In these unprecedented times, it’s imperative that you, as a parent, learn how to balance work and homeschooling so you don’t get stressed.
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In this post, Kathryn Starke gives you excellent tips to help you balance work and homeschooling, especially when you’re all at home.
While parents are a child’s first teacher in life, recent events have forced us to also play the role of a classroom teacher at home.
In addition to this added responsibility, many parents are also working from home while maintaining their daily jobs as their children’s ultimate caretaker.
Worlds were turned upside down in an instant with no preparation or guidance. Our own homes have been turned into classrooms, offices, restaurants, and playgrounds. While the current situation will not last forever, the lessons we learn will last a lifetime.
Chaos vs peace
I recently read a short story about a child in his first year of college ten years from today in 2030 who learned about the pandemic of 2020 in history class. He asked his mom about it who described how stressful it was for everyone, how toilet paper was impossible to find, and how they could only leave the home for essentials.
When she said to her child, “You were eight-years-old at the time. You don’t remember this?” The child replied how all he remembered was that the whole family was together for dinner at the kitchen table every night, played together every day, and that he did not have anxiety about getting his homework done.
As a literacy consultant in elementary schools around the country, I spend my days with children, and they always speak the truth. This hypothetical tale reminded me that while we adults are experiencing chaos, our children are enjoying peace. Their daily routines, after school activities, and playdates with friends have also been put on pause; yet, they feel happy and safe at home with their family.
As you continue to juggle your own workload, host a countless number of Zoom meetings, and balance the academic agenda of your children, consider the following tips to balance it all.
Five tips to balance work and homeschooling
These five tips are simple and yet effective reminders that will help you plan your day better.
The first tip will ease your concerns about meeting your child’s educational needs as well as your own productivity.
The second tip, on the other hand, will give you an idea of where you need to focus on to maximise your child’s learning. Hint: it’s not academics.
The third tip is a reminder that modelling rather than lecturing works best when it comes to teaching your children.
The fourth is all about screens, screens, screens – incredibly important but also incredibly controversial.
Finally, there’s the last tip which is all about creating an environment conducive to optimal learning.
You do not need to recreate an eight-hour work or school day.
In addition to direct and small group instruction, a regular school day for elementary school students also includes lunch, recess, collaborative work, and a resource including art, music, PE, or library.
Children do not need to sit and work on content for an extended amount of time. The most valuable and pertinent lessons to add to your teaching routine are simply reading for at least thirty minutes a day, writing, and practicing math.
It should also be refreshing to think about how you probably do not need a full eight-hours to complete your work as well. Information previously provided in long meetings have finally been transferred to emails.
Everyone’s work ethic is different. I have always been someone who could complete a task in an hour that would take four hours for a colleague to complete.
It will be interesting to see how our current work from home society affects the productivity, innovation, and communication in our industries when we return to a more familiar time.
Time is Precious – An excellent breakdown of time kids actually spend learning in school. Written by a UK-based teacher primary school teacher.
Children learn best through conversation, play, and exploration.
Our children increase their listening comprehension skills, vocabulary, oral language skills, and communication skills through conversation.
Daily routines including mealtime, bath time, bedtime, or going on a walk should involve conversation, which will significantly increase these skills that will help your child become more successful in literacy.
Children learn best on their own, with their siblings, and with their parents through play. Imaginative play, building with blocks or putting together puzzles help increase logic, critical thinking skills, creativity, and collaboration.
Finally, when children are given the freedom to explore their surroundings, play outside, create an art project, play new games, help cook dinner, or read new books, they are learning. Their curiosity leads to questioning and higher-level thinking.
If your children are talking, asking questions, playing, and exploring nature, they are learning more than you know.
Model behavior: read and write together.
I have observed enough students and teachers to recognize that students observe their teacher’s behavior and act accordingly.
If a teacher yells often at their students, the students yell at each other. If a teacher constantly thanks their students, the students will show appreciation and gratitude to each other.
Children watch our every move and mimic our actions, even in play. Just watch. You’ll see! With this in mind, we need to determine what behavior we want to model at home.
One suggestion is to complete household chores together. Another idea is to read and write together. Create a reading time or space in your household. While your children are reading their books or articles, show them that you are reading a book, magazine, or newspaper.
While your children are writing, write yourself. Write your grocery list, write a letter, write notes for an upcoming project for your company.
When children see what is important to you, it will become important to them.
Screen time: How much time do you spend on screens?
In 2020, technology is a large part of our daily lives. In these strange times, in particular, technology is suddenly the key component to maintain our work-life balance at home. Today, screen time includes television, video games, smartphones, iPads, laptops, and computers.
When Book Trust surveyed elementary-age children, they found that 76% of kids prefer holding a book in their hand to reading a book on the screen. We also know that comprehension levels decrease during screen reading. Ironically, this is the primary mode of instruction many of use while our children are learning at home.
Like everything, balance is key.
The use of technology also should be considered. Are we spending four straight hours playing video games or are we using our phone an hour for social media in the morning then our computer a few hours later to check emails or create a presentation?
Children also need to balance their time between reading a real book, writing with a pencil or paper, playing outside, talking to friends or family, and using technology for entertainment or educational purpose.
The Best Educational Shows For Children – A list of our top educational shows for children that they will surely love.
Positivity, Motivation, and Praise is Always Welcome
One more way to balance work and homeschooling so you don’t get stressed is to create an environment that’s conducive to working and learning at an optimum rate.
As adults, we work better in a pleasant environment that promotes positivity. Motivation is also key. We do not need to “be on” for eight hours a day.
Now that we have the flexibility to make our teaching and learning schedule, we need to figure out when, where, and how we work best. For me, it is when I am dressed mid-morning after I have had a good breakfast.
Lastly, positive praise, compliments, and thank you go a long way with people of all ages. A happy home full of gratitude, appreciation, and positivity is one I never want to leave, even when I finally get the chance.