5 Tips for Homeschooling While Working from Home
Homeschooling can pose many distinct challenges no matter the age of your children, even in the most optimal of situations. However, adapting to a homeschool curriculum during unexpected circumstances while also managing your own work-from-home schedule can feel almost too overwhelming to deal with.
If you’re struggling to find a balance between meeting your responsibilities in your profession and helping your children succeed while learning remotely at home, you’re not alone. Parents around the globe are facing the same struggle and are finding ways to juggle their many roles in a way that works for them and their families.
Looking for realistic, applicable guidance in striking the perfect balance between homeschool teacher and employee? Here are a few helpful tips for making the most of the homeschool experience for both you and your children while still working successfully from home.
Set a daily schedule and stick to it as much as possible. In a typical school environment, your kids would have all of their classes and break times clearly scheduled out and strictly adhered to. Though homeschooling gives you the opportunity to have greater control over your children’s learning experience, having that sense of routine and schedule is still incredibly important to help keep kids on task and to make it easier for them to mentally compartmentalize different areas of study. Setting a distinct start time each weekday, as well as planned lesson lengths and break times, can provide your kids with the sense of routine they need to learn efficiently. Additionally, non-negotiable end time will help your children to get used to focusing on schoolwork for the allotted hours, knowing that once it reaches 3 o’clock, they are free to do what they please (while you focus in on the work you need to get done).
Be flexible. Though a set schedule is crucial for efficient homeschooling, it’s also important to accept the fact that sometimes the schedule will need to be shifted for one reason or another. You might have a time-sensitive work assignment that causes your children’s “school day” to be pushed later than usual, or one of your children might have difficulty concentrating due to an emotional struggle or even just a simple bad mood. At the end of it all, your first job as a parent is to parent, not to teach, and there will be days where you all might need emotional support more than you need to check everything off your to-do list. Do your best to stick to your schedule, but don’t be too hard on yourself when it’s simply not possible.
Utilize creative tools like whiteboard paint. There’s a reason why nearly every classroom nationwide is outfitted with at least one whiteboard—they greatly contribute to the successful relaying of information and student comprehension as well as increased creativity within the learning environment. Additionally, hundreds of high-performing companies in multiple industries also utilize whiteboards in their offices to brainstorm, share ideas and spread information between coworkers. Not all parents are able to cleanly separate their day between homeschooling and work time; many find it necessary to combine the two in order to meet the needs of their employer while also providing enough assistance to their children during learning time. With the spacious collaborative opportunities of whiteboard paint, you could take your homeschooling efficiency to the next level while also working through ideas for your professional responsibilities, all within the same convenient template.
Don’t skimp out on self-care. Let’s face it—whether you run a two-parent household, a single parent household, or some combination of the two, homeschooling while working from home is a lot of responsibility to take on. Maintaining self-care practices is important even when life is running smoothly, so if you’re finding yourself up to your ears in responsibility and deadlines, these practices become absolutely crucial for success. If you aren’t taking care of your body and mind, you won’t be able to teach your children effectively or do good work for your employer—in fact, you could find yourself snapping at your kids or dropping the ball on assignments if you let yourself run on empty for too long. Find what makes you feel relaxed and happy and incorporate that into your routine, even if only for 10 to 15 minutes a day.
Communication is key. If you’re adapting to an unexpected homeschooling situation while also adapting to a work-from-home schedule for a job that was previously conducted in-person, you may have a significant learning curve to face. This is why maintaining an open line of communication with your employer, your children, your spouse, and any other important people in your life is so crucial for successfully balancing your newfound responsibilities and keeping those closest to you abreast of the current state of affairs in your life. For example, your employer will understand that working from home can take some adjusting, but they may not be aware of your additional role as a teacher, which will likely affect your schedule, availability, and workflow in different ways. Make sure to be as transparent as possible about your situation and your needs in order to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications.
For some work-from-home parents turned homeschool teachers, the biggest hurdle to overcome isn’t balancing the time and energy needed for different roles—it’s making their homeschool lessons fun, interesting, and interactive enough to keep their kids engaged. Luckily, there is a wide variety of ways to improve the homeschool experience including educational games, online resources, and creative tools to encourage self-expression.
While you're adjusting to the new reality of homeschooling in addition to working from home, it's important to remember that your children are facing a similar adjustment. If they're having trouble making progress with homeschooling at first, it may not be from any lack of trying--they're missing their "workplace" just as much as you're missing yours. Make sure to lead with empathy and understanding, especially during the first several weeks.
For a creative way to customize your home for optimized learning and workflow, check out WriteyBoard whiteboard paint, peel and stick whiteboards, whiteboard desks and more.