Home Schooling: 6 tips for a calmer Work/Life Balance.

What a crazy week it’s been.. I feel like i’ve been windswept trough it all & then dropped off well outside of my comfort zone.

There’s been a lot of changes & adjustments going on & with the added task of home schooling, the weight of responsibility is feeling pretty heavy right about now.
Although I’ve never had to take on the role of Teacher/Quarentiner, Shmoo (my daughter) has been used to me working from home for a while, so I thought it might be helpful to offer my approach to tackling the Work/Life Balance.

The Plan:

Address the Elephant in The Room.
“It’s been a long time since Mummy was at school, so you’re going to have to remind me how this works.”

Be frank with your kids. There’s no shame in being honest with your child about your lack of experience as a teacher.
Our kid’s teachers trained for a long time to develop the skills and patience needed to teach, so to kick this “Home Schooling” thing off, I thought it best to address this with Shmoo.

When we first heard the schools were closing, we talked about what “home schooling” might be like; the best bits & the worst bits.
I told Shmoo that she might have to remind me from time to time that she is just 8 & that she’s at complete liberty to tell me if I’m being impatient or an unhelpful teacher.
I told her that sometimes I might get frustrated too because of the work I have to do, but that the frustration is going to be about the situation, not about my feelings towards her.
(well.. most of the time ;p)

Collaborate with your Child.
This builds cooperative, working relationships.

I asked Shmoo what she might miss most about school and if I’m honest, I half expected her to stop at “playing with her friends”.
But she went on to tell me she’ll miss little things like; Assembly, Reading hour, Newsround, Helping the dinner lady...
These little things that keep your children engaged are all things that you can factor into your Home Schooling routines.

Let them guide you and they’ll show you what works best for them and they’ll also be a lot more invested in their studies. So far it’s been decided that Shmoo will be holding assembly once a week where we’ll be discussing topics out of the “Suggestion box” that she’s gonna make for our “Home School” next week.

Don’t get Stagnant!
Our sense of Wellbeing depends on how we function & feel in the world.

The temptation might be to sleep in, stay in our Pjs and binge on Netflix, but the novelty of this freedom will wear off and then you’re just stuck in a bad routine with a sluggish mindset.
This is how boredom sets in and life can begin to feel a little stagnant, disorganised and defeatist.

This weekend, we’ve arranged to sit down and draft out what a “normal school/office day” so when Monday comes around, we get up with the same intention towards the week as we always have.
Having a weekly structure will not only benefit your productivity, but also your’s & your family’s Wellbeing.
A sense of security, accomplishment & direction are essential to functioning & feeling well.

“To-Do” Boards.
My daughter throws a million and one new activities “to do” at me every 3 minutes it often goes in one ear & out the other. Get your kids t write their ideas down. That way, they don’t feel ignored & you’ve got a go-to stash of ideas when they need entertaining.

As parents and caregivers, our children look to us for guidance. We spend most of our interactions with or children, serving their needs.
From a child’s perspective, life does revolve around them so depending on your child’s age, they might not be aware of how much we’re juggling- so be mindful of this.
You don’t want them to interpret your business as a lack of interest in them.

Pin/White/Black boards are your friend.

To them, being “Off” can mean just that & they’re little journalists when it comes to sniffing out things that interest them.
Shmoo keeps track of all the weird & wonderful ideas/experiments she has on her Pin board. This not only means that we have plenty of her ideas to keep her occupied with, but it also encourages children to develop a sense of autonomy and insight into their personal preferences.

Set up an “Office Space”
This helps cultivate a calmer environment and will set boundaries in the house around “working from home”

For those of us who are working from home, this arrangement has to factor in our working schedules too.
During the school holidays, ive found it useful to set up Shmoo with her own “office space” so she can work alongside me, rather than running rogue through the house.
Setting up an “Office Space” will cultivate a calmer environment and help set boundaries in the house around “working hours”

Study Groups!
We’re all in this together

We’re all in this together, so that means your child’s classmate, cousins, friends (& their parents) will be in the same position.
Set up skype/facetime study groups so your children can work on “lessons” together. This will not only give you a little break, but it will also nurture a sense of community & support which are vital, basic Wellbeing Needs.

The Economy may crash, but lets not let it take our Wellbeing with it.
We’re very fortunate that no matter our proximity, we’ve never been more connected!
So lets get communicating with each other.

Above all TRANSPARENCY in communication is key!
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