Home schooling is hard. And I’ve discovered that home schooling while trying to stay on top of your own work and care for a baby (and sometimes your three year old too) is basically just carnage and the best that anyone can hope for is that we all just scrape through the day alive and fed.
But this is the reality millions of us find ourselves in, trying to balance teaching our children at home with getting sh*t done. So how are we doing it?
I chatted to several parents who are juggling the chaos of WHF with home schooling in lockdown 3.0. We asked how they’re coping with managing their job and the job of home teacher and when they think the schools should return.
Jamie Baird – Steeps One Shot
Magda Wilcock – Founder of Valentina’s Minis
Lyndsey Lee – LCL Virtual PA
I am used to working from home as I serve my clients remotely anyway as a business owner and virtual assistant. I had a set routine and managed my day effectively to complete client work and my own business’s needs. During the first Lockdown home schooling was my only focus as almost overnight my work dried up. Suddenly my husband was still out at work and I was stuck at home with my 8 & 2 year old. We managed an hour or three every day but very quickly found it unbearably tough with a toddler at home to stay focused and to keep my eldest motivated to do the work set by the school. This time round, luckily the nursery is still open and my toddler disappears between the hours of 9 & 3. Husband is still out at work but now my business is thriving, all of my clients are very much “business as usual” this time round.
The challenge this time is managing our day and finding that balance between school work and client work. Most of her tasks are set out on a platform called Seesaw and we have to submit everything through there. The teachers have done amazing video lessons and set tasks that have to be completed on the platform. Here lies problem one. The only working tablet we have at home is too old to support the platform used by the school, phones are too small to see the work clearly, and the only way we can access the work is through my work laptop. This means while she is watching a lesson for 20-30mins, I still can’t get on with any of my own work. So we have to time block. We dedicated the first 3 hours of the morning to solely focus on Home-school tasks. I sit with my daughter and go through tasks set, helping her out as much as I can. Then from midday she sits behind me at the dining table with a notebook and pen and works through any tasks that she can get on with by herself, although it’s very rare that I’m not asked to assist on even the simplest of tasks. I have to try to squeeze as much of my client work into the 3 hours of the afternoon I have left before collecting my youngest from nursery. Anything I don’t get completed then waits until my husband is home from his job in the evening. He takes over with the kids, cooks dinner and gets the youngest ready for bed, all whilst I remain seated at my desk working through the rest of my client tasks and if it’s not too late by the time I’m done, I try to spend a bit of time focused on my own business. Even with our time blocking in place she is falling further and further behind on the tasks set out by the school. We simply do not have enough time in the day to complete it all. I’m very concerned that this will affect her abilities to keep up with her peers when she finally returns to school. Will this have a knock on affect on her ability when it comes to her year 6 SATs? In this respect I’m grateful I only have the one to home-school as I would dread to think how I would keep my business running and provide for my family if my other daughter was a couple of years older and already in school too.
I’m torn on when the schools should reopen if I’m honest. On one hand I’d like them open as soon as possible so my daughter can get the education she so desperately needs but on the other hand, the fear of the evolving virus and no vaccinations for school staff in sight, makes me want to keep her home and safe in our bubble. I do think that February half term was maybe a bit ambitious, I still feel the 8th of March maybe too early to ensure everyone’s safety but I sit here now praying that they are back before the summer term and not out of school as long as they were the first lockdown.
Lyndsey Lee is business owner at LCL Virtual PA and helps business owners manage their memberships and their daily admin. www.lclvirtualpa.co.uk
Emma Rowley – VA Mentor
Emma is a VA Mentor to new & aspiring Virtual Assistants, helping them start & grow their own profitable businesses.
Homeschooling and WFH – the impossible task
While our piece is only anecdotal takes from a handful of multi tasking parents, it’s clear that home schooling and working from home is a near impossible task. Are we at increased risk of burnout? Stress?
Of course, Covid has proven such a phenomenal force to reckon with. But I’m a firm believer in the resilience of Britain’s smallest businesses and here’s hoping that we’re seeing the bounce back soon.