How to Work From Home and Homeschool Your Kids Without Completely Losing It
If the coronavirus has you working from home while homeschooling your kids, you may be wondering how you can actually get both of these things done between sunup and sundown. As someone who has been balancing the two since before the pandemic hit, I guarantee that you can do this. It is not a cakewalk, but it is possible if you work smart. If working from home is brand new to you or you have never been fully responsible for your kids' academic pursuits, first, give yourself some time to adjust and learn. Here are some tips to help you get it all done while sheltering in place.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Write a schedule out that includes uninterrupted work time for you, teaching time where you work directly with your kids, and time for your kids to independently complete assignments. Include mealtimes, family fun times, and play time as well. Post the schedule where your family can refer to it, and stick to it. Children will adjust quickly to a predictable schedule, making it easier for everyone.
Wake Up Before Your Kids
Set an alarm and push yourself to wake up early. Whether you get an hour of work done before the house is busy with children running around and talking constantly or you just use the morning to shower in peace and enjoy your coffee, you will be glad you did. Starting your day off well motivates you to get things done throughout the rest of the day.
Taking advantage of naptime for younger kids or right after bedtime is also a sure way to get some work done. It does mean you need to be strict about bedtime though!
Write a To-Do List the Night Before
Before you go to bed each night, write down your goals for the following day. Include academic plans for your kids and what you need to do for work. I like to write them in roughly the order I need to complete them, in two separate columns. Having a plan helps you get started right away the next day without wasting time trying to think about what you need to do.
Work Shifts With Your Partner
Tag team it if you have two adults in the home. Set up times for one parent to teach the kids while the other works from home or completes housework. Switch as needed so that both parents can get their work done while the kids are busy with the other.
Teach Your Kids the Skill of Independent Play
Don't make the mistake of thinking you need to constantly interact with your kids. Not only are children capable of playing alone, but it is a beneficial skill. Even a preschooler can be expected to play alone for 45 minutes at a time, if they have engaging toys. If your child struggles with this, start with short time intervals and use a visual timer. Mix up their toys and provide special puzzles and games that only come out at this time.
Make Sure You Don't Do More School Work Than the Kids
If you have never taught before, it can be easy to spend way too much time teaching while not giving your kids enough to actually do. Aim for short lessons, and two or three times as much time dedicated for your children to complete tasks. Instead of requiring them to read a certain number of pages, choose a quantity of time, like 20 to 30 minutes. For math problems, have your kids roll dice to create their own problems that they can work on for a set time, instead of having to write them all out yourself.
Be Fully Present When You Spend Time With Your Kids
One of the hardest parts of working from home while homeschooling is having to set limits on when you can give your children your attention, and when they have to wait for it. It is a lot easier on them if you give them your full presence whenever you can. Put your phone away and don't check your work email while you are playing with them or teaching them. Then when you have to turn your focus to your work, you have already filled their cup and they will be a lot more understanding and patient.