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July 24, 2020

The Juggle: Working from Home While Homeschooling

If you follow Diana Blinkhorn on Instagram at @mrsblinks or her blog thegrayruby.com, you probably know she’s been homeschooling her three girls since before homeschooling became a part of our pandemic vocabulary. We wanted to know: How does she do it while running a successful blog? Here’s what she had to share with us:

1) My biggest piece of advice for parents starting this homeschool journey would be to manage your expectations. For your children and for yourself.

Homeschooling is not replicating the classroom at home. I see a lot of parents who feel they are failing because they have those high expectations. I was one of those parents when I first started out. You are not expected to create a complex curriculum or engage with them every minute of the day. You don’t need an 8-hour day of learning. When you work one-on-one with your kids, you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Create a routine and a healthy balance. Set up incentives (earning rewards will help so much). Be consistent. Enjoy your time with them. Do activities you enjoy. Don’t forget to have fun and laugh. Take time to yourself to fill your cup! Be kind to yourself.

2) I rely so much on my routine. Not a schedule, but a routine. If I hold myself too much to a schedule with beginning times and restrictions, the demands of it can lead to a lot of failed expectations. Instead I like to work in blocks: 

  • 20 minutes for a math lesson
  • 30 minutes to answer emails for work
  • 15 minutes for a reading lesson 
  • 30 minutes of work
  • 10 minutes for snack time

I try to check off as many of these time blocks as possible while also dealing with the curveballs that come with being home all day with your kids. The more consistent I stay to my block routine, the more I see my girls thrive. They know what to expect and understand the boundaries of school time and my work time as well.

Do I get interrupted during my block? Definitely. But I’ve set the expectations that this is mommy’s time to work and that we can do something fun after.

Try to keep these blocks under an hour. Yes, it’s not the most convenient to keep stopping in the middle of work, but if you have younger kids it will be harder for them to keep their attention for long periods. The whole point is to focus less on the time of day and more on how long you want to work on a specific task. Maybe it’s 30 minutes play and 30 minutes work. Just be consistent.

NEW: Diana has put together an amazing e-book/guide to help you navigate this new normal! Check it out now: Homeschool Beginner’s Guide

Diana Blinkhorn homeschooling


Our contributors share their top tips: 

momAnna Tataris De Jesus, Family Travel Contributor and Facebook @TheGreatEscapePlan

Moms are Superheroes. We find powers we didn’t know we had in the toughest times. My superpower during all of this has been keeping a positive mindset and making it a positive experience for the kids. We set up desks next to each other and created a fun working/learning space together. This included computers, school supplies and a yoga mat for P.E. I even let them pick one stuffed animal or a toy to sit on their desk to bring them joy. We also took 10-15-minute brain breaks throughout the day by going outside to play in the backyard, just to smell the fresh air. We painted pictures of nature together. And last, but not least, we talked about gratitude every day. We took a few minutes to say, “I have gratitude for _____ because____.” It’s amazing how doing this helps the mind continue to focus on the positive even in the toughest times.


momSheriss Crosskey, Founder and Owner of TampaBayMoms.com 

Sheriss had four tips to share:

  1. I would stress the importance of self-care and focusing on you. Work on getting enough exercise, eating right, staying hydrated and making sleep a priority. 
  2. Keep a visual calendar, with reminders of important events and appointments.
  3. Communicate everything! My daughter’s teacher would send a plan of the week’s lessons Sunday night. This way my husband and I could effectively plan our schedules with her schoolwork in mind.
  4. Provide attention when you can. My daughter and my husband began evening bike rides. It became their “thing.” She and I ate lunch together. I began looking forward to my lunch dates.

 

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