Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Homeschool Remote Work Survival Tips


MBE partnered with National Today & Top Agency PR for this post

Help for Working Parents With Kids 

As a mom of four kids born within a year who once homeschooled all my children for three full years, I definitely feel your pain about the many ways school closures have impacted parents. I'd also like to reassure you that there is light at the end of this seemingly unending tunnel. That having a hands-on experience educating your own sons and daughters -- even one thrust upon you not by choice, but by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic -- is precious family time together that you will eventually grow to cherish as the new normal way society functions takes hold.

According to this TOP Survey of 400 Americans with school-age children, school closures resulting from the quarantine have presented a new level of challenges, making the usual life balance juggling act that us working parents have experienced for years look like a cake walk. In fact, findings in this study reveal that a full 50% of the millennials surveyed are deeply concerned about job security as they work the second job of teaching kids often at the same time as doing work for their employer.

The good news is with a little patience and ingenuity, working remotely and homeschooling the kids in perfect harmony is doable. 

Pictured below is my own family on a recent safari trip to Africa. Keep reading for the tried and true tips that worked for us while I was their homeschool teacher at the same time I was working remotely from home.

African Family Elephant Safari

Daily Tips to Balance Work and Homeschool

1. Conduct Meetings When Kids Aren't Around

Try to schedule phone and Zoom meetings when the household is quiet. I've never been a morning person, but when my kids were younger, I was motivated just by getting up a full hour before them in the morning, because it gave me a head start on my day and I was able to hold work conversations without unprofessional interruptions. Aiming to make important calls and do meetings while kids are napping or your spouse (or nanny) has taken them out of the house for some fresh air is also a strategy that will work wonders in your favor.

2. Set up Your Desk Near Your Child's

When I was homeschooling my kids, I turned our toy room into a classroom by moving each of our four children's desks there, positioning my own desk in front. This made it easy for me to continue working on my computer while I could keep an eye on them at all times and they could not leave the room without passing by my desk.

3. Encourage Your Child to be More Independent

You'd be surprised at what even preschoolers can do by themselves, if you just give them a chance to show you what they're capable of. Depending on the age, abilities and attention span of your own kids, ask your child to sit quietly and give them one assignment to complete at a time. Just like in the classroom, if they need to get up, have a question or need help, ask them to raise their hand. 

4. Team Teach With Your Spouse or Caregiver

If both parents are working from home, take turns giving each other a break from teaching. If your strong suit is writing, take the initiative to help your child by reviewing their work with them. But if you're not great in math, but your partner is a number cruncher, why not share each of your strengths with your child?

5. Take Frequent Breaks

You probably don't sit all day at your desk and so you shouldn't expect your children to so, either. In fact, it's a good idea to take 15-30 minute breaks at least 2-3 times a day (as often as hourly, if necessary) so you and your kids can take some time off for some physical exercise and fresh air, weather permitting. Recess time not only is fun and relieves pent up energy, it bonds you with your child as well as helps both of you sharpen your minds and allows everyone to come back to their desks feeling refreshed, read to work and be more productive.

6. Have a Sit-down Family Dinner

This was my favorite time of day when I homeschooled my kids because it was a chance to enjoy a leisurely meal and lively conversation.  BTW, we've always had a no electronic devices at the table rule so we can all fully engage and participate. From a very young age, I also encouraged my kids to take turns helping plan and cook meals for the family, so they really had the opportunity to take ownership of mealtime. Now with two of my adult children (both in grad school) and our new son-in-law sheltering in place here at home now, dinnertime is something we all enjoy.

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Please Comment

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the multitude of things your family can do to make homeschooling kids more rewarding for them, while creating a more productive remote work environment for you. With positive approaches like the ones I've suggested, this can be a win-win situation for everyone (including your employer who will be impressed with how well behaved your kids are when you're in meetings). 
Us parents are in this together for the long run and we have so much to learn from each other.  Please feel free to share your own strategies for family survival at home during these challenging times by leaving a comment below. 

Thanks to National Today and Top Agency PR for making this post possible


  1. Working from home and homeschooling has its challenges. It is hard to find quiet times in my house.

  2. All I can say is that I am so glad we have been homeschooling prior to the quarantine. Our school year is done. I cannot imagine distance learning, I feel bad for the teachers, students and parents.

  3. We've definitely faced a number of challenges since the kids have been distance learning. These are great ways to make it easier.

  4. It has been a challenge with my teenage son, keeping him on task. Thankfully he has a light load academically this semester.

  5. Did you say patience? 🤣 These are some great tips and reminders. I'm all about the co-teaching and lots of breaks.

  6. These are really helpful tips! Thank yo so much for sharing!

  7. Those are some wonderful tips especially to those new to homeschooling. My kids are homeschooled as well and it definitely has it's up's and downs.

  8. These are great tips. Thank you for sharing. Homeschooling is a challenge for all of us. I still struggle with getting all done throughout the day - kids, school, dinner, lunch, breakfast, grocery shopping, fun time, family time and ME-TIME. It's exhausting. But recently I let my kids be more independent. It's more bearable now :)