Tips for working and schooling from home

A parenting blogger shares her experience with learning to teach from home, while working remotely

Image: JustEllaBella
Image: JustEllaBella

My son is in Grade 1 and since the beginning of lock down he has been schooling from home. This differs from home schooling in that I have the full support of the school where he is enrolled and do not have to find my own curriculum or teaching schedules.

Basically, I pick up a pack of school work every two weeks and return the allocated assignments which the teacher then grades. They have gone through a lot of trouble setting up daily tasks and I can also contact them through an app if anything gets confusing.

My son has a chronic chest issue so the school from home option works out best for us, especially since I am lucky enough to be able to work from home for the time being.

Here are my 10 tips for balancing a full time work from home job while schooling from home.

1. Put everything together

We use a wooden crate as our mobile classroom. All the books, resources, lesson plans and stationery is in one place for me to easily access it. You could do this with a bag as well, but a crate means I can see everything at one glance. 

2. Plan ahead

I look at the schools lesson plan and realise that I'm in fact not at a school so I cut it up into sections. We do all the reading work over breakfast, we do writing during my tea break, and because he is really good at mathematics (he did not get this from me) I can schedule this for when I don't have the time to watch over him. 3. Use flip filesThe work, notes and important things to remember are all in flip files which protects them from grimy fingers and spills and makes it easy to grab when you need to check anything. 

4. Check off lists

I use a dry erase board to write down the subjects for the day, and my son can tick off as he goes along. This gives him a sense of achievement and also makes it easier for both of us to know where we are at. A written down list or chalk board would work equally well. 

5. Be flexible

My daily work schedule changes throughout the week. On Mondays my mornings are more free while I can hardly have breakfast on a Thursday - I've learnt to plan around this. We start earlier on a Monday and later on a Thursday. I also schedule according to any meetings or deadlines I may have. On days where I'm exceptionally busy, he gets some extra free time and we are not apposed to doing some work on weekends.

Image: Free Photos/Pixabay
Image: Free Photos/Pixabay

6. Include some night schooling

I used to try and force all my son's work in to a very limited window in the morning, which was extremely stressful for both of us. What helped was leaving the more challenging subjects for later. Anything where he needs more of my involvement and input, and things he struggles with, are dealt with once I've logged off. That way I can give him my full attention. 

7. Set up rewards and breaks

This is our new normal and forcing my son to sit down at a desk until everything is done is not an option. So I give him rewards and breaks. You can play a video game after finish all your English work, you can play outside for an hour after Maths, a successful week of work means he gets to pick the movie for movie night. This makes the tedious tasks less tedious. It does mean his "school day" is longer, but it works for us.

8. Know your child

My son is not a fan of traditional schooling and it's repetitive nature. I'm aware of this and have added things like a time challenge using a stop watch to some work or I reward him with extra subjects which he enjoys (robotics and coding in our case) to break up the routine a bit. 9. Take a team approach I sat my son down and explained the situation to him. I was honest about me not being a teacher and needing his support. Every time he finish a task I will say "we did it", "we are getting the hang of this". I remind him that the teacher expects this work back "from us" and it has helped. 

10. Cut yourself some slack

I am not a teacher, in no way, shape, or form, am I qualified for this, so I have learnt to give myself some grace. Ask for help, from a teacher or a friend when I need to and do some additional research if need be. I have also realised that the teachers are well aware that they aren't handing over to fellow educators here and are not expecting miracles. 

 

  • Written by Eleanor Douglas-Meyers, blogger behind JustEllaBella blog. 

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