I have a lot of respect to those that are homeschooling their children. I used to secretly wish I had the patience and knowledge to homeschool my own children. I also used to think there is no way I would be brave enough to try it.
For the past seven years, I have been running my own business out of my home. Working from home has many advantages and a few disadvantages too. It’s something that I am grateful I can do whilst raising my three kids.
I never thought I would ever have to do both at the same time. But here we are in a world pandemic and everyone is in the same boat trying to do homeschooling while working from home or either or at home.
While not everyone is in the same situation we all have had to put a few extra hats on than we normally wear. It’s a lot of pressure and guilt that comes with wearing so many hats too.
So I thought I would share how to survive homeschool while working from home and a bunch of resources we used to help us along the way. I think after 13 weeks of it, we got it down to what works for us and a few tips to not overwhelm you.
10 WAYS TO SURVIVE HOMESCHOOLING WHILE WORKING AT HOME:
Plan reasonable days
Plan fun learning
Plan independent work
Plan work hours and school hours to work together
Plan family time (100% undivided attention for them and you)
Plan meal times and snack times
Plan family exercise
Plan for “me time”
Plan for it to all go wrong
Don’t plan at all.
1. Plan Reasonable Days:
If you have a very hands on job where you can’t sit with the kids while they do their homeschool next to you, you need to plan your days more spread out. Have some school time then independent time while you work. We have a baby to plan around with naps and feeding times as well as my work and their school needs.
So we do a few hours in the morning then break so I can work then school then lunch and break (more work) then school while baby naps for hands on help for work they can’t sit and do independently. This works because I can stop and start my work in between.
But if you can’t, possibly try doing a bit of early morning school and a little afternoon school so you can work during the day.
Reasonable means don’t overwhelm yourself or your children. I am a firm believer in every little bit (no matter how small) counts.
2. Plan Fun Learning:
Kids find it easier to retain information and their concentration if you can make it fun. I am not crafty so I don’t mean you have to all the sudden be Martha Stewart while trying to work.
Simple things like making a tent for them to read in, might get them to sit and read longer. Perhaps finding online videos to explain what they are learning might help them understand while you can do a few emails. We use lots of tutorials on YouTube like “Let’s Go Live” (free) and other online videos resources like Twinkl (paid subscription £9.99 for month of unlimited resources) that are so helpful to teach them so you can free up some work time too. These resources enable me to work along side them. The kids think it’s brilliant too because they are more creative and fun than Mommy Teacher!
Craft subscription boxes like toucanBox, (paid subscription, discount code on link) keep the craft projects and learning coming through the post too. There are a handful of Facebook pages that are sharing projects throughout the day that are using items around the house like Fruit Shoot Facebook Page called “CraftOClock” (free). So there is a lot of fun learning if you need ideas that can really help you get other things done while you are homeschooling your children.
3. Plan Independent Work:
This is the time of day where I know baby is sleeping and I can do as much work as possible while the kids sign into some work online, zoom classes if they have them, reading books, quiet coloring or crafts depending on the age. But something you know they like and can sit quietly so you can get your core work done.
It’s so important to be able to work independently for them as much as it is for you. Even a thirty minute break watching tv. Remember don’t overwhelm you or them with too much work without breaks. Many of the above links in fun learning can be great for independent time. Times Table Rock Star, Emile, Discovery Education, Twinkl, Numbots, Reading Eggs, and more, also offer loads of learning independently online. Some schools have log in details for these so they are free.
4. Plan Work Hours and School Hours:
You got to do what suits you. Not everyone else. Kids learn and concentrate most in mornings. If you have to work certain hours and can’t do homeschooling at the same time try doing a bit of school before and after work. No one says you can’t teach math before breakfast or read after dinner.
I know so many feeling overwhelmed because they are trying to do a normal school day and a normal work day at the same time. Remember tip one plan reasonable days.
Choose which hours you can do one or the other or which hours you could possibly merge both like independent work and emails.
5. Plan Undivided Family Time:
It’s unknown times right now. No one knows what will be the new norm. The kids could be just as anxious as you or worse right now. So many things have changed so quickly for us all.
Make sure that you have a little time each day that’s just for you and them. No technology, no work, or no school.
We like baking. We like family games. We like coloring or doing a big puzzle together. These have been my favorite times together during lockdown.
6. Plan Meals and Snack Times:
I am sure most of you the first week of lockdown heard, “can I have a snack?” a million times. I started thinking they don’t get snacks all day long at school so surely they don’t need to eat me out of house and home everyday either. So I implemented “snack time” just like they have at school. It also helped them not to get distracted during the day when it wasn’t snack time and trying to use it as an excuse to not finish their work.
Planning meals and times helped too. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same each day gave us routine that the kids really needed. It also helped me knowing what to cook for each meal for the whole week, having it all planned out. Some days I was so busy, I was grateful to have a list to follow.
7. Plan Family Exercise:
Are you having mom/dad guilt because everyone is sitting so much. Think about it though they sit at school all day. So don’t feel guilty. I have mini breaks morning and afternoon for them to run around the garden and get fresh air, rain or shine. It’s the same they would get at school.
Each night, right after dinner we do a family walk or family bike ride. If the weather is really bad we do Joe Wicks workout together. It makes us laugh as much as gets us moving. It can be the same as family attention above. Two birds – one stone!
8. Plan for “ME” time:
You might think, I haven’t seen family or friends in so long you don’t want me time. But if your caring for kids, teaching kids, working, taking care of the run of the household, it’s a lot for you to do.
Once a week, I take a bath with a bath bomb, good book, sometimes a glass of bubbly and light candles after the kids go to bed.
I also make sure I am not working till all hours of the night like I used to. Just before bed I lie on the floor and doing deep breathing. This is great if your a night owl. If your a morning person try it before you start your busy day. It’s just ME time to relax, give my body some much needed downtime. Sounds silly but the amount of patience I have verses when I don’t do it is huge.
9. Plan For it to All go Wrong:
You don’t have to plan everyday, all day and stuck to it so routinely that it stresses you out. Things come up. Things go wrong. Some days are easier than others and some days are far harder.
Plan for it to all go wrong when you might not have had as much sleep. Or stressed with work issues. Maybe the kids are having an off day. Don’t worry, just regroup the next day. When you feel like you are getting frustrated really easy with their work and them, take a day off.
10. Don’t Plan at All:
If planning all the above is what overwhelms or stresses you out the most, then don’t do it. Instead take each day like a checklist. My friend makes a list of all the homeschool and work she needs to accomplish in a day and just seeings how they get on working through it. Others I know do a little bit after they get off work. For me, I can work alongside my kids so we have a more normal school 9-3 hours with breaks and lunches.
Don’t ever feel guilty that others are doing more than you. Or if you have to work more and therefore homeschool less. They will catch up. Everyone will be in similar boats in other areas when we return to school and work.
I have always found routines and planning things help me not be overwhelming or stressed. I also noticed the kids are more comfortable and work better with routines too. They know when they will eat or have a snack or need to do their reading and math assignments. We have found a smooth routine after a few trials and errors.
Try a few different ways and you will find what works for you and your family. But don’t have guilt about any of it. Don’t have worries, teachers will catch them up. Their will be support when we return.
Every child is experiencing something different than the normal even if they are doing tons of homeschooling. Some will need more academic help and others will need more emotional support.