Did you imagine yourself working from home whilst trying to homeschool your children at the start of this year? Us either! Adjusting to remote working has certainly been a strange situation to familiarise ourselves with, never mind the rollercoaster of trying to get the children through school and keep them entertained at the same time. It's important to remember that no one was prepared for this scenario and everyone is learning the best practices to overcome it. 'Every day's a school day' so take the time to figure out what works best for you and your family.
We share our advice and top tips on how to successfully manage not only your working from home life but also your families, to keep everyone motivated, happy and productive throughout these uncertain times.
Establish a routine that suits you and your family
Treat each day as a normal school day, by getting up at the same time and getting ready for the day ahead. It's important to keep their routine as familiar as possible so that they can get into a good rhythm of when they should be doing schoolwork and when their playtimes and lunch stop is. This will mean they are less likely to interrupt your working day by feeling out of sync to their usual routine. You should be clear with them when your working day starts and ends, and make sure they know when its time to start a new task or enjoy a break. Don't worry if your routine doesn't always go to plan, interruptions are expected and no day will be the same.
Set realistic goals and expectations
Take time to write down the projects set out by the school each week and create a realistic goal for the end of each day. This will help you stay on top of the school work that is required and eliminate the chances of your children falling behind. You should also utilise a realistic task list for yourself to ensure you are prioritising your own key projects and have a bank of tasks that could wait until the next day. The crucial thing to remember is that your workday and the children's school day may not always go to plan and there will be distractions along the way, so goals need to be achievable, or else you may feel that you have not accomplished enough and become stressed that you are not meeting your daily targets.
Be honest with your employer
The last thing you want is to fall behind on your own work, whilst trying to juggle homeschooling. It's so important to be upfront and honest about your situation to your manager if you are struggling. No one is perfect and everyone will be dealing with this unprecedented situation differently. Make sure to let your manager know of break times, lunch stops and other responsibilities in your new routine that may cause you to be away from your desk throughout the day. If your normal working hours aren't feasible due to homeschooling, ask your employer for temporary flexitime hours that suit you.
Keep it educational but fun
We all wish that we could go back in time to enjoy our younger years every now and then, so take this time to make this situation as enjoyable as possible. It's inevitable that children will struggle to adjust to this new scenario and be more likely to get distracted in the comfort of their own home, so keeping them busy is vital. Why not set them daily goals and let them choose the reward of their choice, giving them extra motivation to finish their schoolwork efficiently. Let them take part in creative activities such as painting or completing a puzzle to let them have some fun before refocusing for another few school projects. Whilst you may have a lot on your plate with your own work targets, it's important to also offer your attention and time where possible, as this is what they are used to at their normal day at school.
Stay in touch with family and friends
During these times, it's easy to feel lonely and be hard on yourself to become the perfect parent and teacher but its important to remember that there are many people in a similar situation that could offer support and advice. Regularly checking in with friends who are also homeschooling is a great way to share tips on how they are dealing with the situation and discover some different practices that may improve your children's homeschooling experience. Schedule regular video calls with the rest of the family and let the kids join in too, encouraging them to share their weekly school achievements to keep momentum up for the following week.
This unusual period can be daunting, tiring and overwhelming for those trying to adjust to a brand new way of life, but don't forget that there are some benefits to being cooped up at home with your family. You are getting the opportunity to spend more time with your children, helping them learn multiple subjects to support their future ambitions and watching them grow daily. Appreciate this time at home with the family and remember that you're not alone if the going gets tough!