For the last 18 months I’ve freelanced for an international homeschooling college. With over 100 of us in the business, we all work from home, with teams occasionally meeting face to face. We have remote working nailed. I’ve sometimes envied the flexibility and lifestyle that I see these homeschool families having.
Like millions of parents worldwide, I’ve now been thrown in at the deep end of homeschooling thanks to coronavirus. It’s tough for any families trying to juggle this alongside work but I believe even more so for parents who are running their own business. We’re all going to need to be super organised and motivated with a large helping of perseverance. There’s no security in knowing your employer is making allowances and you’ll be paid a portion of your salary regardless. Like all self-employed people, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. So the pressure’s on even more. But this blog isn’t about the struggle independent businesses are facing, it’s about the greater juggle we’re now having.
Our first week of homeschooling is done and it’s gone pretty well. I’ve been lucky enough to pick up some tips from work along the way which I’ve been able to put into practise for real. So I thought I’d share in the hope they can help you too:
- Prepare a daily timetable. It may help to follow the usual school schedule but perhaps working to your child’s preferred hours. My lively 7 year old certainly has more energy and ability to focus in the mornings.
- If you can, try and find a dedicated space where your child can set up to work. While you won’t have visitors at the moment, they will need to be able to concentrate away from younger siblings and distractions.
- Give your child lots of encouragement. And maybe a little bribery. These are challenging times. The sudden change will be unsettling for many children. If you need to bargain with them over doing some schoolwork in return for some time on the iPad or a game of footie in the garden then so be it.
- Encourage your child to email their teachers if they need help that you can’t provide. My son’s school is setting work each day via Google Classroom which is proving a very welcome bit of structure and less for me to have to think about.
- Schedule in breaks. If you can, get them outside in the garden regularly so they can burn off steam. Just 15 minutes is proven to help improve concentration levels when they return to study.
- If your child is missing their friends, encourage them to video call each other (or arrange it for younger children). The opportunity to see how their classmates are getting on and to discuss what they’ve been doing will give them a boost.
- Your child is likely to complete their work more quickly while homeschooling. So reward them for getting it finished. This is not the time for guilt, it’s the time for making the best of a bad and unsettling situation.
Remember we’re not teachers, and not expected to be, but this period could prove to be a wonderful experience of observing more about how your child learns. But don’t get me wrong, when the schools reopen I’ll be back there very ready to hand the teaching back over!