Schools are closed and your office has asked you to work remotely. On the surface this sounds great, but the reality is that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Luckily, there are other moms who have managed to expertly navigate this situation and they have great tips to share with the rest of us who are struggling. Read below to see their best tips to work from home while homeschooling.
How to Work from Home and Homeschool at the Same Time
As if moms didn’t have enough to do already?
Now the entire world is shutting down and we are being asked to take on even more responsibilities.
Even though this may seem like an impossible task, I promise that there are ways to make it work.
In order to make this list as helpful as possible I reached out to some of my work-from-home mom friends who have been homeschooling for years and asked them to share their best advice.
Here is what they offered:
1) Get approval to work a flexible schedule
This is step number one because it will lay the foundation to make the impossible possible.
Reach out to your employer’s human resources department and/or supervisor and share that you are very happy to still be employed and to have the opportunity to support their business during these challenging times, while working from home.
Explain to them that your child’s school is closed and you will be responsible for their learning during this time.
Your next step is to request a flexible work week. This means that you will still work the full number of hours that are required of your position, but you may do them outside of the traditional 9 to 5 schedule.
Ensure your employer that you are able to work early in the morning, late at night or even on the weekends to meet deadlines and expectations while also caring for your children at home.
Whether or not you are approved for a flexible work schedule, you will need to prioritize.
This includes deciding what the most important activities and tasks are for your family as well as your job.
Sit down and make a list. Clarify which tasks must absolutely get done each day and which of them can be done when time allows.
Prioritizing will help you to be the most efficient and effective employee and homeschooling parent you can be.
3)Homeschool during non-traditional hours
Much like the flexible work schedule mentioned above, there is no rule that homeschool needs to take place between the hours of 8am to 2pm.
Get creative and create a schedule that works for your family. This may include catching up on homeschool activities in the evenings or weekends.
If your kids are old enough, allow them to help you create a daily schedule and encourage them to fill it with activities that will keep them busy and occupied during the times you are unavailable to them.
4) Set realistic expectations
As an elementary school teacher, this is an area that I can speak to as an expert.
Expecting that your children will be fully engaged in educational activities for 6 or more hours a day, like they are during a traditional school day is unrealistic and unnecessary.
During a homeschool situation you are often working with your student somewhere between a 1:1 and 1:4 student teacher ratio depending on how many children you have, which means they get a lot more learning done in a lot less time.
Primary grade students can usually make progress with 1-2 hours a day of homeschool, while middle school and high school students succeed with 3-4 hours a day.
When you let go of the pressure to work 8 hours a day and teach 6 hours a day you realize that you really can fit in what you need.
5) Use incentives
Another teacher mom trick to keep kids on task during their day is to offer incentives.
Things like sticker charts, score cards and prize boxes can make life so much easier.
Decide what you need your child to do:
- Work quietly while you are on a conference call.
- Do P.E.outside for an hour while you finish up a project
- Access online learning programs while you video chat with your supervisor
Each time they follow through reward their behavior and they will be happy to help you get your work done by doing their part.
6) Use the Pomodoro Technique
Ok, I know what you are thinking: “But I can’t get anything done! My kids are constantly interrupting me!”
In that case, I recommend using the Pomodoro Method to help make sure that your kids are frequently getting attention from you and know that if you are busy, you will be available to them soon.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that helps you break the work day down into intervals and is said to increase productivity.
The strategy works by using a timer and consistently taking short 5 minute breaks after working for 25 minutes.
7) Expect Interruptions
While the Pomodoro Method will help you and your children prevent constant interruptions, you need to know that they will still happen.
Instead of getting frustrated and yelling, just realize that this is part of the current situation.
While not ideal, it’s going to happen and if you are mentally prepared you will be able to calmly reply or address your child’s needs (or politely remind them for the 20th time that you will be available in 20 minutes)
8) Tag-Team with a Spouse or Friend
You know what they say: Teamwork makes the dream work!
This is especially true when it comes to trying to work from home and homeschool kids at the same time.
Many moms I spoke to explained how they trade off hours and responsibilities with their spouses or even friends.
Many hands make light work, and this is a situation that is made much easier when all hands are on deck!
9) Hire help
Since businesses and schools are closed, there are many people out of work who are highly qualified to work with children.
Reach out to friends and neighbors to see if they know of a classroom aide, private school teacher or college student who is in need of work.
Find what works best for your family
Ultimately, you need to just do what works best for you and your family. Now is not the time to add more stress or tension on top of an already difficult situation.
Take a deep breath and do the best that you can.
There you have it mama! The best advice you can find on how to successfully work from home and homeschool at the same time.
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