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28 Days of Mindfulness

DAY 19

Part 1: Homeschooling strategies from a mom

From business owner to full-time teacher, a physical therapist shares her tips and tricks for managing her kids’ schooling at home.

Did you ever expect to be homeschooling your kids for months? Probably not.

Like many parents, Magda Boulay, an Oakland, California-based physical therapist and STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor, now finds herself sheltering-in-place, managing her business and her new position as her two boys’ full-time teacher, likely for the remainder of the school year.

“Homeschooling has been a true challenge,” she says. “Though I consider myself to be an innate teacher, I never expected to participate in this process in this way. Trying to juggle my two boys’ French/English bilingual class assignments when I am not fluent, while also attending to my business duties, such as client appointments via virtual calls and administrative tasks, has been very tough,” she says.

Now through week four of homeschooling, Magda has figured out a few tips and tricks to create a smoother school day for her kids, aged 8 and 9, and a more productive workday for herself.

Here’s how she does it:

Start by looking on the bright side (and do simple things that make you happy)

“Try to find the positives in this difficult situation,” Magda says. For her, that means not having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. every day to sit in traffic on her commute to her practice, and not having to drop off and pick up her boys at school. “This has given me back an extra 1 ½ to 2 hours of my day,” she says. That means sleeping in!

She’s also grateful that she can now spend extra time nurturing her kids’ academic growth, supporting them where they need it. “My youngest son loves the individual attention and I see his reading and spelling improving steadily. He is very proud of his progress, and so am I.”

Make time for mindful movement as a family

“Make sure your whole family gets some sort of physical exercise every day. My family has been trying to get both mind-body exercise, mostly Pilates Matwork, as well as some other form of exercise during the day,” she says.

Magda breaks up her boys’ study time with at least two to three ‘recesses’ in the backyard every day. They like to run around, kick a soccer ball, play basketball, skateboard, or play with their other toys. They’ve also had mini competitions, like who can jump rope for the longest.

“Both boys really enjoy doing Pilates with me too. I try to keep it light and fun and they love playing and using the small props,” she says.

She recently showed them an animated video about the history of Pilates on YouTube, which got them really curious and interested in the practice. “My oldest son had several questions after the video. We had our best mama/son Pilates Matwork session after watching it the very next day. I hope someday maybe he will be a Pilates prodigy!”

Coordinate your work and their school schedules the day before

Magda plans her workday in advance, noting when she has virtual calls with clients so she can fit her work around her boys’ schooling.

“Every morning, I check the boys’ school emails and schedules right away to get an idea of when they have school classroom video calls, and what type of assignments and tasks they will need to accomplish. I write out a list of these tasks so I can check them off when they are completed.”

Take care of yourself too

“Although I do love to lounge around from time-to-time, I usually do not feel good if I let daily self-care go. After I wake up, and before the boys start their schooling, I make sure to get in my daily dose of cardiovascular exercise on my treasured elliptical machine. I drink a nice cup of coffee that my husband often makes me and I always need to take a shower, get myself dressed and ready for the day or I will feel somewhat lethargic. During the day, I try to squeeze in time to do my beloved Pilates Matwork with the kids or by myself.”

“As we all know, exercise makes us healthier and feel better, it gets the blood circulating, decreases stress and injects some fun into the day!”

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