With Massachusetts schools closed for the rest of the academic year,working parents find themselves pondering the same question: How can I keep my children entertained and up-to-date on their schoolworkall while working from home?
If youre a parent facing the prospect of keeping up with your career and homeschooling at the same time, here are a few helpful tips on making it work.
Set a schedule.
Whether your child is in pre-school or high school, theyre no doubt accustomed to being on a schedule inside the walls of their school. To help alleviate the stress of having their routines turned upside down, write the days schedule in a highly visible and highly trafficked place in your homeor use devices powered by Alexa or Google to set reminders. Discuss which tasks are expected to be done independently, without much or any adult help, and which may need a collaborative effort. Encourage suggestions from all family members about how to make things go even more smoothly the following day. Among other things, this sets clear expectations.
Think about how your kids spend their time in a more conventional school setting. Are they really doing hours of academic work each day? Probably not. Take into account transitions from class to class, the time it takes a teacher to work with twenty studentsversus one, and the time your childrenspend in recess, gym, and lunch. Tailor theirschedule and workload to what works for your family, and be sure to take breaks: grab a snack, cup of coffee, or a breath of fresh air with your child to break up your day. Studies show that taking breaks helps our brains perform better.
Lean on virtual assistance.
Managing screen time is a point of contention when it comes to the age of your child,but in these times, its important to get help from where you can. Let people like renowned childrens author and artist Mo Willems teach an art class, or call on Les Mills to proctor a gym class. There are also a plethora of worksheets available from Lakeshore Learning to keep the activities going while you get your own work done.
Mix it up.
Schedules and a catalog of resources are great, but variety will keep your learners engaged and stave off the much-maligned sentiment of, Im bored. Talk to your child and determine whats workingand whats notbefore venturing out of comfort zones. Is your child an avid reader? Try Oxford Owl to foster some alone-time with an age-tailored story. Looking for a more hands-on task? Make organizing socks, toys, pencils, or the pantry into a game.
Keep it realistic.
At the end of the day, you have to do whats best for you and your family and that means you cant guarantee anything. Be realistic, not pessimistic. This can help you emotionally prepare for when your children push back. Give yourself and your kids space and grace to adjust to your new lifestyle, and try not to live in a world of absolutesif a schedule that has treated you well falls apart for a few days, dont fret! Breathe, prioritize, give your child a big hug, and do the best you can. Some days will be harder, but some days will feel easier, too.