I can’t say it enough: THESE ARE CRAZY DAYS!
Everyone is talking about working from home and homeschooling. Some people are excited but I hear that most people are freaking out. They don’t know what to do. I have experience in this area so let me give you some advice.
So, yesterday I started this Instagram Story/Facebook Story/Blog Post Series called “Just Today.”
It’s my attempt to spread a little joy, help, and hope into the world. Yesterday, I talked about trying to reel in our anxious thoughts and learning to focus on what’s closest to us. Instead of trying to predict the future, focus on Just Today.
Today, I want to give you some advice about working from home.
Working From Home Realities
I work from home. My husband works from home. I worked from home when my kids were toddlers. I have experience in this area. My husband and I prayed and prayed for him to have the opportunity to give up the Atlanta commute and work from home. When he finally got the job he has now, it was a dream come true!
And it is a dream for many reasons, however, it’s also a challenge. Many people have this idea that when someone works from home they never have to get out of their pajamas, they can work from bed or they can work while they’re doing other things around the house like watching the kids or doing laundry. It doesn’t really work well that way.
Here’s some advice about how to handle working from home:
- Once you’re over the thrill of not having to drive into work and you’ve worked in your pjs a few times, set your alarm, get up, shower, brush your teeth and act like you’re going to work. It will really help your brain to get into gear to go to work.
- Create a space that it for work ONLY and don’t make that space in your bedroom. Bedrooms are for sleeping and you won’t be able to sleep with work staring in your face and it’s depressing to wake up at your desk.
- Keep hard boundaries. Our brains need boundaries to keep our lives straight. Think about how it would be if you were at work and treat your workspace the same way. If you were at the office, could you do a load of laundry? Could your kids just walk into your office? Tell your family you need them to respect your boundaries. You will not get anything done if you’re constantly interrupted by your family to take out the garbage or referee an argument.
- Keep your integrity. Give your employer the hours they pay you for. Be responsible and a good employee. Don’t take advantage of this situation.
I was a teacher for over 15 years and if there’s one thing I learned about how to handle kids, it’s this one thing: Schedules are absolutely necessary!
Kids and teachers completely rely on schedules to keep their sanity and to keep kids controlled. If you don’t have a schedule, then you’re just babysitting and to a teacher, that is a nightmare.
Teachers would never start a day without a plan.
Kids with no structure equals fighting, revolt, whining and chaos.
Schedules are a lifesaver!
Even when my kids were toddlers we had a schedule. We’d start with breakfast, getting dressed for the day, then we’d have outside time and a time to watch their favorite show (not hours, just one or two shows to wind down before a nap), a nap, reading time, indoor playtime, dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime.
The beauty of a schedule is that it gives you and your children structure. Everyone knows what to expect. You don’t have to decide every day what to do so, there’s no room for debate or argument, it’s just what you do.
Believe it or not kids and teens want structure. And especially in these crazy days, everyone wants something they can count on, even if it’s a daily schedule!
Chunk up your day into blocks of time and plan out the day. Here’s what I would do if I had a kid who suddenly had to stay home from school and I had to work from home.
- I’d make sure we had separate workspaces in different rooms and we talked about respecting each other’s space. For example: what should your child do if they had a question about something they were working on? Should they interrupt you or hold their questions until a break that you will schedule?
- We would discuss and plan our daily schedule (see example below).
- We would plan what we would do about lunch and discuss outside time.
- I’m pretty sure that teachers will not leave you high and dry when it comes to your child’s studies, however, if you need more filler work, there are plenty of sites online where you can find activities to support your child’s learning. Reading is ALWAYS a good option.
A sample schedule can look like this:
7:00am. Everyone up, bathed, dress and eat breakfast.
8:00 – 10:00am. Everyone start work. As far as a student’s work schedule, depending on their age, each academic subject is given 30 – 45 minutes for reading and doing activities. Then students could take a short break. So, in an hour, a student could get one or two subjects in.
- This is a good time slot for Spelling, English and Reading comprehension assignments
10:00am. Mid-morning break. Move around, eat a snack.
10:30 – 12:00. More work. Students could be encouraged to move around. They can read on the sofa and do their seat work at a desk. If they are easily distracted, they may want to stay at a desk so they can focus.
- This is a good time slot for Math and Science.
12:00. Lunch. After lunch everyone will be having a hard time staying awake so outside time, physical activities or projects that require cutting, gluing, or drawing would be a good option.
1:00 – 2:00 Educational videos, projects.
- This is a good time for History, Art and Music.
2:00 – 2:30. Outside time and afternoon snack break
2:30-3:30. Wrap up unfinished work. Do homework assignments.
After school activities could include video games, socializing with friends on social media, safe outside activities, watching tv and movies. Keep this time for these activities only.
5:30pm. Dinner prep and family meal.
7:00pm Family time
I hope this helps a little. We all have to adjust and we’ll have challenging days. But I’m sure we’ll be okay when it’s all over!