Tips for Life on the Hybrid Schedule

Life on the hybrid schedule sucks.

I wrote this post twice, and when I reread each one, I realized all I was doing was venting and complaining and making myself angry all over again. So, I thought I’d just share a few tips to help if you find yourself in this situation.

Back in August, we checked the box for “In-Person” school. It was what was best for our family. It was what was best for our son. He is a student who typically needs a lot of adult support and accommodation. He was so lucky in elementary school to have wonderful teachers who nurtured and guided him, teachers who didn’t get upset when he didn’t catch on to things quickly.

When the landscape shifted and he wasn’t going to school in person, we quickly discovered that hybrid middle school life would be a far cry from what he experienced in elementary school. This provided us with a unique opportunity to be those adults to him. We would be his accommodations.

The problem is, we both work. While I understand the need to have fewer students at school, and I believe our school district is taking all measures to keep our children safe, this schedule is just the worst. 

Now, if you have a middle schooler who turns in quality work with little to no involvement from you, please don’t take that for granted — applaud their effort! It’s taken us a while to get to a point where the evenings don’t end in tears (his or mine, it really doesn’t matter….someone is/was crying!)

Here are some tips to surviving a hybrid schedule:

Tip #1: Be schedule flexible. It has taken us months to actually decide what “routine” actually fits. When I get the inevitable text at 10:30 a.m. saying, “I’m done for the day.” I can relax because he and I both know we will work in the evening.

Tip #2: Remember you aren’t the one in school. This took my husband a bit to remember! The teacher isn’t grading how well I can do 6th grade Language Arts. This helped take the pressure off of us and put it back on our son. This also allowed us to continue teaching him about effort. While there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with a C…why would you knowingly get a C when you can do the assignment over and over again until it’s an A? Hard lesson for a 12-year-old who thinks just turning it in is great.

Tip #3: Have a “phone a friend” list. Next to his computer space, there is a list of people he can contact when he needs help. “Email teacher” is first on the list. But we have to remember that asking for help means you trust someone. Hybrid schedule hasn’t fully allowed for a trusting teaching/student relationship to form yet. So a lot of times our son does reach out to us for help, and right now, that’s ok.

Tip #4: Make time for friends. We noticed early on that the isolation was really getting to our son. He was not ok being at home alone so many days a week. We force him to play outdoors or play on his PlayStation so he can have friend interactions. When the neighbor kids come over to play, we never say no anymore. That human interaction is something we took for granted, and kids need it now more than ever! 

Tip #5: Remember family fun. You are not your child’s teacher. (Can I get an AMEN!) I am mom. I don’t want this year to go down as the year I screamed at my 6th grader for nine months straight. So we’ve focused even harder on making sure we don’t just spend time doing school work, but that we also invest in enjoying each other’s company. 

Moms, we can do this. No matter what your child’s school looks like this year, you’ve got this!! Know that your frustrations are felt by others, too! You are not alone. We will get through this.

“I’m Marsha, the devoted wife of a Nebraska Husker fan, mother to a sweet laid back 11-year-old boy named Kellen and a 9-year-old spunky know-it-all named Rowen. I am a Kansas City native, proud Northwest Bearcat Alumni, and enthusiastic 4th grade teacher! I enjoy stolen moments where I can read in peace, indulging in chocolate chip cookies whenever possible, tending to my vegetable garden and finding new ways to annoy my daughter! My goal in life is to be my authentic self, follow the motto of ‘She did what she could,’ and share that with other moms!”