body in short, rapid bursts. Keep a fire extinguisher near. I’m convinced that with enough practice we’ll all be breathing literal fire very soon.
Practice the ancient art of violent catharsis. Kick the shit out of something. When all else fails, find an inanimate object and focus all your burning anger and frustration on that object. Beat it to a pulp until you feel some relief. We love to use cardboard boxes from our never ending internet deliveries for this purpose. Win-win!
Virtual school is going to be a breeze. You’re welcome.
Thanks for reading.
Did you know I also write children’s books?
My newest title, The Misadventures of Mama Opossum & Her Babies is coming soon! Find out more here.
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