Working from home can be challenging enough in itself, so adding homeschooling to the mix is sure to overwhelm any parent. This is, for most families, a new challenge they have never faced before. Check out some of these tips to see if they can help your family juggle both working and teaching from home while staying productive—and still having fun!
1. Set a Schedule
The first thing you’ll want to do is set up designated homeschool hours and work hours. Preferably, form your work schedule around the schooling schedule if your job allows. To maximize everyone’s time and efforts, try to identify what time of day is best for your children’s learning habits. Do your children learn and pay attention better in the morning or afternoon?
Try to maintain the same routine as much as possible. This way, your kids will know when it’s time for work and when it’s time for play, making them less likely to make a fuss when it’s time to learn.
You should also set times for P.E. and outdoor activities to keep your kids physically active—and keep them from going stir-crazy. If they are old enough to be left outside alone, this could be an ideal time to get some work done.
To add some structure and timeliness to the mix, try using a timer or stopwatch. This draws clear boundaries for the kids to know when it’s time to hunker down and finish their work. Give your kids a set amount of time to complete a project or school activity, with the encouragement of a reward, game, or new and exciting task after the timer stops. These timed learning sessions should provide you some uninterrupted time to get your own work done.
2. Make Your Work Hours Clear
Sometimes kids, especially younger ones, will need an obvious indicator that it’s time for their parents to have some uninterrupted work time. The best way to guarantee your work hours are uninterrupted is to make sure your kids have something time and attention consuming to do while you work. This could be chores, outdoor time, games, or anything else your child enjoys doing that doesn’t require your help or attention.
You can even get fun with it and have a visual indicator that it’s “work time.” A silly hat that you only wear when you’re working, or even separate “teaching outfits” and “working outfits” may not be completely necessary, but they’ll probably get a smile and a laugh out of your family—not to mention it’s an excuse to get out of your PJs!
Remember: In exchange for your kids giving you uninterrupted work time, you need to give them complete focus and attention when you’re not working!
3. Work on Time Management
Organization is one major aspect of time management. There are a number of organization tools out there to help you set your schedules and stick to them. Work/school calendars, chore charts, and daily to-do lists are excellent examples of ways to make sure you are accomplishing all your work and homeschooling tasks each day.
Another aspect of time management to consider is avoiding distractions. A good way to defer distractions during school hours is to set your kids up with an “ask me later” book—a spiral or notebook that can be used to write down any questions your students may have during teaching sessions. These questions will be held until the end of the session, where you can answer them without getting sidetracked during a lesson.
It may also be beneficial to keep craft materials, games, and toys easily accessible for those unexpected moments where you need to entertain your kids in order to get some extra work done outside of your designated working hours.
An additional time-saving idea is to teach your kids to help themselves. If your kids are old enough to make themselves a snack or start on a chore without your guidance, urge them to do so. You’ll be surprised how much extra free time you may collect when your kids are completing those small tasks for you.
4. Create a Positive and Calming Environment
It’s important to keep yourself and your family positive and calm during these challenging times. There are several things to be aware of when you’re trying to juggle all these responsibilities while stuck in the house.
While it’s important to make sure your work and your kids’ schoolwork are getting done, it’s also important to have fun and avoid stress. You may need to get creative so you can make your teaching and working sessions more like an entertaining task and less like a chore. Try embracing a more relaxed homeschooling style: you can work through your to-do list as productively as possible, but if you don’t finish all your tasks, just add it to the next day’s to-do list and don’t stress about it!
Working from home can be frustrating because it can be hard to find and maintain structure in your daily routine. A huge way to improve this struggle is by waking up an hour before your kids to complete your morning routine and get dressed and ready for the day. Even just changing out of your pajamas can have a huge effect on your mentality and productivity.
Trying to juggle homeschooling and working from home is a complex challenge that is stressing out parents everywhere. When you’re struggling to accomplish both, just remember these tips and remember you’re not alone.
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Rachel has a BA in Psychology from Texas State University and has been a resident of Waco for 24 years. She has a background in writing human resources-related blogs and articles. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading and exploring what Waco and the surrounding areas have to offer.