Are you feeling the burn out from transitioning from a working mom to a homeschooling/working from home/stay at home mom? Are you being totally crushed? Are you dying? Are you wishing you could turn down this promotion that didn’t come with a pay raise?
Trust me. You’re not alone.
I’m watching my Facebook and Instagram feed fill with people baking, doing DIY projects, organizing their homes, and worst of all… DEEP CLEANING! Meanwhile, I’m over here just trying to wrap my arms and my brain around homeschooling three elementary age kids. It feels like there is not a single extra moment anywhere in my schedule. Actually, I have less time now than I did before everyone came home.
I had been working from home for several months already, so that part didn’t change. But working from home with your whole family hanging out around you is a completely different animal. Not only just hanging out around, but needing guidance, tech support, and general redirection… it’s a whole lot.
I’m grieving my peace and quiet.
I wouldn’t have classified myself as a super organized or scheduled person leading up to this. However, I realize now that everything has been disrupted that I wasn’t actually doing too bad. Sadly, my daily routines have been blasted to oblivion and with school canceled for the rest of the year they’re not coming back anytime soon.
So, to help me save my sanity, maintain a homeschooling schedule as well as my workload at my 40 hour a week job I’ve figured out a system. I wrote it out here AND I created a free printable so you can try it out and see if it works for you.
Step 1: Lower Your Expectations
I was going to make this the last step but I think we need to start here. Let me tell you right off, this is an impossible new job that you have been given. Teachers are incredible people who go to school for a long time to be able to do this very specific job. It would be insane to think you could take it over and do it perfectly at a moment’s notice. You won’t be perfect and that’s OK!
Also, you’re now basically working two jobs, possibly simultaneously. Add to that you’re managing your own emotional needs, stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. Holy shit, woman. Give yourself a damn hug and tell yourself something nice. Be gentle with yourself if you’re not performing at your usual rock star level.
You may be grieving the time you used to have to yourself (I know I am). Or the milestones that were upcoming this spring. Graduations, continuation ceremonies, proms, and class parties. It’s OK. In February we were all very different people than we are today. Be gentle and kind to yourself as you grieve the human that came before. We can both grieve and pick up the struggle and keep moving. Friends, we are strong like that.
Step 2: Get a Homeschool Planner
The very first week my kids were home I had an email from Simplified Planners come through. They were running a $10 special on their 2019-2020 teacher planners. I definitely jumped on that sale, thank you Emily Ley for the hook up!
Jobs require tools. This planner is a tool. I get that many of our kids have online resources to work with but trust me, a written plan helps!
The simplified teacher planner has a monthly calendar and weekly breakdowns, perfect for a homeschool planner too! The week planner pages have six columns and an area on the side for notes. This worked great for me because I have three kids and I was able to give them each two columns. There are also areas in the front to save login info… which has been HUGE for me! No longer do I have to track someone down for a Schoology or Clever login.
You’ll also notice I have a specific color assigned for each kid. Guys… I don’t mean to be a show off but I feel incredibly proud of this color system. If all goes well I may also incorporate stickers *gasp*.
I have liked this teacher planner method so much I even created a free printable that mirrors this style. You can find it in the Free Resource Library (which is under Freebies! in the main nav). The sheet I created has all the sections you need to follow the next set of steps below.
Step 3: Create a Timeline for Work to be Done
Alright, so this is by no means a perfect system… but here’s what is working for me! I said above that my kids have two columns each in the weekly planner pages. I divide those by AM and PM and then we split their work accordingly.
Here’s my reasoning. When we first started out we were trying to knock the school work out in the first three hours of the morning. I thought we could just sit and do work until noon and then everyone would be released for lunch and “recess”. However, I have discovered this doesn’t work for me.
My kids tend to lose focus, ask questions, get stuck, wander off. Meanwhile, my morning brain is my highest functioning brain time. I was losing time I needed to do a good job at work and we were swirling on school work issues and nobody was getting anything done. It eventually became a nightmare.
So I adjusted. Now I have each kid check into their online homeroom and give me a run through on what they need to do today. Then I ask them what items are easy and fun and they want to get done on their own in the morning. I add those to the AM column under their name. Next I ask what items look hard and could potentially require supervision, intense discussion, or tech support (so much tech support happening). Those go in the PM slot so we can get to them after dinner when both parents are available.
I add notes if we experienced an issue that stopped us from finishing an assignment. I also make my kid email their teacher when they hit something they can’t complete. Like, I make them write their own email. Which may not be a breakthrough for many of you, but it was for me. Realizing areas they can be independent takes burden off my shoulders!
I have a 5th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader at my house. They all have the ability to work independently but for varying lengths of time, especially that 1st grader. I can’t imagine parents who are doing all of this AND taking care of super little guys. All the loving support vibes coming your way if you’re in that boat, you’re amazing!
That is the system we are using right now. So far it is working and we are trucking along waiting for the next thing to change. How are you doing with all the life changes? How is quarantine treating you?
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