“10-to-2”: The Homeschooling Edition

The term “10-to-2” holds a special place in my heart and I’m going to tell you why. When I was in college, all of the on-campus parties were held from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. That’s when I learned, for the most part, parties in Baltimore end at 2:00 am. I can still see it now- my friends and I would get dressed in the latest fashions our money, and our stupid credit cards from MBNA, could afford, all to sweat out the stress of the week in the Student Union along with other college students.

Say hello to 17 y/o Krystal the freshman (in the ID card) and me 4 years later. There were a lot of 10-to-2’s in between those years!

I’ll spare you the details of our pre-gaming routine because my Mom reads this! After it was all said and done we would make it back to our dorm rooms to laugh the rest of the night away about who we saw and, more importantly, what we saw. I can call up any of my Towson friends and make a reference to an event being a 10-to-2 and they will know that I’m talking about a party. Nowadays, the term 10-to-2 has taken on a very different meaning as a I am now the Assistant Principal (because the Hubs is a real Principal in real life!), Lead Teacher, Support Teacher, Resource Teacher, Food & Nutrition Specialist, Nurse, Intervention Specialist and After School Director.

When you’re home 24/7 anything goes…including riding a scooter around the house and plastering holiday bows on your face!

The beginning of #homeschooling
I’ll be quite honest, the first 2 weeks of being at home was a pieced together conglomerate of workbooks we already had, academic websites Tre was familiar with from school, a whole lot of reminders to help him stay on track and frustration from feeling like he wasn’t getting enough. There was no real ‘schedule’ and I was not a fan. The following week our school system had the online learning system up and running and I was never more happy. But that didn’t make me the happiest. What brought me teacher-like joy was the new routine I established.

Tre, like most kids, will be happily entertained by all things technological if I let him. From his laptop, to the television which leads him to YouTube and Netflix with ease, to his new favorite Xbox, he will find a way to ditch the books and LEGO bricks he loves to get all the screen time he can stand. What was my solution? A 10-to-2!

The family room has been taken over by toys. This was one morning during Tre’s ‘free play’ time.

New #homeschooling plan: 10-to-2
From 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. there is no leisure screen time permitted unless he is using his laptop to complete online assignments, and within that 4-hour block, Tre can play for 2 hours and work for 2 hours. I allow him to pick whatever time chunks he prefers as long as his school assignments are completed. The first few days were a bit wonky as he figured out what to do with his non-tech play time. But, it’s been a couple weeks now and Tre has it down pat. He usually opts to play first and he chooses to do all sorts of things from building awesome architectural designs with his LEGO bricks to riding all around the house on his scooter (one of the perks of being quarantined that I don’t fuss about because it’s pointless), to going through board games and toys that haven’t gotten any love for a while. He’s been everything from a scientist to a commissioned artist. There are days when I might have to remind him that it’s 10 o’clock, but after I do, he’s off singing, talking to himself and being an 8 y/o kid engaged in imaginative play until it’s time to work.

Technology helps to make learning semi-tactile.

Free Play & Academic Time…Self-Guided
After the 2 hours of ‘free play’ (as I call it) is up, Tre sits down to log on to his math, language arts, social studies, science, and health lessons. Once we figured out how to properly submit his assignments and maneuver the different sites, he had it down. Do I sit with him while he works? No. Thank the good Lord I have the kind of kid who is responsible and honest and has enough of a healthy fear that he won’t stray from the task at hand. Once he has finished with an assignment, he brings it to the Hubs or me to review it before he clicks “Turn In.” Plus, we live in a ranch-style house so we are pretty close and can hear him working while we are working. How do I make sure he’s staying on track…from another room? I frequently call out, “Are you ok?” “Do you have any questions?” “How’s it going?” and he will respond. When he has questions he’ll come and ask; and we are only about 10-feet from each other so I’m pretty close. Now there have been times when he’s gotten off track and I know it’s happening because he suddenly becomes way too quiet and he gets a nice little reminder to help regain his footing.

Tre during his class meeting. He made sure to change his clothes before it began.

Most days Tre doesn’t even realize when 2:00 has come (and gone) because he is either still working, eating a late lunch or getting ready for his daily virtual class meeting at 3:00. He makes sure he is dressed for his meetings with a full outfit and sometimes shoes! Oh kids!

Homeschooling Hack
I am right along with you learning to be alllllllll things to my child while navigating alllllllll of the uncertainties this pandemic has to offer. My contribution to you is an idea for what has been working for me. Maybe you don’t like the hours we use and want to go from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or you might not be feeling the idea of no tech for 4 hours. Do whatever suits you, your child and your household best. I like the idea of picking a system, and, with a few tweaks, sticking with that system and so does Tre. Kids like consistency and that is the one thing I can help him maintain amidst all of the other uncertainties we are facing.

So, I wish you well educators…I mean Moms…as you make your way through the end of the school year…10-to-2 style! –krystal

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Around the Way Mom

Krystal is a 30-something mother, wife and professional who’s navigating life’s twists and turns all while finding balance in it all! She lives in the DMV with her husband and son.

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