In this episode, I talk about the virtual learning reality many of us are facing for this upcoming 2020/2021 school year due to the current Covid pandemic.
First of all, last time I checked, most of us didn’t sign up to homeschool our kids or to deal with a pandemic.
Therefore, we need a minute to adjust to this reality and get in a productive head space. You really have to allow yourself time to process so that you’re able to face the mindset piece b/c most likely, you didn’t volunteer to help manage your kids during their school day.
AND, it’s okay to feel pissed about that. Feel it. Notice it. Allow all those feelings. Next, you’ll be able to start learning about what needs to happen to help your family have a successful school year.
I cover the five tips spelled out by education experts that’ll support you in helping your kids succeed during their school day and beyond.
As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!
About Randi Rubenstein
Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.
She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.
At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.
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My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind. Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversations in your home flood, you are listening to them.
Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode one 26. Well, hi guys. Welcome to today’s episode this week. And next week, I am actually going to be helping those of you who are affected by Covid and the school year coming up and what’s in store for our families and our kids. And I think many of us in America are going to be looking at a decent amount of virtual learning. So, or at least some kind of a hybrid approach. It doesn’t look like there’s many areas where kids are going to be going back to school full time.
And I know that is not necessarily what we wanted to hear, and this is our reality. So I wanted to put out a couple of episodes just to support you so that we can, you know, tackle this thing because we can do hard things. That’s who we are. That’s what we do. So I got you. And that’s what we’re going to cover up this week and next week. So the title of this podcast is becoming the Homeschool Teacher you never asked to be. And if you’re listening to this and you chose to be a Homeschool teacher, and you’ve been homeschooling your kids for a long time, then please, I hope that you’re sharing resources every, where are you possibly can because you are the leaders on this.
1 (1m 48s):
But for the majority of us, we didn’t ask for this role, we didn’t raise our hand. We did not volunteer. And yet here it is upon us. And as we experienced last school year, we we’ve seen, we’ve seen a lot of holes in our kids school day. We’ve seen, I’ve had many people who have noticed things about their kids, where they realized there’s a disconnect. I mean, it’s been a big window into how are kids learn? What are their behaviors like? Mmm. There’s also been, you know, a learning curve in terms of how schools have switched to online learning, which I applaud.
1 (2m 31s):
Every teacher I’ve heard, I really have heard so many teachers just praised for their ability to kind of shift gears and even many of which many of, of, of whom have kids have their own home while their teaching our kids, its, you know, teachers are or have always sort of been the unsung heroes in my opinion. But especially now they really are. But you know, there’s been a lot of information. I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of people who have said, you know, thank goodness for this time because I realized my child has some learning differences or I can tell that my child has, you know, a really hard time connecting socially or they were so reliant on their social connections during the day that putting so much focus on the academic piece.
1 (3m 25s):
I, you know, there’s something missing. So there’s been a lot that many of us can learn. And, and so I know you guys reluctantly volunteered to homeschool your kids. But what I want to say is that, you know, I’m going to provide some help. And if you’re feeling negative emotions about at all, like if you’re dreading the school year, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, if you’re feeling anxious, if you are feeling worried, if you’re feeling pissed at your co-parent because you’re female and in the majority of households that I know, unfortunately, even if both parents work outside the home, for some reason, the homeschooling duties seem to fall more on mom, you know?
1 (4m 21s):
And if you’re just experiencing a whole host of emotions of negative emotions, what I want to say is, is we have to allow that like we have to do what’s called holding space for those emotions. And what does that mean? It really just means that you’re allowed to have a private temper tantrum about this. Like you, you, you have to put words to how you’re feeling, notice what those feelings are and where they show up in your body. Right? And then what we do is we write about it. We tap on it. For those of you who know that who’ve read my book or listen to my book.
1 (5m 2s):
And I talk about EFT tapping, which is sort of like doing acupuncture on yourself without needles. So you have to right. You have to tap, you have to process, you have to vent, you have to yell, you have to cry. Okay. And, but do it when your kids aren’t around write like, like deal with your own internal drama, which you are a a hundred percent allowed to have with the support of other grownups. Okay? Our kids have enough of their own big feelings to deal with with all this uncertainty. And they don’t need us bringing our issues to the table for them to deal with. They really don’t. But when we don’t deal with them, when you don’t take the time to hold space and hear yourself and kick and scream and vent and write and tap and do all the things and cry, okay.
1 (5m 54s):
When you don’t do that, guess what you do. You just be asked to yourself and then you end up feeling resentful and martyring, fish and angry. And you know, it’s just not helpful. It’s just not helpful. So first and foremost acknowledge you didn’t raise your hand or sign up to be a homeschool. Mom, you have a right to go through the stages of grief. You have a right to get pissed cry then and process the processing is important. And if you try again, if you try to avoid the processing part, right, like that’s who I always was. I was always a number deflector I’m fine.
1 (6m 35s):
I’m fine. Armor up. I what are you talking about? That’s like, ridiculous. What is that like? I’m above the drama. Let me tell you something. You’re not because you’re human. No human is above the drama. OK. So you’ll find yourself. If you think that you’re, armoring up. If you think that you’re, you know, your above being human, you are going to find yourself feeling resentful and frustrated, and then you’re gonna do what you are going to take it out on your kids. You’re going to find yourself in that parent gap, the gap between the parent we want to be. And the parent that we show up as when we’re feeling resentful, frustrated, triggered.
1 (7m 17s):
Okay. And you have to be willing to, just to face this situation. Okay. So really allow yourself to process it. And I’m going to beat a dead horse on that because I’m telling you I was the classic avoider of that. And if you’re also like rolling your eyes, like hold space with the F did that mean like, Oh, that sounds dramatic and unnecessary. I’m I’m here to tell you probably as the older, big wa may be wiser at times, big sister, you can’t get around it. You’ve got to go through it. You got to go through it.
1 (7m 57s):
Okay. So as you process, here’s some information that might help if you find yourself really dreading the whole homeschooling thing. Okay. Let me read to you a little bit. Some statistics. There was a, there was an article in 2019, June of 2019 in Forbes. And it was talking about the number of teachers quitting the classroom after just one year. Okay. Was hitting an all time high in 2019. So it says the teacher shortage is reaching a crisis is reaching crisis levels. As the number leaving after just a year in the classroom has hit an all time. High, more teachers are dropping out after their first year than in any time in the last 20 years, while one in three Leave, after five years, one in three teachers, according to figure, according to figures published today.
1 (8m 48s):
So why do so many teachers leave so early into the job? Okay. It’s well, it’s not because, I mean, we could say it’s because of the crappy PE and that will be totally legit because as you know, now that you’ve been doing a little bit of homeschooling or managing the kids as they’ve been receiving, you know, Homeschool instruction and helping them sign into the zoom calls and keep up with assignments and get enough physical activity and explained to them the stuff that they don’t understand and all the patients that comes with it, you all know it’s fricking exhausting work and Randi yes. Teachers should be paid more so we could understand if they left because it’s just so exhausting and they don’t get paid enough.
1 (9m 34s):
But what I have found is that it really doesn’t have, you know, most people go into teaching. They know what the pay is. So anyone that goes into teaching is generally going into teaching because they have a passion for kids for learning. Like there are the good guys. OK. So why do they Leave so quickly, it’s not a lot because of the academics. It’s not because of math or science or spelling. It’s what educators refer to as classrooms management, classroom management. Okay. So let me tell you that classroom management is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the managing the classroom and who’s in the class from kids.
1 (10m 17s):
So how it’s, it’s hurting the kids, you know, it’s a, it’s hurting cattle. M it’s really all about behavior, right? So what’s the, you know, what’s the issue. The issue is I’ve got, you know, 20 kids at school. Okay. And I have to teach them all of these things and there are humans and they will come, or maybe they didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe, you know, they’re basic needs. Aren’t met. Maybe they, you know, there was, they came to school and they had already had a fight in the morning at home or our power struggle with their parents.
1 (10m 58s):
And it’s going to take them four hours for their cortisol levels, for their stress hormones to go down. And so that’s not real conducive to being in your thinking brain and learning. And so I have a kid that’s fidgeting and, and a kid that didn’t get enough, sleep shows up with ADHD symptoms and then they’re constantly fidgeting and they got their hands on the other kid and then the other kids going into their emotional brain and then their whining in the, you know, what, it’s all of the stuff that all of us deal with when your kids fight with each other, it’s really like learning to live with people during the school day. So teachers leave because of classes or management in a 2013 survey, the classroom management was the top problem identified by teachers in a report by the national council of teacher quality.
1 (11m 45s):
In 2014, they identified the practices of classroom management programs and the way teachers were trained to better understand much it affected students. Okay. And it affected it directly affected they’re learning. So their findings shed light on why so many new teachers, they feel ill-equipped to move beyond behavioral challenges and into the heart of instructions. So that’s the thing. As long as things are tense and not copacetic, guess what kids your kids are are, are, are at a learning deficit.
1 (12m 27s):
So we really have to figure out classroom management. And now here we are the reluctant teachers who didn’t raise our hands to be the Homeschool teachers. Now we have to figure out classroom management and probably also how to do all of the things from our regular day. Okay. So I just want y’all to understand this is something that teachers grapple with. There’s a reason why it, if you’re feeling stressed or worried about the school year there’s, Oh, it’s legit. I mean, this is why teachers leave teaching because they, they feel ill-equipped, they don’t have the right training.
1 (13m 10s):
They haven’t received the right resources. They don’t have enough experience at this. You only get better if you actually know what to do. And then you practice doing that over and over and over again, repetition builds mastery. And so, you know what this study said, every teacher wrestles with the challenge of keeping two or three dozen students in a classroom engaged while better instruction, generally results and better behaved students are the most brilliantly crafted lesson can fall on deaf ears or worse, be appended by disruptive behavior. So like strong veteran teachers, like they know they may occasionally have a difficult kid, right.
1 (13m 57s):
Or a kid that broke up, woke up on the wrong side of the bed or was going through a problems at home or their parents might be getting divorced. And so they’re, they’re disengaged that day or they’re showing, you know, some behavior that is not exactly cooperative, but when it’s a new teacher, right. And they’re just trying to teach all of the things that they learned, how to teach in, in college. And they are trying to present and engaging, you know, instructional learning session. Right. While also having to manage all of the behaviors that we deal with at home as parents, like it becomes so intense, so overwhelmed whelming, they ultimately just feel defeated.
1 (14m 45s):
Okay. And so, so what I want y’all to know is like, you’re crazy if you’ve been, if you’ve been, you know, if you were super stressed out last year, that this is all something that teachers have been experiencing over time, maybe what this time is, you know, as representing is I know that behind the scenes, because I actually worked in, I worked with teachers for a number of years and helping train them on classroom management. And a lot of which has at the root of the Mastermind Parenting method.
1 (15m 25s):
And what I hear from so many teachers sort of behind the scenes is it’s a problem not being on the same page as the parents, you know, teachers, blame parents, parents, blame teachers, ultimately when a child’s not doing well or showing up with, with noncooperative behaviors or not retaining the information and that’s reflected in, you know, in grades that aren’t what everyone was hoping. Let’s say like, C’s are lower. Everybody starts pointing the finger at everybody else. So all teachers have ever wanted is like, well, they went into teaching because they have a passion for children and, and for learning.
1 (16m 8s):
And so they want the kids to succeed. Okay. And so if they felt like they were, or, you know, on the same team as parents, and I know there’s always a couple of parents in every class who are super supportive, did the teachers, but overall, most teachers say that they don’t hear from parents enough. And, and it does seem like, you know, when they have to share something by email, it might be, you know, they get defensiveness back. It’s just a lot of finger pointing. So maybe this time as representing parents and teachers finally aligning and us being able to see the teacher’s perspectives and teachers who are now home with their kids while also trying to work, see the parent’s perspective.
1 (16m 53s):
And maybe this is going to be a time where we all get, get more on the same page, which will ultimately just benefit the kids. So this study on classroom management, they named the strategies that are most likely to be effective in helping the teachers manage the kids and have a successful school day. So the, so I’m going to read to you the top five things that they identify, okay. Number one, rules, establish and teach classroom rules to communicate expectations for behavior. That’s what I say. I say, you know, I would say it with Parenting Parenting is establishing rules one or two repeating it.
1 (17m 35s):
Often three following through consistently easier said than done, but that’s it in a nutshell. So here, they’re saying you have to have rules. That’s why when every classroom you walk into, they have the rules spelled out there on the wall. You know, it’s like the rules of the classroom. So you have to have the rules and you have to have them. You have to communicate those rules and have them on the wall. Number two routines, you got to have structure builds, structure and established routines to help guide this students in a wide variety of situations. Yeah. We have to have you, can’t just cross your fingers and hope that the day is going to go great.
1 (18m 17s):
Like we have to take the time and have some routines and some structure. And let me tell you, you guys, I am a rebel tendency. I hate routines and structure. It’s like the opposite of the way I want to live my life. And kids thrive when they know what to expect. So there needs to be basic routines and structure. Number three, they wrote praise, reinforce positive behavior using praise. And other means, I like to call it rather than praise because praise sort of sounds like we were training dogs. Umm, I like to call it celebration, reinforce positive reinforcement.
1 (18m 58s):
So it’s like celebrating the wins. What we focus on grows. I say that quite often, what we focus on expands. So when you talk about something and talk about something and talk about some of that and talk about something, its on the other person’s radar, like I said, red card, red car, red car. Don’t think about a red car. Like you’re thinking about a red car right now. That’s just, it’s just human behavior. So celebrate all of the small wins. That is positive reinforcement. When you work on positive reinforcement, when you have a routine in place, when you have rules established, when you’ve had a successful day and then you take the time, you know, quite often our kids are like, mommy, look at me and look at me and look at me and look at me and look at me.
1 (19m 44s):
And we’re like, ah, good job, good job. But then when they do something wrong, we like read them the riot act C’s so we are putting so much emphasis on all the wrongdoings and then shocker, we get more wrongdoings, whereas like take the good job out of your vocabulary and actually take the time to spell out what the good job was. Celebrate the wins. Take the time. Wow. We had an amazing day today. You were so frustrated. I saw you working on those math, those, you know, math equations and it seemed like you were super frustrated. And then we like went and took a break.
1 (20m 24s):
We took, we took, you know, buttercup for a walk and which I have to say was a really fun little break. Cause normally I do those walks by myself. So it was super fun to get, to have, you know, a friend with me to talk and chat with while I took buttercup for the walk. So we took the walk and we took a little breather and we took the little break. And then you went back to your math assignment. You totally knocked those out. Like you listen to your body that you weren’t able to focus. We took a break, we got a dog walked in the meantime and then you came back and you knocked it out way to go. All right. That might seem like, like an I’m not talking about blowing smoke about every stupid little thing.
1 (21m 8s):
But like for kid to have to tackle 30 problems. When they’re doing all this virtual learning, they’re not engaging with friends. They’re not probably moving their body as much as they need to. It’s a total deviation and they get frustrated and they take a break and then they come back. Like that is a big deal. So taking the time to focus and even like have something as a reminder, like what’s one thing that I can, I want to reinforce and I can celebrate today. Like that’s a big you guys I’m okay. So that was number three. Number three. We’re going to call it celebrations. They called it praise. It’s all about positive reinforcement.
1 (21m 49s):
So number one was about establishing rules. Number two was having routines, having the structure built in number three, celebrations, positive reinforcement, number four misbehavior. It says consistently impose consequences for misbehavior. And there is a way to impose consequences and consequences are not meant to be punishment. They are not meant to shame and be little and degrade. They are meant to be opportunities for teaching. They are meant to teach cause and effect and we have to take our judgment out of it.
1 (22m 31s):
The consequences when done the right way and forced consequences are, you can try again tomorrow. This is going to help your brain to remember consequences. There is an art to doing consequences. So when there is consistently a misbehavior, we have to have some consistent consequences to help our kids understand that certain behaviors are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. And we have to do it without shame and belittling and blame number five, engagement foster and maintain student engagement by teaching interesting lessons that include opportunities for active student participation.
1 (23m 13s):
No one wants to just be talked at that’s. Why like I teach quite often through story as you were there with me, you know, when I’m sharing a story, you’re there with me, hopefully in the story or you’ve had a similar story and we as humans, we learn through story, right? It’s the, it’s the one of the oldest ways that we teach. And so unfortunately, a lot of classroom instruction is or a textbook reading or like I hate it when teachers or like, okay, we’re going to read a lab from a textbook. And the textbook is just a bunch of facts and information. Like teach it through a story.
1 (23m 55s):
Let’s have some hands-on learning. Let’s act some things out. Let’s do some role playing. Let’s do some fun group projects. Let’s put it on a stage. Let’s take it outside. Let’s do some dramatic reenactments. Let’s assign roles. Let’s research let’s you each have individual jobs. Any time we can bring some playfulness to it, to foster the engagement like this is our time to help our kids see that learning is supposed to be fun. Learning is supposed to be fun. And it’s not just about going through the motions of life. Like so many of us are stressed out about this Homeschool but what if we saw it as a time to get to do things the way it should be done?
1 (24m 38s):
If we have kids that aren’t necessarily the most traditionally successful students, what if we study them and we start to notice what kind of an out of the box learner they are and we meet them where they are and we go and find some resources to help them realize that there’s nothing wrong with them. They were just meant to learn in a different way. And I mean, I say this to my, to my daughter, I have said it to her for many, many years. She is a person who has always love to figure things out and loved to learn. And it is an excellent student.
1 (25m 17s):
However year after year after year, she would come home and she’d be like, Ugh,
2 (25m 22s):
It’s just so boring.
1 (25m 24s):
I mean, I wanted to tell you the elementary school, she literally supplemented her education by with like Harry Potter books, lightning, thief series, any book, she could get our hands on it. But the truth is is that she she’s an out of the box thinker. She is meant to be experiencing and like experiencial learning is her jam. I probably should have sent her to a Montessori all the way up. And when she’s bored, she’s she, it, because it’s not in engaging, Teacher delivering. Like I really feel like she’s the litmus test on engaging gifted teachers and teachers that probably need to leave the field because if they are not engaging, if they’re not interesting, if they don’t know how to foster engagement, she literally wants to poke her eyeballs out and that class.
1 (26m 21s):
But then when it’s an engaging teacher, I mean like shit, this math teacher that was a math. I mean, and we’re talking like in, in high school where it was like, you know, calculus and I can do and statistics. And she lived, she doubled up on math, her senior year because of the teacher. Cause he was so engaging and fun and he ended up taking them to like a statistics conference in Boston, which was really like, like I think it was mostly like a sports betting. It was something, it was like analyzing the stats so that people who wanted to play sports, sports bets, and the Teacher kind of figured out how to like turn this into I’m a school trip, the paid for his, his secret gambling addiction, which sort of just kind of cracked us up.
1 (27m 9s):
But you know what? She was like, it’s so interesting. And or like when she learned about economics from this really engaging Teacher with some kind of an acting background, like he, it made it interesting. She started teaching me about it economics. And I was like, I didn’t learn economics that way. She’s like, yeah, this teacher is really good. And he was like comparing it to all kinds of new, you know, new things that, that feels, it felt really relevant for her. So, you know, that’s what I want to say is that when it’s done the right way, kids enjoy learning. So what if this was a time where we got to help kids who weren’t necessarily traditional, you know, amazing students, what if we help them to redefine that?
1 (28m 1s):
Okay. So this really is an opportunity for us to accomplish things. And, and if you’re not ready to hear this it’s cause you got to go through the stages of grief first, before you get to this place where you’re ready to sort of see it differently and be part of the change and be part of the solution. And you use this time as a parent or full time in history for our kids. Like what if the, what if having our kids home help change the way they learn, turn at school in the future where it is more interesting and curriculum does become more progressive.
1 (28m 49s):
Can you tell? I feel powerful. I feel, I feel passionate about it, but yeah, because it makes me crazy that there are so many schools and the way we’re educating our kids, I think is so freaking boring so much of the time and just sit next to your kids with their assignments and online instruction. And you’ll see what I mean. So if they are not wanting to get through those zoom calls or to do all the assignments or to do things like what if we take things into our own hands and supplement things, as we see that, what I mean, we, we sort of, the world is our oyster right now really is anybody going to during COVID our kids, we’re going to be failing.
1 (29m 31s):
Like I don’t think so. I think that it’s not going to take a whole lot for us as parents to get to prove to the schools that we supplemented our kids education and that they didn’t get to all the assignments this week. Cause guess what? The assignments were flipping boring. So I just, you know, I want y’all though to go through the mindset piece, to get yourself to that place where you’re able to sort of get passionate and excited about it, you have to be able to, to go through and process how your feeling about it. And I want you to know also that you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.
1 (30m 13s):
If the uncertainty of this time in history has making you feel anxious are even angry. We have to feel those feelings. We have to acknowledge that it’s okay to feel it. And, and when we do like, that’s really how we model being the grownups who are capable of doing hard things. And because we’re the grownups, remember it all starts at the top with the leadership, like our kids feed off of our energy. So you’re the pack leader. You’re the leader of your little pack. You set the tone. So do what you need to do this week to get your mindset cleaning clear, go through all of the stages of grief.
1 (30m 55s):
Do your tapping in your journaling, in your writing, in your venting and your temper tantruming. And remember grownups defuse drama. We don’t add to it. We can do hard things. Do the work to get your family set up for a successful school year. And next week, I’m going to cover some really tangible tips and actions that will, that will help you to have a super successful school year. So that’s what I have for you this week and hope it was helpful.
0 (31m 30s):
Are you ready to start having productive conversations? Have you been listening to the podcast for a while? And you hear me go through my three step PRODUCTIVE conversation process to solve any problem. And you’re thinking, how does she do that? Guess what? I made a really cool resource for you guys. I call it the problem solving one sheet, okay. It’s one sheet front and back. So, you know, take it with a grain of salt, but it will walk you through how to have productive conversations and you’ll practice. And before you know it, you will be having productive conversations all day every day. It really is the solution to solve any problem. So you can download it at Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash problem solving all one word that’s Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash problem solving all one word.