Top Tips for Working From Home While Homeschoolingby Laura Driver
While the schools are closed, many of us are juggling working from home with educating our children. Working from home, if you haven’t done it before, is difficult enough to master without the added bonus of occupying children and the uncertainty of the length of lockdown.
Our ‘Your Baby Club’ family is facing this challenge, below are some of the things that have worked for us with homeschooling and working from home.
Some parents think they have to fill an entire school day with schoolwork and that just isn’t the case. When your children are at school, they have breaks, socialising, PE and lunchtime. You have to do whatever works for your individual family.
“They are not currently learning in the traditional sense; I am helping them maintain (at best) because I’m self-employed and need to continue to work. They are however learning what they value. They are learning to get along, possibly?!... and we’ll see how the 14-year-old gets on dismantling a fence today” says Michelle, mother of M(11), A(12) & D(14)
Create a daily or weekly routine so that everyone knows what to expect;
In our house (with older children) we have breakfast followed by, a dog walk, study, lunch, reading/quiet time, study, film, and free time
Some younger children will benefit educationally in a wider sense by baking, being outdoors and reading together than a strict schedule.
“We’re sticking to a routine as much as we can, school-work, own projects, LEGO challenges, a dog walk and Joe Wickes Monday-Friday. Oh, and they get dressed. Once we agreed that they could have the same snack times they were happy” says Alec, father to T(8) and J(11)
“I’ve found daily routine good, so get up the same time on school days and have the same bedtime too” claimed Rachel, mother of A(12).
Build up the time your child spends studying. A chunk of learning followed by some downtime, catching up with friends, playing in the garden or a walk makes it less intense.
Set small manageable goals each day for your child. Anything completed above and beyond is an achievement
Make sure your children stay in touch with their friends in whichever way works for them
· Be prepared for tired and stressed children. Some children are finding the present situation challenging, you could take a more relaxed approach to learning if this is the case.
Use technology – a lot of apps and online resources are both entertaining and educational. A list of these is below.
Keep up with the basics, read a lot, get outside as much as possible
Don’t blame yourself if they watch too much TV one day – balance it out
Some days it just won’t work out the way you planned. Be realistic and flexible.
“We have found starting the day with Joe Wickes and ending on a walk helps us all and we’ve also made lessons out of cooking, cleaning etc to teach life skills” Jo mother of E, aged 8
“David Walliams storytime where he reads his book has been ace as has Audible releasing free kids’ books” Jo, mother of E, aged 8
TedEd@Home - TED-Ed is working with expert educators and TED speakers throughout the world to create and share high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons on a daily basis, for free
Reading Eggs – An online reading program that helps children learn to read. Hundreds of online reading lessons, phonics games and books for ages 2–13
Disney+ - The streaming home of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic Disney are offering a 7-day FREE trial
CBeebies - helps pre-schoolers learn whilst they play fun games, watch clips, sing songs and make things with their favourite CBeebies characters and shows
Twinkl - The trusted home of teacher-created planning and assessment materials and teaching resources! Perfect for inside and outside the classroom
The World of David Walliams – David Walliams reads his stories daily
Audible - All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet
DuolingoABC - Learning language skills
Working from home
Can you get up early and work a few hours before the children wake up? Perhaps do some work when the children have gone to bed.
“Both the kids and I often wake early, me at 5 them at 6. At present I'm using my hour to read books, catch up on emails and drink coffee. When they wake up, we have some breakfast, some Xbox for them then we take our daily 3-mile dog walk on the nearby moor” Alec father to T(8) and J(11).
“It’s not possible to home-school three children and work full time. It’s incredibly easy to do both things badly! I manage by getting up early so starting work from 6 so I can achieve a solid three hours first thing” Michelle mother of M(11), A(12) & D(14)
Have a designated workspace that doesn’t encroach too much on everyday life. If you have a home office, even better – then you can close the door at the end of your working day.
If it’s impossible to take video/voice calls, be honest and ask that you are contacted by email unless it’s urgent. What’s the worst that could happen? A child blusters in on a call, wasn’t that the best video call of all time? Joking aside, people will understand that you are working at home with children.
If you have a co-parent who is also working from home, can you split the responsibility? Agree who will do what, when and communicate with each other when online meetings or calls are.
Can you catch up on any work over the weekend? We know it’s not ideal but at the moment every day is Groundhog Day anyway.
Be honest with your employer about the challenges you are facing. Discuss your schedule with them if it needs to change.
“My kids go to see their dad at the weekend, so I use this time to work. It means I can spend more time with them when they are here and as it doesn’t feel like the weekend anyway it works for me” Laura mother to C(14) & L(15).
This situation won’t last forever and a huge positive you can take is that this has been a unique way to spend valuable time with your children. Most of all, don’t panic, be flexible, get outside and take lots of breaks. We are all doing the best we can, and everyone’s well being is of the utmost importance.