Working remotely has been a norm for me for the past nine years. The level of discipline required is something that I crafted and molded to achieve an even balance of work and home.
While the “hard” part varies, the hardest part for me was turning off; knowing when to shut down and demonstrate presence with family and friends. But time has helped to even out the equation – I was and continue to strive for 50/50. I am not always successful, as working remotely, without a pandemic, presents its own set of challenges. Most days I am on target – with a 10% margin.
However, once COVID-19 hit close to home in New York, my work from home life had changed dramatically; my delicately crafted balance was gone. I found myself home with two children, managing K-12 remote learning while working full time.
We. Were. Busy.
I have worked in the learning and education space for 21 years. I’m no stranger to online, self-paced, traditional, and Higher Ed Learning models. In the early days of March (it seems so far away), like most parents, Sports, religion, social events accounted for most of our weeks. It was busy, but we liked it, we were used to it. It was our routine.
What Do You Do When You Suddenly Have Time?
Then on March 13, 2020 – the world took a pause and we quickly followed suit, happily. The schools were closed, non-essential businesses were closed, masses were canceled. We. Had. Time.
Time to reflect on what our next steps would be; how we would adapt to a new way of life. And surprisingly, it came easy. Easy and hard at the same time. But we rode the roller coaster, the high highs, and low lows. Without running from activity to activity, there was some time to read a book, catch up with loved ones, and re-explore our own backyard. This gave me pause; pause to reflect on the old adage – can you teach an old dog (or a hip mom who is not at all old – but loves to learn) new tricks. The answer I have found is – YES!
Mastering the Dark Arts…. of Crochet
I decided to put my knowledge of online learning to the test. Sure, it wasn’t setting up a course for the end-user or managing their learning account and access. I dove deep. I decided to see if I could teach myself a dark art – crochet. Ok so I am not Harry going off to Hogwarts – but crocheting is always something I wanted to learn. I’d admire the finished projects of friends who knew this craft. So, equipped with a ball of yarn, a 5mm crochet needle, and a computer – I scoured YouTube for crocheting tutorials for absolute beginners.
What Happens When You Focus and Avoid Cute Puppy Videos?
After watching and rewatching, practicing, and practicing – I. Was. Crocheting.
I didn’t stop either – I used the entire ball of yarn and made my first creation – a hat. I’m not quite sure how I managed to create a hat, I hadn’t followed a pattern. I just used the skills I learned from watching the videos.
The fascinating part of learning from YouTube Tutorials is how the Subject Matter Expert (SME) breaks down the details for the learner. They SME adapts to how the learner learns; explaining how each stitch is completed and building upon the chain stitch; the foundation of your piece; the backbone of your craft. From that one little stitch, the world is your oyster – you can make anything you put your mind to.
What strategies have you employed for learning during this time? What new skills have you learned? We are all in this together, and I believe that together WeLearn.