Since last year (2020), several families have had to adapt to a routine where both parents and children go about their home responsibilities. Parents have been working remotely, and children have been taking their classes online from home.
While this is a temporary pandemic-driven requirement for many families, it can also turn into a permanent fixture if you decide to work remotely and home school your child.
Working from home and then also supervising your homeschooling children can be difficult. Nonetheless, you can take some steps to help you and your child make this tricky situation work.
This post will share 12 top tips for working from home and homeschooling for all those families still getting used to this different routine.
1. Start the Day Early
Working from home can take more than your regular shift hours. On top of that, if you are a homeschooling mum, things can see more delays and interruptions. Therefore, you need to make the most of daytime hours, which is only possible if you start your day early. While it is tempting to stay in bed in pyjamas when operating from home, this procrastinated approach can mess up your routine in the long run.
2. Have To-Do Lists, Chore Charts, Reminder Lists
You and your child can’t keep track of every task through verbal reminders. You need to jot down everything you and your kid are supposed to work on the day. To-do lists, schedulers, chore charts, and other similar accessories can come in quite handy in doing that.
3. Plan the Day in Short Segments
While filling those chore charts and to-do lists, make sure you don’t have hours’ long single sessions. Try to break down your day in as short chunks as possible. This segmentation turns an overwhelming day into a more manageable list of things to do.
4. Schedule Activities that the Child Can Take Care of Themselves
When working from home, you can’t supervise/guide/teach your children the whole time. To get around this limitation, you need to include things in your child’s routine where they can easily engage and learn things without needing your continuous participation.
Documentaries, video tutorials, interactive books, etc., can help you set those self-taught sessions for your child.
5. Creatively Manage the Work Space
Many families don’t have enough space where parents and children can have their separate workstations. If you also face the same constraint, you need to get creative in managing the workspace for yourself and your homeschooling child. For instance, if you share the same desk, use a desk divider, in-trays, and folders to keep things tidy and easy to work on.
Moreover, you and your child can change spots throughout the day to have your work and school activities without interrupting each other. For instance, the child can have their self-learning activity or read in the lounge. Similarly, you can attend your online meetings and calls from any quiet corner of the house.
6. Insert Small Breaks Here and There
Instead of having a long lunch break, have a short mid-day break and multiple shorter breaks here and there. Make sure that you don’t talk about work or school in those short breaks. These short breaks act like catnaps where you manage to recuperate your energy very quickly.
7. Teach Children How to Communicate During Your Work Hours/Sessions
You need to work out “how to communicate during school and work” details with your child because you don’t want to derail your work focus and flow by constant and often unnecessary intrusions from your child. Persuasively give the following instructions to the children to communicate during work-homeschooling hours.
- Please make a list of questions they need to ask (to be later) instead of coming to your work desk with every single query.
- Slip you a note and tell you what they want if you are on a call instead of walking right in front of your laptop/desktop while talking out loud.
- List down the emergencies for them on a board/sticky note where they can directly reach out to you.
8. Share the Responsibility
Taking care of homeschooling while working from home can be difficult for one. If you have a spouse, make sure they share the responsibilities of homeschooling with you, even if they are working full-time from the office. You can also opt for tutors for subjects you think are difficult to teach to reduce your homeschooling load.
9. Anticipate Interruptions
No matter what, when everyone is working from home, interruptions and delays are inevitable. It will help if you keep reminding yourself of this shortcoming of the Work-from-Home and homeschooling combo. This continuous reminding will help you stay away from unnecessary stress and sulking.
10. Identify the Optimal Hours for Work and Homeschooling
In the first few weeks, try to identify when you and your child are at your best for their respective tasks. By finding those windows, you can mould your schedules to ensure both of you make the most of your optimal working hours.
11. Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself or Children
It is natural to occasionally feel stressed when working from home and homeschooling your kid. However, don’t persist with stress that often mutates into anger and frustration. This usually happens when you are too hard on yourself and your children with the work. Keep in mind that nothing is more important than the physical and mental wellbeing of you and your child.
12. Have Cut-Off Time
One way to be not hard on yourself and your kid is to have a cut-off time for the day. A plan in advance ensures that you won’t spill your work or homeschooling activities after a certain point in the day (e.g. 7:00 PM). This will help you to remain diligent and active throughout the day. Having this cut-off will also help you achieve a better work-life balance.
For any guidance or teaching resources for your homeschooling activity, feel free to contact the Home Education Shop. We provide digital information and resources for parents or guardians who are either home educators or are thinking of educating their children at home.