NOT SURE YOU CAN FACE ANOTHER WEEK OF HOME WORKING AND HOME SCHOOLING? THIS WILL HELP…
by Sara Lloyd from TUTORSPLUS
The first week of homeschooling is over and parents all over the country have been reaching for the Sauvignon Blanc each night. Or is that just us? At TutorsPlus everyone on the team has two working parents and at least two kids between 4 and 14 to homeschool, and it has not been easy.
So, If you have been tearing your hair out you are not alone. Here are some tips from parents and teachers on how to make the impossible work.
ALSO read our other articles for tips on self-isolation in Geneva:
RIP UP THE ROUTINE AND START AGAIN
Parents and teachers have been amazing at pulling together home learning schedules, but what we are seeing is that something that works for one child is a disaster for another. All kids need a routine, but they will be different and this poses challenges when you are isolating as a family. Aim for lunch with everyone when possible and build in more or less academic and break time depending on your child. Some children can cope with a week’s schedule in one go and navigate through it independently, but others will need activities one by one. Expect children to be able to complete less work.
SET BOUNDARIES FOR WHEN YOU CAN BE INTERRUPTED
The older the child, the easier this is. For younger kids you can have a sign up on your workspace when you are busy and cannot be interrupted. For older kids you can ask them to sit quietly by you and read a book until you are ready to help them. One of our team with three children has a sofa next to her desk where her children sit if they need help and when she is free she helps them one by one. Keep in mind what is a realistic waiting time, as the younger they are the shorter time they will be able to hold on. Don’t forget to big them up and give them a massive boost when they have done what you asked. Younger ones can have a sticker chart for this. In our home office we have rewarded with chocolate and jelly beans. I know sweets are not ideal but we now have more peace that we can’t have everything perfect in these trying times.
Saying that, children wandering into board meetings and management updates is becoming the new normal in this strange new world. I had to tell off two of my bickering children during this week’s TutorsPlus team meeting.
USE A TUTOR OR MENTOR TO SUPPORT YOUR FAMILY
All our teachers are available online and they check in with their students and help them out when they are stuck and parents are unavailable. It could be 15 minutes here and 30 mins there across a week to keep learning going with the minimum disruption to working parents. Our tutors can also teach online focusing on the tough subjects that might be dragging your child’s confidence down or leading to conflict and tension with parents. We all know that our children are much more likely to shout and scream at us than at someone outside the family. Our tutors can save your mental health too!
WORK IN SHIFTS
This seems to be the most successful way although it requires negotiation each day, and may not lead to marital harmony. Each day flag up your not to be missed meetings and take it in turn to cover the kids’ school work. Health warning, take a deep breath when negotiating as this can lead to the inevitable ‘Your job’s not as stressful as my job’ argument.
SPREAD OUT YOUR WORKING DAY
During the home schooling day prioritise essential work such as online meetings and save other tasks for the evening or weekend. This will leave the daytime for your crucial work, as well as helping the kids with their studies. It does mean that the days and weeks drag on but it will reduce the number of meltdowns from the kids each day. A price worth paying?
LOWER MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS
If you’re tearing your hair out after week one, it is worth asking the question whether your boss’s expectations of what you can get done is realistic. Is the school asking too much of your family? Or could you reduce your own expectations to place less stress on yourself? It might mean trying to find a new way of working with your boss, or with the children’s school, rather than trying to work in the same way as before. After all, it is increasingly likely that this situation will continue for months and become our new normal.
DO SOMETHING SILLY EVERY DAY
Try to find small ways to do silly things, make each other laugh and be kind to those around you. We have enough wellness blogs telling us to do this and forgive me for groaning when I read them. Frankly it is easier said than done, but find what works for your family. Bad jokes, pranks, silly exercises at break time, a dance off for 5 minutes, an impromptu game of twister can all create laughs and diffuse tension. Although it can sound cheesy try to build this into your day too.
POUR A LARGE GLASS OF RED WINE…
We are only half kidding. The point is – don’t be too hard on yourself. Chill. This is not easy! You are doing your best. Get help if you need it and don’t try to be a superhero.
Good luck with WEEK 2!
Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for over 10 years and is an expert on international education in Switzerland. She is also a parent of two lively children.
If you would like to contact Sara to answer your education-related questions, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like a tutor or mentor to help you survive at home learning visit www.tutorsplus.com today.