How to Weather Taxing Times as a Learning Coach
The April 15th tax filing deadline may be past, but it probably won’t be the last time this year you might feel caught between an immovable adult-world deadline and your responsibilities as a Learning Coach.
So today, let’s discuss some tactics you can use to avoid or reduce those taxing days when responsibilities collide and your stress levels rise.
Stress Prevention in an Online School
With dozens of general stress management techniques to choose from, there are four key strategies that adapt uniquely well to actually prevent stress in the online school environment. And, when it comes to stress, we think “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Planning and Time Management.
For Learning Coaches and parents, managing multiple responsibilities at home and in the home classroom can be challenging. But you also have time management tools and options that can help you meet those challenges and maximize the advantages of an online school. You can:
- Create a family learning calendar that prevents unexpected deadlines and scheduling collisions. Your student’s daily planner provides a great starting point for developing a consolidated family calendar that includes your student’s LiveLesson® session schedule, class project deadlines, and extracurricular activities; family vacations and commitments; and your daily tasks as a Learning Coach. With the entire family’s schedule at your fingertips, you’ll be in a better position to plan for major projects (like taxes!) and schedule smaller tasks for times when your student is working independently.
- Maximize your student’s peak productive periods; minimize your stress. Fighting your student’s natural learning rhythms can be an unnecessary source of stress. By evaluating your family calendar on a regular basis, you can discover and adapt the schedule that works best for your student and your family.
- Avoid common time-traps. Long wait times at the dentist’s office or in crowded stores aren’t a given for online families. The schedule flexibility of an online school allows you to make appointments or run errands at non-peak times to maximize time and avoid stress.
When inescapable deadlines like tax day loom or unexpected tasks arise, share that information with the entire family. We’re not suggesting that you educate your nine-year-old about the glories of itemized deductions or the steps involved in making an emergency home repair. But it’s perfectly acceptable to tell students when you need more cooperation and support than usual—whether at home or in the home classroom. It’s even okay to tell them if a project or task has you a little stressed. You may be surprised by how supportive they’ll be when given the chance!
And when family circumstances or projects require flexibility or additional support, make sure you contact your student’s teachers for help and advice!
Sharing the load.
Occasionally, you may need to step away from your role as primary Learning Coach to meet other pressing family or work commitments. Fortunately, the family calendar and Connexus® learning management system make sharing the load with a spouse or other responsible adult easier than you might think. Check out our tips for making those occasional coaching transitions stress-free.
Beyond your Learning Coach responsibilities, don’t be shy about sharing the rest of the load in terms of household duties. Online education is a family affair, and you and your student(s) will have less stress when everyone carries their fair share.
Personal networks and emotional support.
When you initially enrolled your student in an online school, you probably gave a lot of thought to ensuring that he or she would have a strong social network in and outside of school. But Learning Coaches and parents need support, too! In fact, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Stress in America Survey, adults without adequate support networks are far more likely to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed.
Through your faith community, local clubs, and volunteer work, you can make connections that help you weather taxing times. Through your online school, you can get additional support from people who share many of your experiences. You can:
- Connect with other virtual school families through local field trips.
- Exchange ideas with or get help from fellow Learning Coaches or teachers.
- Consult with trained school counselors who understand students, families, and schooling in an online environment.
How do you balance multiple responsibilities and other obligations with virtual school? Share your stress avoidance and sanity-saving tips in the comments below.