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March 19, 2021

[Ep. 203] I'm Bad: 6 Unique Ways to Make Virtual School Work for You

Feeling the Strain of Virtual School

I just want to be real with y'all for a minute about virtual school. I'm tired of it because I come up with all the different types of ways to make this thing work, and it's always a struggle. It's like the finish line just keeps getting moved every time I think I'm getting close. 

I'm also realizing that the reason why I'm tired of virtual school per se is really I'm just not doing as much self-care as I possibly could because we're in lockdown, and I'm with the boys all the time. And the kids keep saying they need more quality time, and I'm like, but we are together ALL the time. Do you feel me on this? Give me an amen. 

But we need to get into a space to breathe, just sit and feel that tiredness and take a minute. And in a little while, you can like, all right—time to get up and get back to work. I've had my moment. But for now, I'm feeling the strain of virtual school. Because it isn't all about me and the stress it put me under directly, it's the stress it puts our kids under as well.

Setting Boundaries

I don't know about your kids, but mine get frequent breaks. If yours don't look into that because they should. They need breaks to decompress and re-engage. But I'm tired of arguing with my son every time he has to come back after his 5-minute break. Alexa goes off and tells him it's time to go back to class. He's like, "OK, but Mama, I didn't have enough minutes. It wasn't that long." Dude, I need you to go back to class?!

Then there are absences. He had 11 absences. But then I found out they counted each class missed as an absence, and I was like, hello, y'all need to go by the entire day, not just one class. So basically, I learned that you have to communicate, right? They miss a class, let them know they missed a class, why they miss class so it could be excused.

Set boundaries with the teacher, too. Teacher-student interaction, OK? Do you feel like the teacher is interacting with your child appropriately? Are they paying attention to them? Are they ignoring them? Those types of things? I would advise keeping notes about that because even without Covid, people are going to be people. So if they're doing it, doing a virtual class when they know you're around, what would they be doing in the classroom?

Helping Your Child

Depending on your child's special ability, we have to check in with ourselves about are we supporting our children or are we doing it for them? Being at home and around them all the time while they're doing their work, we might tend to do things for them because it is easier or faster, but we need to check in with that and see it's really taking away some of that independence they've learned while at in-person school. Make sure you're not helping your child TOO much. 

Watch your child and how they learn. I thought my son Zavier wasn't paying attention, so I asked him. I discovered that just because he wasn't looking intently at what was going didn't mean he wasn't aware. He knew exactly what was happening. That's important because when he goes back to school and maybe has a new teacher who thinks he is slacking off and not paying attention, I know otherwise. We had a situation get sideways because of a social worker not knowing who Zavier is as a person. You got to remember to take notes, write all these things down that aren't quite right. Always keep a record. 

You also got to make sure they are still getting access to the services they would be getting at in-person school. Be careful of compensatory education. In theory, it's great. But you have some that will try to find ways around it. My concern is that states utilizing that as an excuse not to provide the services that your child is entitled to. So again, write it down and be an advocate for your child and their needs. 

Know your individual education plan goals. Know what they are so you can work on them at home and so you can make sure the teachers, social workers, and administrators are working on hitting them at school. The virtual school puts more of a strain on making sure things don't fall through the cracks, so know your IEP and stay on it. 


In this episode of The Parenting Cipher, Genie reflects on and reframes what she has learned during virtual school in 2020. If you’re finding yourself tired of virtual school (you’re not alone!), this is the episode to refresh you and equip you with new strategies moving forward with your child’s education, including areas such as motivation, IEP goals, social workers, and compensatory education. Genie shares six great tips, with her stories along the way, of how you can best approach and actually take advantage of virtual learning in this episode of The Parenting Cipher

Genie Dawkins

Host of The Parenting Cipher, Genie Dawkins is a single mother of four and has over 25 years of being a parent advocate of special needs children. In addition to obtaining her Certification in Integrative Health Coaching, Lateefa holds an M.S. in Non-Profit Management and a B.S. in Social Sciences. Genie is the best-selling author of two books “Not My Child: Navigating Your Child’s Learning Difficulties with IEP’s and Education Resources” and a recent release “The Joyful Family Planner”. As an educational advocacy specialist, her mission is to help parents achieve a balanced life and overcome inevitable challenges both at school and home in a way that empowers parents and children.

Insight from this episode:

  • Tips for interacting with teachers, administration, and social workers, even when you disagree. 

  • Details on fostering independence in your child when it sometimes seems easier to do things for them ourselves. 

  • Questions to ask yourself, like: Is your state and school providing all the services that your child is entitled to even in virtual learning? 

  • Strategies for setting and working towards SMART goals for your child, your family, and yourself. 


Resources Mentioned:

The Joyful Family Planner

Genie’s How to Implement IEPs Remotely Presentation  

Stay Connected:

Genie Dawkins

Website: Genie Dawkins

Twitter: @genie49317

Facebook: Genie Dawkins

Instagram: @geniedawkins

LinkedIn: Genie Dawkins


If you’d like to hear Genie’s  favorite song I'm Bad by L.L. Cool J for episode I’m Bad: 6 Unique Ways to Make Virtual School Work for You click on the playlist below

(playlist picture w/hyperliknk)



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I’m bad ways to make virtual school work for you

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