How is work at home and home school going?!
I’d always wondered if I could handle homeschooling! Some part of me has always wanted to give it a try. But, I knew if I was going to do it, I would want plenty of time to research.
Eventually, I let go of the idea because I’m an introverted mom and I like my time away from the kids. Plus, I took on working from home, so we didn’t really pursue the idea of home school.
Well, the Coronavirus Outbreak, social distancing, and school closures had other plans for us.
And just like that, we’re homeschooling.
(Let me just clarify that I’m using “home-school” loosely. Our county is using virtual school during the school closure to keep kids busy. Although my daughter’s lessons are planned by her teachers, I am needed preparing and supervising some activities.)
So, what is our life like right now?
Work At Home and Home School
If you don’t know us, let’s give you some background.
My husband works full time. I have been working my home businesses for a couple years and just last year took on a part-time work from home job in social media management. We have two children.
At the time of writing this, my oldest child is 8 in 3rd grade, and my youngest is 4.
My daughter (the oldest child) is fairly responsible although a bit entitled. She’s smart and I would figure if anyone did well at home school, it would be her.
My son (the youngest) is a handful. When I began my part time work at home job, I put him in preschool 2 days a week to give me uninterrupted time for work.
Additionally, 1 morning per week was dedicated to 2 hours at the gym, mainly so I could get some more time away from the little handful. This gave me one hour of workout time and another hour to work on my job.
But, this all went to crap when schools closed and mandated that we were now going to be distance learning.
What the what?
Okay, so at first, it was quite a shock. But, I quickly decided to roll with the punches!
I only work part time
Okay, so the first couple days were hard.
All of us were off schedule and trying to learn a new system.
The youngest, because he was only in preschool wasn’t being offered virtual learning.
My work load was still in full swing, if not actually increasing. But the hours in which I was available to work was dwindling.
Set Work Hours
On day 1, I realized I had to set work hours. With some of my freedoms gone now that the kids are home constantly, setting these hours was vital.
Even more importantly, verbalizing these hours to everyone helped the family realize that I am willing to help them throughout the day.
Still, I was demanding the same respect in regard to things I had to get done during the day.
Put The Youngest To Work
I believe everyone works better with schedules and routines. We should all know what our day looks like, to some degree.
So, I found a virtual preschool program supplied through our public library. I sit and help him through his virtual preschool program while eating breakfast and/or drinking coffee.
When he’s determined he’s had enough, we move his Hooked On Phonics app.
Again, he works until he’s tired of it.
And I don’t stress how much he does. This simply gives me time to eat, drink a hot tea, help my daughter if she needs, and maybe wash dishes or start some laundry.
I Let Her Choose
The 8 year old quickly figured out that she can dictate, for the most part, what she wants her day to look like.
She wakes up, eats breakfast, and starts her day with zero hesitation. Most of the time she’s already on the computer before I even come downstairs.
She typically determines the order in which she wishes to do her work and requires very little direction from me.
Sometimes I step in to let her know what needs to be done in order to fit into my schedule … things that she can do independently need to be done during my “office hours”.
While they’re working (or playing independently)…
In the mornings, once they both reach independent work or play, I start housework.
Laundry, dishes, or cleaning gets started during the time both kids are doing something independently.
At any moment, my cleaning groove may be interrupted, so I have to work quickly and efficiently.
Having a daily routine has been useful in keeping our sanity.
(Although, having my husband home has also been a huge help when things go awry).
We have lunch right around 11 am every day and my son is required to have quiet time between noon and 2 pm. Because the hours between noon and 2 are my designated office hours, it’s important to stick to a routine to keep us all on track.
Afternoons are for play
After my mid-day office hours, the kids and I have a snack.
I check my daughter’s progress on her school work to make sure she completed everything that’s due for the day.
Some days my daughter and I will do a quick YouTube workout together.
Then, it’s time for outside play.
I don’t direct what they do unless I want us all to walk down to the creek at the neighbor’s house.
Basically, I want them to burn off any pent up energy from the day.
Then we eat
Dinner time is early at our house and all four of us sit at the table together to eat.
Evening and Night
Once the kids are in bed, I do a final check of my daughter’s home school activities and look to see what activities are due the following day.
Most nights, I also log work for another hour or two.
I need a break!
A week after starting this home school stuff, I realized I was becoming pretty worn out.
Falling into these routines and keeping everyone busy has made things easier on everyone than I would have expected.
But, I’m an introverted mom.
I’ve been spending a ton of time talking, listening to, and being distracted from nearly everything I get into.
I need some more down time that I can focus on what I want to do.
So, I take short breaks at night right before the kids go to bed to try to do a few minutes of quiet activity that I want to do (like writing this blog post, read, or close my eyes and listen to calming music).
I’m designating Saturdays (or reclaiming them) as my rest day. I’ve given myself permission to lay around in pajamas.
Maybe dinner one night will be tossing a frozen lasagna into the oven for the family while I eat an allergy friendly frozen something or other myself.
How do I feel about work at home and home school?
Well, the first week wasn’t terrible.
My husband and I have discussed that there may be some benefits to it for all of us. If we were to consider it in the future it would be because:
Homeschooling days seem shorter.
Shorter school days offers more opportunity to explore things that are of interest to us.
I can sway discussions with my agenda/beliefs, not the other way around.
We can home school on the road (perfect for wanting to travel more).
Too little quiet time.
Increased demands at home means decreased hours for work.
Maybe it’s too early to tell, but I’ve enjoyed the time experimenting and learning how to work at home and home school at the same time! I have had some prior practice since I was already working from home though.
What about you?
Are you able to work at home and home school with your sanity in tact? Or is this wearing you too thin?