Working From Home and Homeschooling Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Leigh Klekar • Posted on March 25, 2020
With schools and daycares shutting down for COVID-19, a lot of parents are finding themselves with the responsibility to “homeschool” their children while working from home. I have had the privilege to work from home for the last 10 years, which has been a balancing act and one that changes frequently while my kids go through different phases. But this new COVID -19 stay at home schedule has an all new meaning to working from home! Like most of the world for the next few weeks, my husband and I are both working from home and our three children are distance learning from home.
Taking on the responsibility of leading our children’s education and working is new for most parents and could drive the sanest insane. Remember, we are all in this together and there are great online resources to help guide us through this time.
Try to keep to a routine
It’s only been a couple weeks into the new schedule, but our family has already learned an important lesson – do not sway from the schedule too much. Keeping a similar school schedule helps kids feel more at ease and provides them structure and stability. It’s important during these uncertain times, that we provide young ones with a sense of calmness and reassurance as best we can.
Our family has taken a few of the popular COVID-19 schedules that have been circulating the internet and adapted them to fit our family’s needs:
- Wake up at the same time each morning
- Eat breakfast, get dressed, brush your teeth (that was a tough one with my boys!)
- Say the Pledge of Allegiance - Once we saw the video, we started doing this each school morning
- Academic time - We learned we need to keep this general because our elementary school children start their school morning very differently compared to our middle schooler
- Creative time - This could be assigned music, art or PE lessons from school, a STEAM activity, or simply coloring time for young kids
- Lunch and Recess (outside if possible)
- Back to Academic time
- After school free time
- Chore time
- Dinner - We try and get the kids involved with dinner prep
It will take time to adjust
The first day of homeschool, the kids all worked in the dining room – and that did not work! Now, each child has set up a designated work space in the house. The distractions are more limited now that they each have their own work area. The kids are free to spread out and play an instructional video for school while not interrupting others.
The kids start their school days by logging into their online classroom where they can see their assigned tasks for the day. I sit with each of them and talk through the assigned tasks, so they know what they are responsible for that school day. Then hopefully, I can get some of my own work done during this time. Yes, there are a lot of interruptions and questions from the kids throughout the day – and some tears and fits - but this is a brand new situation for all of us, so I continue to remind myself to be patient and not to stress about everything getting done perfectly.
I have the flexibility where I can work at night or early in the morning before the kids are awake. If you are able to do this for your own job, it’s a great option to get some quiet work in without being interrupted with school questions.
It’s also important for parents to take some time for themselves. Read a book, take a walk outside or have a good cry in the laundry room like I did the first day of homeschooling!
Below are some great online resources that our school has shared with the parents to help ease the transition into distance learning. Some of these resources are also good for filling in gaps during the school day or to use with pre-K children.
- Clever Crazes For Kids
- Google Classroom: How Students Complete Assignments
- Middleweb – This website has a nice section on encouraging older kids to create a Students’ Journal and document this time in their own words.
- The Parents’ Guide to Google Classroom
- Scholastics Learn at Home
- PBS Learningmedia
Keep in mind that distance learning is not school, your kids will probably resist many of your school instructions as they are also struggling with the fact that they are not in school with their teachers and friends. Remember to breathe and do your best! If you or your child is struggling, reach out to your child’s teacher or principal. They are also doing this for the first time and are learning as they go.
Be Strong, Be Healthy, Be in Charge!
Leigh Klekar is the Speaking of Women’s Health’s freelance Online Community Manager. She has been working with the Speaking of Women's Health team for 10 years.
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- Back-To-School: How to Get a Good Routine Going
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