by Ivy Locke | Ivy Locke is a freelance writer and journalist with over ten years of experience. She enjoys writing about her experiences to help other freelance writers and single moms develop the tools needed to succeed. Connect with her on Twitter (@THEEIVYLOCKE) or on IG (@writer_ivylocke).
The COVID-19 pandemic has literally changed the world as we know it, including how we educate our children. Although many writers, such as myself, have been working from home for years, the nationwide quarantine forced parents to add “unofficial homeschool teacher” to our credentials.
Nevertheless, just as many of us were getting the hang of it, the schools reopened, and parents were forced to decide whether they wanted to send their kids back into the unknown or try their hand at homeschooling independently. Personally speaking, I chose the latter, and it seems that many parents agree with me. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the percentage of households with at least one homeschooled child rose from 5.4% in the spring of 2020 to 19.5% by May of 2021. Therefore, homeschooling is becoming more and more popular among American households of all kinds.
Although it can be challenging, we’re getting the hang of it. So, I decided to share my thoughts in hopes of helping new homeschoolers make a seamless transition from following an established curriculum to creating your own. With that in mind, here are some of the things I’ve done to establish a sense of normalcy while homeschooling and working from home full-time.
Create a Solid Schedule
One of the top things you need to do is create a schedule and stick to it. Sure, there will be days in which things don’t exactly go according to plan. But you must realize that that is the nature of school in general; some days, you will fall behind, and other days you will have enough time to jump ahead. Either way, you should have a time for work and a time for play, and you should make sure that you never confuse the two. According to United Digital Learning, creating a solid schedule helps teach your kids not to procrastinate, helps you utilize their best working hours, and helps them establish an internal clock that will likely stick with them into adulthood.
Tips for Creating a Schedule that Works:
- Consider Your Work Schedule: One of the first things you need to do is to consider your own work schedule. Does it make more sense to wake up early to start your workday before waking your child? Should you start around the same time each day? Does it make sense to allow them to start a little later in the day? Do you want to allow them to have an early dismissal day? At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you’re creating a realistic schedule and allow both you and your child enough time to complete your work without stressing yourself out.
- Start With the Hard Stuff: Next, starting with the hard stuff is typically helpful. So, if you have a child who struggles in math, you should schedule that class earlier in the day. This is because it’s easier to focus earlier in the day. Likewise, it also makes sense to complete the most arduous tasks for your job early in the day. For instance, I loathe paperwork, so I usually do it in the mornings to make sure it has been properly completed.
- Take Breaks: You and your kids will get antsy and need breaks. Make sure you are taking time to stretch your legs and get as much fresh air as possible. You can either schedule these breaks or play it by ear. romote stretch breaks to prevent your family from becoming too sedentary.
Get Out of the House
Just because you’re homeschooling or working from home doesn’t mean that you have to stay in the house 24/7, 365. Get creative in terms of how and where you’re spending your time. For instance, you can spend a day at a friend or relative’s house. Personally speaking, I try to go to my mom’s house at least once a week to break up the monotony. However, you can spend your day anywhere that allows both of you to complete your work. Alternatively, you can take the time to schedule field trips, visit coffee shops, local farms, museums, etc. As long as you are safe, getting out of the house is one of the best ways to prevent you and your child from developing burnout or cabin fever.
Create Designated Work Spaces
Another great way to create a sense of normalcy while working from home and homeschooling is by creating designated workspaces. No matter if it’s a home office or a corner in your room, you should make sure that you have a comfortable area for both of you to work in. This should include an area to sit and work and room enough for all necessary supplies. Also, if you’re using wi-fi, you should choose a location that is closer to your router.
Schedule Play Dates
No matter how awesome of a parent you may be, your child will want to be around other children. Friends, family, and other homeschooled in your area make for great play date options. However you choose to have play dates, you should make sure that your child is getting out and playing with other kids. Likewise, this will also give you a chance to associate with other adults.
Just because you are homeschooling your child doesn’t mean you are alone. Taking the time to find online resources can be a great way to connect with other homeschooling parents and even develop a support network. For instance, Education.com lists lots of resources designed to help homeschooling parents and students find the support they need. Alternatively, there are local homeschool groups in virtually every area. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to tutors and other specialists as needed.
Overall, homeschooling your child while working from home can be difficult. Nevertheless, with some time and effort, it will become second nature. Once you get past the learning curve, you and your child will start to adjust to your new routine. Hopefully, you will even begin to enjoy it. Personally speaking, I was very nervous and anxious when I started the process. However, this is proving to be one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. I hope this shortlist of tips can help others say the same.