For the past weeks and months, as we all struggle with the fallout of COVID-19, many parents have been facing an additional set of struggles at home. When your kid’s school responsibilities and your own professional commitments collide, whose needs take priority? You have deadlines, your spouse has clients, and your kids each have teachers with their own rotating list of assignments and classes. Getting each of those needs met—let alone in the right order—can feel like nothing short of impossible. With a little creativity, however, and a lot of understanding, homeschooling while working from home can also be a pleasant opportunity to bond and make special memories together.
As parents, here are some of the strategies we use to balance working from home and homeschooling:
The Flexible Schedule is Your Friend
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to recreate the traditional 9-3 school day at your homeschool. If you have to work for the first six hours of the day after breakfast and leave the kids to their own devices until then—that’s okay. Set them to creative or constructive tasks like cleaning up, playing with puzzles or blocks, and banish any guilt you may have over not leading organized classes for hours every day. Being at home can be hard, but you have control over your schedule, and if you need to adjust it based on your needs… you can.
Get Active As A Family
Taking time in the middle of the day to get in a workout sounds almost impossible with everything that’s going on, right? Not so! Taking a break to get active with your kids is actually a great way to work off some extra energy—meaning the kids will better behave for the rest of the day—and lets you take a break from your work at a regular time as well. Have a dance party for 15 minutes in the living room, do some jumping jacks, or play a game of hallway soccer. You’ll feel better afterwards, and so will your kids, plus it’ll be something you can look back on fondly as time well spent.
Encourage Autonomy with the Fun Bucket
One of the best ways to buy time for you to work without having the house descend into chaos is to offer your children autonomy to make reasonable choices with their time. (So, not just screen time.) If they’ve finished their schoolwork, or run out of interest in Legos, their default may be to come bother you or a sibling. Derail this behavior by making a “fun bucket” full of slips of paper with activities listed on them, preferably ones they can do alone. Make it clear to the kids that when they’re out of things to do, the Fun Bucket should be their first stop—not Mom or Dad.
Set (And Enforce) Clear boundaries
Sometimes, you have a work meeting or a project that just can’t be put off. Now is the time to teach your child to respect your boundaries by going in the other room (even if that’s the laundry room), putting up a Do Not Disturb sign, and getting to work. If your child is old enough, you can have a gentle conversation with them explaining why you need to step away for a few hours and asking for their “help” with that by leaving you alone. For particularly needy children, implement a note system. If they have a problem, they can write it down on a piece of paper and slip it under the door or put it in a bucket outside the door, where you can address it when you take a break.
Trying to meet both personal and professional responsibilities during a global pandemic is a huge challenge—and it’s important to remember that. Working parents are juggling homeschooling responsibilities across the nation, trying to play two roles at once, and you are certainly not alone in this struggle. If all this downtime has you planning your next school year, looking up daycares, or even planning your next move to a house with a home office, you’re not alone. Contact us today to learn more about homes in the Round Rock and Austin areas.