In most American schools, and the average day at school is six hours. Add in travel time, lunch, extracurriculars and this can easily become a ten-hour a day event. This is a great balance for working parents. Children are educated while parents bring home the bacon.
But this is no longer a reality.
With more people teleworking from home, and schools across the nation closed for the year, many are asking “How do I work full-time and teach my child?”
As a two-income working house, and I work 40-60-hour weeks, I understand first hand the struggle of education and income. We are a tenured homeschool family who has been schooling well before #Coronavirus or #COVID-19 were household words. So, is it possible to do both?
YES. It is a combination of art and science, but completely doable. Here is what has worked for us over the past year.
1. Meditation: We are a praying house. But not everyone is. We have found when we start our day with prayer, mediation, and/or work out (I love Yogashred), our moods are elevated, our focus is keener and our bodies are in alignment. The extra benefit is our health is taken care of prior to the health of our company. Companies are only as good as the health of their talent.
2. Start Work Early: My work day starts well before most people are out of bed. This allows me a solid 3 hours to get uninterrupted and focused work completed. The earlier the start the more productive I am.
3. Have a set work time: Set hours of work where the school cannot interfere. This might mean breaking your workday into 2 two-hour segments, or 4 two-hour segments. The trick is to ensure when you focus on work, your attention is on work. When you focus on school, your attention is at school. Closing your “office door” or taping a “Do Not Distrub” sign up can be visuals for your family to stay away while at work.
4. Plan a Routine: We all know routine is healthy for our mentality. That is true for children as well. We give our son a weekly assignment list. This includes all worksheets, lessons, quizzes, tests he will need to complete to stay on track. This allows the kiddo to know what to expect and begin to take some independence and responsibility for their own education.
5. Work First. Play Later: When we present the weekly school task, we operate by a Fun Friday mentality (check out next week’s blog for more details). If all school is completed prior to Friday, you get Friday off. This is also beneficial for parents who work because that means Fridays your attention is not torn between work and school during “school hours.” We operate under no games, screen time, etc. until schoolwork is complete.
6. Turn on music: There is tons of research on how music is both good for the soul and productivity. We use classical music or whale sounds quietly in our home while we work. This is an aural clue work is to be done. We leave the Anamainics and Lego Music for playtime.
Homeschooling is intimidating (we actually debated it for four years prior to taking the leap). Homeschooling while working is even scarier. This week, remember, this doesn’t have to be perfect. And it won’t be perfect. There will be adjustments. There will be times of frustration. There will be times of feeling like a failure.
Find what works for you and go for it. Be encouraged. You are not in this alone.