Hello accidental homeschoolers and suddenly workers-from-home! I have been working from home with kids and homeschooling by choice for a long time. I understand the worries. I get the fear. The panic. It isn’t easy. It’s especially not easy because suddenly you don’t have the choice. You’re forced into this position, and that makes things all the more challenging. But there’s a secret I want to share. You can do this. And it’ll probably suck. But that’s ok. You’re doing all you can right now.
Here is what you need to do.
Set the bar low.
Those girls in the circus who can all fold themselves into a single small box. Lower the bar to as low as they can limbo. Now lower it more.
If you can see the bar, it’s still too high.
Also, get rid of the bar entirely.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic. We are out of toilet paper and flour in the stores. Our kids are used to having their minutes planned out for them by our excellent teachers; aka heroes who should get paid a lot more. After that, they are used to going to activities after school and having their minutes scheduled for them there. Then they are used to dinner, free time unwinding playing on tablets, and bedtime, and getting up and doing their schedule again.
We just had all those planned out minutes pulled out from under us. You might still have to work from home with kids, and the kids might still have school from home, but there is a lot of free time to fill in the rest of the minutes. What the heck are we supposed to do?
A key to working at home with kids:
Make Loving Your Goal.
Stop looking at what other moms are doing. Ignore their perfectly lettered blackboards or their watercolor lesson or their adorable little reading nook they created out of a hula hoop last night while their kids were sleeping. Your goal is to snuggle those kids. Don’t think about all the things you think you should be doing. Stop it right now. Just love on your babies. Invite them to participate in your life.
Are you making breakfast? Have one of them help you. Are you doing laundry? Have one of them help you. Are you on a conference call? Have them sit right by you working parallel on something, or let them paint your toenails or let them watch a show. Let them be close.
Be Realistic about Working at Home with Kids:
You are not going to do school at home like the school does school at school. You truly wouldn’t even want to.
Don’t create a schedule.
Touch points in our day are reading in the morning, lunch, clean up / house reset in the afternoon, TV show at 5 pm, dinner, bedtime.
Other real life intentions for working and homeschooling from home with kids
Food, Water, Fresh Air
For you and them! Make sure you’re eating enough protein, drinking enough water (even if it’s been through coffee grounds first!), and that you get outside every day.
Walk down the driveway and back. Stare out the window. Do some arm circles and toe touches. Snuggle someone. Look at silly cat videos. Find things to laugh about. Play games. Have a tickle fight or dance party. Your brain needs the break. You spirit needs the break.
Screen Time When You’re Working from Home
aka Screen Time Usage for Homeschoolers
Screen time has its good and bad, as we all know. In our home, we have screen time for an hour or so starting at 5 pm once the house is cleaned up (home reset). Obviously there are exceptions!
1- Mama is sick
2- Kid is sick
3- Mama accidentally takes a nap
4- Mama absolutely can’t be interrupted
5- Mama just can’t anymore.
We’re In This Together
Everyone has kids popping into calls. Everyone has a mute button. Everyone knows that you’re doing your best. There’s no shame, no judgment. Stop being your worst critic. Stop comparing your insides to everyone else’s outsides. We all know this is hard. Homeschooling is hard. Homeschooling when you had no choice in the matter is harder. Working from home is hard. Working from home with kids around when you don’t get to choose is even worse.
We used to joke that if everyone’s still alive at the end of the day, we can call it a success. That joke is real now. We’re trying to keep everyone alive. You, your kids, your parents, grandparents, people you’ll never know. We’re doing our duty; we’re doing our hard things so that literally people can live.