It seems like the world of work has changed in a month.
It’s safe to say that this period, with COVID19 floating in the air and most of the workforce either furloughed or working from home, is universally challenging.
But especially for parents. Those brave individuals raising children are increasingly being thrust into the chaos of trying to balance their remote work responsibilities with caring for and homeschooling their children.
Most governments around the world have shuttered their educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, impacting over 89% of the world’s student population — and all of their parents.
This sudden transition to homeschooling is daunting for anyone, but especially working parents. The good news is that there are some established best practices for successfully balancing work and homeschooling.Homeschooling isn’t a full-time job
1. Homeschooling isn’t a full-time job
The traditional 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day doesn’t apply to the homeschool model, which might provide some comfort since at least your kids can sleep in a bit. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, if you can get in about three hours of solid teaching every weekday, that’s more than enough
2. Transforming home into office and school
To maximize productivity, your remote work environment must be clearly defined. Both you and your children will need to arrange separate spaces. If possible, try to reconfigure your home so that you have the separation you need to work, while the kids have their designated space to learn.
3. Set your schedules
Once everyone has their own space, you’ll want to work out a schedule so that everyone in your family is working off the same playbook. Maintaining some kind of structure this way will make it easier for your kids to adjust to being homeschooled – and for you to get some work done. However, homeschooling isn’t a traditional school as we know it. To make this homeschooling-combined-with-WFH experience go more smoothly, include daily household chores, family meals, and family projects in your schedule.
4. Online resources are amazing, but…
The good news is that parents who need to homeschool have access to an amazing variety of online tools. Top homeschooling resources include National Geographic Kids, BrainPop, Fun Brain, How Stuff Works, TEDed, and Khan Academy.
Keep in mind that there’s an almost overwhelming amount of resources for online learning. The trick is to start small and build the kind of virtual school that works best for your kids.
5. Allow your kids to explore their interests.
Are your kids constantly asking you about music? Cooking? Dancing? Since the goal of homeschooling isn’t to recreate a real school, but rather to help teach children what they need to learn in order to grow, you can turn this difficult period into an opportunity to help your kids pursue their passions.
Set aside a few hours each week to enable your kids to entertain interests they’ve always spoken to you about, but now have the time to explore. Kids who are happily engaged in this way are more likely to give their parents the quiet time they need to work productively.
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6. Give yourself and your kids a break.
Most parents in the traditional school system are wholly unprepared to homeschool their children, adding extra stress to a difficult time. To get through the day, it’s totally fine to screen a movie, play a video game, go for a walk, or any other fun activity you can think of.
There’s a lot of pressure on parents to get homeschooling “right,” but it’s unrealistic for working parents to shoulder the dual burdens of educating their children and the responsibilities of their jobs. This is a journey with no map! Just try your best.
Balancing homeschooling and work? It takes a village.
Shifting to homeschooling mode is overwhelming. It feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to care for your children, educate them, and keep up with your workload. Just remember that you’re not alone. These helpful hints are a good start. But swapping experiences and ideas with other parents is a powerfully effective way to build on these tips.Working from home during a quarantine can be massively frustrating, but it can also bring your family together in ways you never would have expected. This is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime period—so, if you’re healthy, try your best to enjoy it!