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The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a game-changer worldwide as schools, businesses, gyms, museums, restaurants and other public places across the world have closed down. As parents whether you’re single or have a partner, we’ve been faced with the challenge of balancing work from home while we homeschool our kids. Then you have parents like me that don’t have the option to work from home because first responders and medical workers have to go to work during COVID-19 pandemic or any major emergencies. So how do we balance working while homeschooling our kids?
Child Care For First Responders
For many of us, this has been the second-week families across the country have been forced into this situation as offices and schools have shut down. This was our first week since Catholic schools started their remote learning this Monday, and wow it hasn’t been easy. Not only as first responders but as a mom for our kid’s sake we can’t panic. From this point forward it’s going to be a day-to-day process depending on the crisis but we all have to work together. If you’re a first responder, medical provider and need childcare, on March 23, 2020, The New York City Department of Education created a Regional Enrichment Center for children of first responders, health care providers, transit workers, and other key personnel who need to go to work. In New Jersey, the New York Giants is sponsoring childcare program in the YMCA for NJ Emergency responders. The New York Giants have funded a new program to provide childcare at no cost to emergency response personnel for the next 10 weeks. For states outside New York City, check your local listings for locations that your town is utilizing for children of first responders. Remember we are in this together.
If you are a working parent that has to work during the COVID-19 and have childcare, establish a routine. I’m sure with all that’s going on the babysitter will be on board helping you make this transition easy for you and your kids. With all the sudden change it’s is important to keep your kids’ schedule as consistent as possible. It will be a challenge but you will need to transfer the structure of the school day to a home setting. We don’t know what awaits us the weeks ahead, you will need to create an organized structure during these difficult times. It’s the only way you will have some sanity and be able to stay on track especially with your kid’s schoolwork. As a mom always on the go, I depend on a physical planner. It will be a good idea to use a classwork planner to keep track of your kid’s coming assignments that their teacher post.
As of now, we don’t know if the kids will actually go back to school for the remainder of the school year since NYS is on pause until further notice, among other states and countries. But in the meantime, we have to try our best to include blocks of activity in the same structure manner for learning and play they usually get at school. Remote learning is a bit intense rather than sitting inside the classroom, so you would want to have an organization system in place for your kid’s schoolwork. A binder or portfolio is a good way to start you can label them per subject.
- Social Studies
- Book Reports
- School Letter
- Other items you deem important
3. Art kit to keep busy when they are not doing homework.
4. Portable Lap Desk is a versatile desk or workspace for writing or using laptops on the floor, in a chair, or outdoors. Perfect for homeschooling and tight spaces when there’s no space for a desk.
5. Printer you will definitely need, some teachers will require the work to be scanned so they can see the kids completed the work. You will need a versatile all-in-one printer. It will also be handy for mom and dad working from home as well.
Working From Home Parents
During these difficult times, the situation feels impossible for either a single or two-parent home, where the parents have to work from home. Ten times harder if you are a single parent with special needs kids. You will get through this. Sit your kid’s down and explain to them the best as you can so they can have some understanding of what’s going on. From this point on you and your family are a team. I don’t even watch the news anymore because all of this seems surreal within days, of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak it happened just like that, people losing their jobs, families experiencing possible homelessness, no daycare available, lack of technology for remote learning online. The financial burden and worries due to all business closed is a lot to take in and handle at the same time.
Under normal circumstances, you have to give yourself time to adjust but during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we had no choice to set up our homes into a homeschooling setting within days of the outbreak. In the meantime, here are a few ideas on how to balance work and homeschool your kids while you keep your sanity. If you have kids in different grades don’t panic, their teacher will send them their work through google classroom, Classlink, Clever, goformative, edulastic, or whatever portal their school is utilizing. So each of your kids will have their independent work.
If your kids don’t have a desk at home where they normally do their homework at home, then transform your dining table into a student desk. I had to turn a portion of my dining table into a student desk where he does his remote learning online. I just recently purchase a file folder organizer to have all his books, pens, pencils and any school supplies he needs on hand. You can transform any small space into a remote class headquarters.
Start your day with a prayer, whichever your religious beliefs are starting your day with positive words of the lord or a daily bible verse will make your day go smoother. My kid goes to a private catholic school, they start their day with “Our Father“ and ” Hail Mary” prayer. These are difficult times and since 9/11 I’ve never experienced anything significantly hard and depressing like this. Allow God to walk into your home at the beginning of the day to give you strength for what lies ahead.
Set up each kid work station separately from others (only if you can). If each kid has their own tablet or laptop set them apart from each other in the dining table of the kitchen counter, whatever works for you. If your child doesn’t have a computer, check with their school. Most school are making sure every child is equipped with a computer. During this difficult time, we have to make the best of the situation for our kid’s sake. So if you have older kids, they can do their work independently while you work with the younger one. It can give you a break in between working from home.
Don’t stress yourself in googling resources for their school work. Teachers have been working day and night setting up the classwork via remote learning. Utilize the resources that your kid’s teacher/school has provided for that week and do not get overwhelmed with the resources online. If, is not part of your kid’s school requirements don’t stress yourself. Let your child teacher guide you in the school work for their remote learning, they will be extremely helpful if any doubts or questions you may have. Below I included some links that my kid teacher shared with us that can be helpful for kids and non-schooler to keep them busy with educational printables.
Create an assignment checklist of what has to be done and what is due. If you don’t have one invest in a whiteboard they are a lifesaver. It helps to keep your kid’s task on track without having them to ask what’s next and the best part that it is a sanity-saver for sure!
Create a consistent schedule that will work for you and your kids. KIDS NEED A ROUTINE, especially if they are not used to homeschool. They will try everything they can to get out of school, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You have to transfer the structure of the school day to a home setting so their only concentration is in school work. You can break it throughout the day and it doesn’t have to be eight hours straight of school work. Below I will share the schedule we created for our son at home.
Normally we don’t allow our son to play video games on a school week, but under these unusual circumstances, we incorporated it into his daily schedule. The teacher’s packages are a lot but we break it throughout the week, to give him a chance to work on it at a slow pace and not feel overwhelmed. During his break, he can stretch, use the bathroom or even just watch TV for a few, kids need to take a break. Quiet time, he utilizes this time to read, or even take a nap, also reading them a kid would be great. I included CHORES, he has to help out around the house that chores have to be done. For our afternoon walks, if the weather permits it, this is the time I get home from work and we go for a walk with our puppy. It’s hard for him because my husband and I work since we’re both first responders. My husband is in charge of the morning block and I take over the afternoon when I get home since I work morning and he works night. This is so far working for us until the 12 hours tours take place.
We all need a break so does your child, it really can help out so much. Allow them to take breaks throughout the day so they can unwind, go to the bathroom and stretch out. It will be a good idea if you will set a lunchtime and recess time. If you have a back yard they can go out there play, run and take a bit of fresh air. If you don’t have a back yard set up recess either in their playroom or room.
Designate a quiet room where you will be making phone calls, conference calls and video calls. Remember we are all in this together, and there is help out there and good trustworthy people that are willing to virtually help. Many teachers and homeschool moms have Facebook Groups packed with tons of information and tips during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take things one day at a time and remember this COVID-19 pandemic is a day-by-day basis that we are ALL learning as each day goes by.
Below you can find printable resources of activities for kids and non-schooler to keep them busy especially while your older kids do their remote learning. Some links are for older kids in case they need help or more practice.
Nickelodeon has many printables activities that you can print and hand out to your kids for some fun.
Common Core Sheets – is a resource for worksheets on the web for all subjects especially those familiar with common core. The sheets are so much more comprehensive than other sites, this page was designed to help walk you through some of the features.
Discovery Education is digital curriculum resources for grades K–12.
Education.com has tons and tons of printable educational worksheets. Their worksheets are packed with step by step lessons for grades pre-k to 5th grade. I love this site, this is the site I will print out worksheets and my son and I did lap books.
Scholastic “Learn at Home” offers FREE virtual learning resources for grades pre-k to 9+.Keep Kids Learning at The Scholastic Store Online! Take Up to 30% Off Top Activities, Book Sets & More. Shop Now!
Highlights for Children offers all kinds of educational books, magazines, puzzles and they have school success packs to keep your kid’s busyUse code EXTRA10 for an extra 10% OFF Highlights School Success packs! Get 2 Months of ABCmouse.com for only $5!
As a nation, we are facing a difficult time during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Parents are struggling to balance work, homeschool, and self-care while trying not to panic. We just need to try to do our best, until all of this slowly start going back to normal. Don’t stress, I know is easier said than done but the kids will be alright. Please stay safe and maintain social distance. Please stay safe and stay home. I pray that the COVID-19 pandemic stop spreading.
If you need family resources for coping during the COVID-19 click here. They offer so many resources and a Facebook Group that will help many to cope during this difficult time. Mayo Clinic also has a very informative resource Q&A podcast: Mental Health and Coping during the COVID-19 crisis. If you know of anyone that’s alone during the pandemic, please reach out. Reach out to loved ones, friends and those that are alone they can use some cheering up.