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Keys To Successful Schooling At Home, Key #4: A Good Director

Every successful stage production has a good director. The director is familiar with the script, the stage, and all of the actors. He or she is close enough to the stage for the actors to be aware he’s there, but he doesn’t micromanage. He’s professional—he’s prepared beforehand, and is clearly in charge.

You’re the director of this play, Mom or Dad. Be familiar with the “script” by reading the teacher’s lesson plans and instructions ahead of time. Visualize each component of the lesson plan, and how it will fit with whatever else is going on in your world that day. Consider preparing a simplified version of the schedule for your kids; they will feel more confident and comfortable if they know what to expect. Check to make sure all "props" are ready and in place.

Get up before your kids do, and get dressed. I know this can be really challenging, especially if you have an infant--you’re probably sleep deprived. But, you have to get up anyway, so set the alarm 30 min. earlier. You don’t have to dress “up”, but your kids will be more obedient if you aren’t in your robe. Your self-discipline will help your children discipline themselves.

Review all “stage directions” with your child: how to manage whatever video platform they’ll be using, and any rules (no “note passing” to other students via text for older students, for example). If there is a snack break in the schedule, get the snack ready in advance, as well as a couple of water bottles. This is something your kids could do the night before, which would save you some time, and be a good chore for them.

If you’re working from home yourself, being available is going to be challenging, but you really do need to be close enough to them to troubleshoot, especially if your kids are in lower grades. Let them know when their breaks are going to be, and plan to check in every now and then.

Show them exactly how you’d like for them to get your attention if they should need to—a bell, quietly knocking on your office door, touching you on the arm, (probably not yelling?)--and when interrupting is not OK (like during a zoom meeting, maybe?).

Be clear, firm, and direct—you’re the director! Use your voice of authority, and exude the confidence you will have because you've prepared yourself and your student(s) well!

Next, Key #5: Lines, Cues, and Curtain Calls

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