Written by Guest blogger, Kimberly Charron.
Kimberly Charron is a homeschool mom of two living with her husband of over 25 years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She works from home as a homeschool coach and Certified Online Business Manager. In her free time, she likes to hand-spin, knit, read, and volunteer in local theatre.
In March 2020, many parents suddenly found themselves working at home and homeschooling for the first time. I’ve been working at home and homeschooling since 2005 and it can be challenging at times. It’s even more challenging when things aren’t quite normal – when the whole family is home all day when they’re not used to it, tripping all over each other at times.
Here are tips for working at home and homeschooling and experiencing a happy homeschool, home life, and work life.
Fill up Your Child's Tank Before the Homeschool Day Begins
Fill up your child’s tank with attention at the beginning of the day. This applies if your child is a preschooler, a teenager, or anywhere in between. Kids crave attention and giving them what they need at the beginning of the day means they’ll interrupt you less throughout the day. It could be as simple as eating breakfast together and discussing the day ahead with your child.
For teens, it’s a good idea to start each day with a daily check-in. Discuss what they accomplished yesterday and what the plan is for their homeschool day today. This way you don’t end up realizing they haven’t done their online math for a whole month.
Exercise at the Beginning of the Homeschool Day
Studies show that exercise boosts brain power and academic performance Encouraging your child to exercise at the beginning of the homeschool day helps them get their wiggles out, burn off their energy, and increase their focus for learning. Besides, exercise also counts as Phys. Ed. class. Anything that works up a sweat counts as Phys. Ed.
If you like to do yoga first thing in the morning, invite your child to do it along with you. Alternatively, dance around to your favourite music together or dance along with a Zumba class on YouTube. I used to send my kids to do laps around the house – they tried to beat their number and do more laps every day. Our mini-trampoline also got a lot of use.
Take Advantage of Homeschooling’s Flexibility
Homeschooling is flexible and can work around your schedule. It can be frustrating to try to get work done while your kids are trying to get homeschool work done. They often need you more than you realize.
You can decide to homeschool your child in the evening or even on weekends if that’s what works best for you and your family. If your work is flexible as well, consider working before everyone wakes up. Then enjoy homeschooling your child in the morning and spending time with them in the afternoon. In the evening once your child is in bed, finish up your work day.
Set Limits for Your Child
You can set limits for even young children with time and patience. Teach your child when it's okay to get your attention, when it's not, and how to get your attention quietly. You can teach your child to knock if your home office door is closed or when a “do not disturb” sign is hung on it. Or you can even get a fancy red do not disturb light that plugs into your computer’s USB port.
Teach your child what to do when you’re on the phone and they need you. One technique that works well is to have them to quietly put their hand on your shoulder to cue they need you. You then place your hand over theirs to acknowledge they need you and you’ll be right with them. Once you can excuse yourself from the phone, you release their hand and find out what they need.
Every family is different and has different daily rhythms. You’ll find yours through trial and error. If something doesn’t feel right, change it up. You will know when you’ve found the rules and routines that work best for you as you are working at home and homeschooling.