If you’re juggling work and Home Schooling and/or several children with different learning needs, it may seem like there is simply not enough time to do it all…and it’s so easy to slip into overwhelm. (I know – I’ve been there!) Here are a few pointers that may help you to stay sane in the weeks ahead:
Don’t do everything
Don’t feel that your child needs to do everything the school sends home. Many schools are sending out huge amounts of work but remember that they are doing this to cover a big range of needs and most reasonable teachers will not be expecting your child to do all of it (if any of it).
Timetable or Schedule
If you are in a position to set up some sort of schedule or timetable then you may find that helpful. I recommend you keep it fairly loose and not too detailed or you may be setting yourself up for an epic fail at the outset! I suggest that you block out some time during the day for the following:
- Preparing food, eating and clearing up
- Outside time
- Parent guided learning time
- Independent learning time
- Free time
- Family time
- Household tasks
The amount of time you allocate to the above will vary according to your individual circumstances. It may be that your child’s school is running online lessons and, if so, they may be able to access these without your support. If that is the case, then you can hopefully schedule your time to take place whilst they are occupied. On the other hand, you may need to sit with your child and/or support them with offline tasks which will have a big impact on how you manage your own time.
If you’re working from home, then you will obviously need to factor in your work time and if you have several children you may need to allocate each child some individual time as well as / instead of joint parent time. If there is more than one adult at home, sharing out the parent guided time is a really good idea, if possible.
My husband and I have different skills and strengths so I tend to cover the core academic skills whilst he tends to do the more practical things with our children. We also both have to juggle our work around it so the actual amount of time dedicated to parent guided learning is fairly low: on a good day this would be up to a few hours; on others it’s a big fat zero!
Be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to achieve some (or any) of what you had planned. The main priority is to stay well and happy and this starts with being kind to yourself.
Ask the Teacher
If your child has a whole heap of work from the school and you don’t know where to start, ask the teacher if there are any priorities for the day/week. Then give your child the choice. Ask: which activities would they like to do? Which areas do they need some help with and which could they do on their own? Then spread these out across the day.
Little and Often
If your child finds it hard to concentrate for any length of time, don’t worry. When it comes to learning, little and often is far more effective than big chunks of time – especially with young children. So start small: aim to do 5-15 minute stints on mental maths, reading or something that the school has set. Several short sessions each day will soon add up and will likely have more impact than sitting down for an hour at a time.
Follow your Child
Go with your child. If your child is not in the right mindset for learning, then stop, have a break or do something different. You may be able to revisit it later that day but if not, don’t worry – just let it go. In these challenging circumstances, it’s important to prioritise well-being and harmony over times tables and spellings!
For more tips and advice, visit Home Schooling Survival Tips for Parents Facebook Page.