Homeschooling got a lot of attention during the pandemic. Whether it was in the form of remote schooling or full-on, parent-led education, millions of kids found themselves learning on the homefront shortly after the crisis started. Needless to say, the change was stressful for most parents.
If you’re still working from home and you’re trying to include a form of homeschooling in the mix, you may still feel overwhelmed, a year and more after the pandemic began. And that’s okay.
Remote work and homeschooling are harder activities than they appear to be at first glance. Here are a few tips to help you manage both your own work and your child’s education on the homefront without stockpiling those gray hairs in the process.
Set Clear Boundaries
Everyone and their mother talks about dedicating a space for your school and work from home efforts — and that’s because it’s absolutely true. Whether you’re operating out of a massive country estate or a tiny apartment, you have to find room to set up clearly dedicated office and school spaces. But the boundaries should go much further than the geographic.
You should also create clear expectations about how your day will look as you both labor so close to one another. Make sure that you’re available for your child when they need to ask questions or resolve school-related problems.
At the same time, make sure that they understand that they can’t just waltz in and interrupt when you’re working. You may even want to give them a tablet, book, or other tools to occupy them when they’re waiting to talk to you. Having them wait rather than interrupt is important. It allows you to focus until you can effectively stop and can even help your child develop their frustration tolerance in the process.
Communicate and Organize
If you want you and your child to survive (and hopefully thrive) while at home, you need to communicate like crazy and organize the heck out of your lives. It may not be easy. It may not even be your thing. But if you don’t want everything to go to hell in a handbasket three weeks into the school year, you need to take steps to proactively manage the chaos.
For instance, when it comes to communication, if you’re working with a high schooler who has their own devices, set up a family calendar. Then have everyone input their own school and work activities so that you all know when each of you is not to be disturbed.
Organization is also important. Keeping a neat space doesn’t just reduce stress and help you and your child focus. It also can enable you to be prepared at all times.
For example, if you’re homeschooling a child with a disability, think ahead and make sure that their space has everything they need. Can you create disability accommodations that they might have in the classroom? Do they need to take breaks often? Make sure to plan that ahead of time before you open your work laptop.
Take Time to Bond
If you’re homeschooling and working from home, chances are you’re never going to spend time apart. And yet, even with all the close time spent together, you’ll end up feeling more distant from one another than if you spent all day out of the house.
If you want to manage remote work and homeschooling effectively, you have to find a way to work in time to go beyond the practical. As useful as they are, everything can’t revolve around schedules and boundaries.
On the contrary, if you want your relationship with your kids to grow, you have to plan independent family times. These should involve completely unplugging from your work and school responsibilities and focusing on one another for some quality time. Purposeful family time is an excellent way to help manage your mental health and keep your family dynamic strong.
Thriving at Home
Something is alluring about the idea of learning and working on the homefront. However, the day-to-day reality of the activity can be a stark reminder that not everything is as easy as it sounds.
The truth is, managing a remote work and homeschooling schedule simultaneously is a lot of work, no matter what the details of each particular situation include. If you find that you’re trying to find balance in a similar situation, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Don’t surrender to the chaos either.
Instead, take some time to set boundaries, communicate often, stay organized, and spend quality time together as a family outside of work and school. If you can follow these basic concepts, you can create a framework that your family can thrive within as you all work, learn, eat, play, and rest together at home.