Working from home, especially if you are not used to it, can be challenging at the best of times. Add in having to home-school your children and it is a whole other ball game. I think we will all want to look back on this time with fondness, so here are my top 6 tips to not be overwhelmed!
Clarify your expectations
How much schooling is your child’s school expecting you to do? How much work is your employer expecting you to do? But clarify other expectations too. What are you expecting of yourself? What are you assuming is expected from you by other family members? What is your child expecting? Once these are clear, you have a place to start from.
Set your goals
For now, your only goal might be to survive without major arguments, and I get that. And some days just getting to the end of the day is going to be enough. But what’s your big picture? My goal is that we enjoy this time together while keeping my business ticking over. I’d love my daughter to reflect on this time as something really cool that we did and that she enjoyed.
What are your realistic hours outside of school time?
You may decide to do 9-3 schooling. You may have hours set by the school for online study. Once you know those, calculate a reasonable amount of time that you are going to be able to work. It may be that you get up early or stay up late. (Please, please don’t do both. You don’t need to burn out here. Think of this as a marathon, not a sprint.)
What can you get done during school hours?
This is very much going to depend on the age of your child, their capabilities and the type of work your school is putting out. I normally don’t really advocate taking half an hour here and half an hour there, but if this is what you have, decided how you can use it to best effect. What tasks do you have that would easily fit in half hour windows (or whatever you have)? How can you match up what you have to do with the time available?
Make the most of your resources
There are far, far, far too many resources to list here (and frankly there are about a million places where you can find lots), but a couple I have been using are:
Joe Wicks PE. We watch on catch up due to the time differences, but on at 0900 UK time on his YouTube channel.
Steve Backshall nature/geography/conservation. My daughter loved his Q&A session the other day. Look out for more!
The Ballet Coach. We watched on catch up via Facebook.
https://www.educompendium.com – printable workbooks for Maths, English and Science up to year 2.
But really, I don’t mean these kind of resources. These are great and I’m sure your schools are sending out lots. But what about the other resources you have? What about other people? If your child has another parent, make sure you are using them to full affect. The burden of home-schooling is likely to fall more upon one parent, but that doesn’t mean the other one can’t be helping. Even if they don’t live in the same house, video calls and phone calls can help. Even if it is just reading a story. Rope in grandparents (who are missing their grandkids), aunts, uncles, friends. Perhaps you could take it in turns reading a story, doing a maths lesson, running PE. Just because we are physically distanced doesn’t mean we can’t still rely on others where possible.
Allow room for things to go wrong.
Yes, I do mean room in your timetable. There will be technical glitches, the internet disappearing, paint spilled over your dining table. Allow the time for things to happen. But more importantly allow yourself that headspace that things will go wrong. Nothing is going to run perfectly and I’m sure our best and funniest stories will be about where they don’t go right! Be compassionate with your family and with yourself. We’ll get through this together. It will all be alright.