Updated: Jan 26
Published in Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Summer 2022. This article provides research based insights into working remotely while homeschooling children.
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Contribution for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine to appear in Summer 2022
The skills we help our children build, as they study under our guidance, can benefit them for a lifetime. Distance learning and remote employment were steadily gaining traction even before the pandemic influenced digital terrain and increased the number of remote worker and distance learners so drastically. Research into the overlapping skills of distance learners and remote employees is quickly gaining the attention of scholars. There are already some key skills that research indicates can aid in advancement, both academically and professionally. The earlier those skills are acquired, the greater the chance of mastery.
A study conducted in 2019 surveyed a panel of accomplished distance learners and remote employees to determine which skills they reported as contributing significantly to their advancement. The experts were divided into three groups: distance learners, remote employees, and both distance learners/remote employees. The fascinating thing about this study was the unanimous agreement among the respondents in all three groups related to the ability to motivate themselves and to work independently.
Whether you are looking into your first college experience or are a seasoned employee with decades of experience, honing the ability push yourself toward achievement, production, and development is going to help you meet your future goals. Great, but how do we do that? Training ourselves to have the right attitude and maintain motivation takes practice and perseverance. However, having the right attitude is critical as we face obstacles. There are many circumstances we cannot control, but we can control our attitude toward the situation. Setting attainable goals and reward systems can also help to reinforce motivation, confidence, and the attitude you need to succeed. In Matthew 17:20 we learn that we just need the tiniest mustard seed worth of faith and nothing is impossible, so too allow yourself to gain self-esteem and confidence one little bit at a time. Your students will benefit from your confidence and happiness as well.
The ability to work independently was also reported as indispensable by the experts in the survey. Working independently is critical because it is uninterrupted time spent essentially meditating on the task at hand. There is research [https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01481] that shows how interruptions impact the ability to complete a task and the quality of work. Teaching homeschoolers to work independently not only ensures that they have processed their knowledge and can properly apply it, but it also allows them to build confidence in their abilities. It is easy to want to jump in and make a correction right away, but if they can discover an error on their own, that experience is much more likely to stay with them. The ability to work productively and independently is a valuable skill that many adults are still trying to perfect. Try smaller increments of time at first (age-appropriate), and plenty of praise and guidance as they progress.
Keep Up with Technology
Another competency that experts rated as very impactful to their success was the ability to stay up to speed with technology. It is easier said than done but keeping up with the latest technology is worth the effort. New applications and programs come out every day and even though they look and seem easy enough to use, we often stick to what we know. There may be technology available right now that could make your processes more efficient or your work more effective. Many people utilize voice activated assistants such as Google assistants to organize calendars, events, reminders, shopping lists and more. If you prefer to manually track your day, habits, to-dos etc. a bullet journal is a fun and effective option that can even incorporate some art therapy when you have a moment.
Have you noticed what these things seem to have in common? We build better lives for ourselves from the inside out by setting goals we can reach and by giving ourselves a chance to solve difficult problems. All of these skills are applicable and beneficial to a broad spectrum of life experiences and issues from childhood to adulthood. The experts pinpointed aspects of learning that can be easily overlooked. Instilling skills with value that can be rewarding over the course of a lifetime is not only important, but imperative for students facing education and work in the future on the digital terrain.
Durso, R. (2020). The impact of interruptions and how to overcome them. Contena [https://www.contena.co/profiles/ramonadurso/posts/the-impact-of-interruptions-and-how-to-overcome-them]
Study of the skills that influence both distance learners and remote employees. ProQuest.
Hakim, N., Feldmann-Wüstefeld, T., Awh, E., & Vogel, E. K. (2020). Perturbing neural representations of working memory with task-irrelevant interruption. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 32(3), 558–569. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01481
Dr. Durso is an experienced bilingual management and education consultant, more than a decade of experience in the corporate arena. She uses her academic background in anthropology, business, and education as a foundation for coaching clients using a macroscopic and holistic approach in her business RRD Consulting [www.rrdconsulting.net]. Her research is aimed at those working and learning through the filter of technology for the purpose of providing guidance to help clients build the skills they need to accomplish their goals.