“What is a Commutative Equation?!” Fusing Together Work, School and Home.

Volatile junior stakeholders, impossible assignments, pressure from all angles…. This is the reality for working parents in 2021. Throwing together work life and Home Learning has created the ultimate juggling act. We have all now become Project Sponsors, invested in the outcome of each school assignment delivery and suddenly having to prove what we know through multiple methodologies.

In the spirit of driving efficiencies for future lockdowns, we take a look at the lessons learned and how we could improve our approach next time.

  • Plan, Plan, Plan… But be flexible

You might have started Home Learning with the best PMO approach for delivering everything. On the more positive days you might wake up truly believing you will help your little learners deliver their best ever work, nail the prep for your Board Meeting and complete all the domestic deliverables around the house. This may have even happened once or twice, but all it takes is for one of the cogs to be out of kilter for a fast-paced spiral of descent into chaos! One tech issue, an unexpected maths complication and a frustrated outburst later and the plan has gone awry. It is important to start the day with a clear plan to achieve what everyone is accountable for, but that plan needs to be flexible. Some days the best decision is to abandon the plan.

  • There are many ways to solve a problem

Who knew that there were multiple methodologies for working out 125 divided by 5? Suddenly we find ourselves familiar with the part-whole model, the abstract method, the pictorial method and the place value chart. Different methods for different approaches – if one way doesn’t work try another. What a great learning for us to embrace and understand that different methods can be tried at different times and there is more than one way to solve a problem.

  • Be “that” coach

We all know a great leader who has provoked our ability to search for our own answers. In any discipline (sport, life, education) a good coach doesn’t just supply the answers, they will coax the individual to find the answer for themselves. Helping with Home Learning has taught us the many different ways we can frame a question to help our children grasp the problem and develop their own understanding. You have learnt how to encourage independence and autonomy within your team. This skill is so important in the workplace and could give you the chance to be “that” coach your team remember.

  • Learn with them

We never know when we might need to know where the tributaries of a river are, or when to use a fronted adverbial, or the merits of an isosceles triange, but I bet everybody has learned something from their children’s lessons over the last few weeks! Home Learning has helped us to see the multiple learning opportunities that present themselves each day. Everybody has different interests and passions and everybody can learn from each other. Maybe, you can bring “random knowledge sharing” to team meetings and open them with an interesting new fact that somebody has learned from outside the workplace?

  • Screen-time teaches valuable digital skills

Two years ago it would have seemed alien that a five year old would be able to learn to operate video conferencing apps. Watching the children learn to use Microsoft Office, Zoom, Google Classroom and other brilliant technology apps is inspiring. The “swipe” generation will have an intrinsic understanding of office tech to set them up for the future. What we realise now is that they can also learn so much from the “fun tech” and we shouldn’t be too worried about their time spent playing Minecraft, Roblox and other games. There’s creativity, vision, collaboration even a bit of coding. As our to do lists grow and the hours in the day shrink, the previously regulated screen-time restrictions for children have inevitably become more relaxed. And that is okay. Digital skills are important.

These days aren’t easy and you might look back on this time as a manically busy blur or it might be a key punctuation mark of your working and parenting life. Either way it is important to look back at it and understand what was learned. Good luck and we are with you! If we can help with Project Delivery or Portfolio Management for your organisation then contact EstherM@NineFeetTall.com – just don’t ask us about oxbow lakes or fronted adverbials.

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