Working at home with kids remote-learning at home, during COVID-19

Working from home

Luckily I have an office with a door that can be closed. Luckily I have been working from home for 19 years so I know the importance of work/life balance, and how to stay focused on my work.

Kids remote-learning at home

I am loving spending all this time with my son, and have learned a lot in the process, but there have also been arguments and the main thing I have learned has been that teachers are saints, and I do not have the patience to be a teacher.

How to get your work done while assisting your kids in their remote learning

We started off with my child working in his ‘workspace’ (computer desk) and me working in my usual office space. It didn’t work out: the interruptions meant I wasn’t getting any work done at all.

Now, I have my child set up at a desk in my office – we are working literally back-to-back – and this works far better than our previous method.

I get up at 5.30 am so I can get some ‘real hours of work’ done before I get my child out of bed for home-schooling. Not recommended. But if you are home-schooling and need to get your own work done some time, somehow, this is the only way. Oh, and I have also waved goodbye to my weekends for the time being: I depend on the weekends to augment my weekly hours of work.

Work/life balance

Work/life what?

The balance I previously strived for, won and enjoyed has fallen off the wagon.

I am zonked out by 10 pm each night. The house is a shambles (though that is pretty normal around here). My partner has been pulling more than his usual weight at home so the dogs get fed, the groceries get bought and the household still ticks over. Amazingly, I haven’t  yet forgotten to feed the humans in my family. But I have forgotten to feed the chooks a few times, and have had to get them off their perches for their afternoon feed. I get time out from my editing work each time I’m interrupted by my child to help him work out his teacher-instructions for literacy and numeracy, or helping him focus on his work instead of looking out the window where the wattlebirds and honey-eaters are munching grevillea blossoms. But my usual relaxing evenings have been cut short by the necessities of sleep and work, and my regular walk has sometimes had to be missed due to time constraints.

How are our kids coping with home-schooling?

My child is coping with social distancing okay. My child has been having Zoom sessions with his cousins, every week. This has helped a lot, keeping loneliness at bay. But he  misses being at school – his friends, and his teachers.

It is easier for kids who have other siblings at home not to get lonely, because they have others to play with. On the other hand, I can see that remote learning would be harder for kids and parents in larger families, because (1) the more children doing remote learning, the more time parents need to spend supervising/helping them, and (2) work spaces need to be set up for all the children, and most family homes just don’t have enough room for that.

Tennis was allowed for the first time, yesterday: the 6-7 kids present were obviously overjoyed to be allowed to be out and with other kids again. They and the coaches had a great time whilst maintaining strict social distancing.

During the whole online learning/home school period, our teachers have been enormously helpful. They check in via phone 2-3 times a week. Next week, child/teacher (and I think child/child) online audiovisual interactions will start and I am sure this will greatly help our kids’ loneliness and feelings of isolation.

Kudos and all respect to our wonderful teachers and school staff for keeping our kids busy, educated and as engaged and happy as possible, during COVID-19.

Flexibility, compromise – and being kind

In COVID-19, accepting (and making sure my family accepts) that I can’t be supermum and superbusinesswoman and superwife all in one, all the time, helps. Accepting that my loved ones are also not super-people, and that my child is actually still a child (not an adult), also helps.

At times like this – and indeed, at any time – the key to success in work/life balance is flexibility, compromise and being kind to one another.

Thank you teachers and school staff!

A shout out to all teachers and school staff and especially ours at South Street Primary School, MoeTHANK YOU!!!!

Proofread by Dee Sansom, On Time Typing, Editing and Proofreading

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