It is a common belief that structure limits freedom. However, the opposite is actually true. Structure is the key to freedom.
At the onset of the home-learning movement, while the rest of the world was still in disbelief, Amanda was busy developing a plan. And, she was ALL OVER IT!
We get that not everyone beats to that drum. We’re even cool with it. You do you. That’s grace!
In the same breath, I’m admittedly in awe of the number of social media posts I read about moms swearing off any semblance of school-day-order and admonishing anyone with a plan. Is it really a badge of honor to throw two-plus months of school out the window? Not judging… I’m genuinely curious. Or is it that they are simply overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin?
If you’re the former, this may not be for you, but if you’re the latter, we can help!
First of all, there’s no wrong way to tackle YOUR plan. It’s yours, you get to do with it what you will. And frankly, the manual for this home-learning thing did not make it to publication before the world fell off its axis. Hence, we’re all learning as we go. But, we offer for your consideration, the following perspective on introducing a structured plan to tackle home-learning. Because having ANY plan is a step in the right direction.
Utilizing a method of organization is rarely a bad thing.
I said rarely to cover my…self, but I can’t think of a single time when I wished I was less organized. The trouble is, it’s work. So, here are some things you can do make it less daunting:
- Identify what needs to get done by making a list. I call it a brain-dump.
- Prioritize the list by identifying tasks as important, urgent, both or neither.
- Identify how much time it REALLY takes to accomplish each task.
- Schedule or “time-block” your prioritized tasks into your calendar and/or to-do list.
- Be flexible.
Marian Knopp, Productivity Mentor at marianknopp.com and founder of the Productivity Tip of the Day podcast, suggests that there can be freedom in structure when you know what you have to do and how long it takes to do it. By identifying and prioritizing what you need to do, you simultaneously identify which tasks can shift in your schedule if and when you need to accommodate those changes. Furthermore, because you have a plan, once it’s complete, the day that remains is yours to do as you please… that’s freedom! Proof that structure is the key to freedom.
Look, all the planning in the world won’t make you immune to roadblocks and bad days.
If you read Rock Your Best You, you know that I fight that battle on the regular. But, starting with a plan gives you the grace to pivot. Sometimes that even means throwing the plan out the window. However, we strongly suggest throwing out just the ‘bad day’ page… Keep the rest of the plan because you’re going to need it tomorrow.
So, let’s apply this to home-learning.
The GracePace Home-Learning “app” is a task manager designed to help students manage their time AND productivity. Here in the Bloomfield Hills School District (BHSD), we’ve been armed with a SOLID, thoroughly developed online learning curriculum. It includes videos, virtual class meetings and office hours. There are grids and links and platforms and it all gets updated weekly. So, while we’re grateful for the plethora of resources, it’s all a lot to process and a little overwhelming.
Luckily, you’ll recall that I told you that Amanda had a home-learning plan from the get-go.
So, we took her plan and the entire Bloomfield Hills School District’s plan, called Continuous Learning 2.0, and spent hours implementing the organizational method above to create a product that marries the two plans. Once you download our grade-specific files, you will be armed with a foundation to face these next 8 weeks of “school”.
But, hold on, it gets better!
The product is completely customizable. Rachel’s kids are following a fairly consistent 9 am-2:45 pm time-block schedule while Amanda’s kids are all on different schedules with different start times. Her 9th and 7th graders work independently, at their own pace so they utilize the app as a task manager, checking-off each subject as they complete it for that day. Meanwhile, her 4th grader has a slightly more regimented schedule.
For each of our learners, however, all of the aforementioned BHSD materials are integrated into the app so the kids know when their office hours are for core and elective classes and have direct access to the links that take them to the videos, the virtual meetings, and the week’s curriculum. Explore GracePace Home-Learning now!
Structure is the key to freedom.
Having this plan in place allows me to focus on MY workday. My kids, albeit, ages eleven and twelve (not little ones anymore), utilize the application on their Chromebooks to navigate their day and I don’t have to worry or wonder whether they’re missing a lesson or a virtual meeting. If you have little ones, our home-learning “app” will help you navigate their schedule.
You will determine the schedule that works for your learner(s) and your family. Furthermore, you will adapt as needed. If the plan that you set for this week doesn’t work, pivot! Tweak it as necessary until it works for you and your learner.
Organization breeds discipline and accountability.
Structure in home-learning will teach your child the life skills of time management and productivity. When your learner is organized, she can manage her time well which increases her productivity and keeps her accountable to her to-do list. I sure wish I would have learned these lessons as an eleven-year-old. Even if your structure is loose, it can be effective. Free yourself from the daily reinvention of the wheel and embrace GracePace Home-Learning today!
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you now see how structure is the key to freedom and not its evil nemesis? We won’t call you out by asking for a show of hands but blink twice if we’re getting through to you. We hope we’ve given you a new perspective to consider how you schedule your time and plan for productivity. If that’s the case, leave us a comment below.