With school districts closing for months or for the remainder of the school year, many parents are struggling with how to continue educating their school-age children while managing their job responsibilities.
One thing we don’t want to mistake this unprecedented period with is the term ‘homeschooling.’ Homeschooling is not what we as parents are doing during this crisis period. Typical homeschooling includes weekly outings for enrichment and socialization such as visits to museums, parks, the zoo and meeting up with other children and small groups.
This unprecedented time period, which for many means confined to our own household, is a learning process on how to function the best we possibly can, while managing work and school schedules.
Things parents can do:
- Be realistic. Avoid comparing yourself to others online and take time to figure out what works for you and your family.
- Maintain a schedule. Children work best while following a schedule. They love to know what is next, however, fun and free play should also be included.
- Be flexible. If you or your children need a break from your new normal routine, change it up. Is it nice outside in the morning but raining in the afternoon? Take a walk and bike ride in the morning and work on schoolwork in the afternoon or evening.
- Give yourself some grace. We are all learning what this “new normal” is and everyone is in unchartered territory. If the day doesn’t go as planned, such as your child throws a tantrum because he didn’t want to complete his math work, or your spouse is extra moody, remind yourself (and others in your household), to take a deep breath, change up your current routine and perhaps take a walk.
- Work on non-school focused learning. Children can learn a great deal while doing household chores such as helping in the kitchen, laundry, cleaning, budgeting and pet care.
- Fit in time for yourself. Although it may seem impossible to juggle your work and children’s schoolwork, even taking 10 minutes to yourself to meditate, stretch or read can help you recharge.
- Reassure your children. Our children are experiencing unchartered territories as well, so expect challenging behaviors, poor sleep patterns and picky eating. Stay positive by offering positive feedback for good behavior.
Also, remind yourself that this will pass. Try looking at this time as a way to reaccess what is important, what you value and what you may want to change when life gets back to normal.
“6 Tips for Working from Home While Caring for Young Children,” www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2020/03/working-from-home. Accessed April 1, 2020.
“Tips for handling work and kids during COVID-19 isolation,” https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-tips-for-homebound-kids-parents. Accessed April 1, 2020.