Working From Home While Homeschooling!

There are plenty of articles about working from home while your kids are at home, especially since coronavirus, so I don’t feel it is necessary to rehash all of that material. One thing that is hardly ever touched on is working from home as a homeschooling parent. Yes, that pretty much means you are working two full-time jobs. It’s not as easy as it seems. If your child has special needs, it is even harder!

The first step, I believe, is to encourage and enable your child to be a more independent learner. As homeschoolers, we tend to give our kids the huge benefit of a parent acting as a full-time teacher or tutor who spends all of our efforts on one or very few children. While this technique DOES help with comprehension and learning the materials, it DOES NOT help them with independent learning. It also does not leave us much time for doing other things, like working.

A friend of mine who is a teacher, certified in early literacy, taught me a special lesson: teach your child how to learn and then let them loose on the world! If you foster a love of learning, they will learn more independently than you can teach in a single day.

My son, in particular, is a special needs child. He is on the autism spectrum, has dyscalculia and dysgraphia, and has taken quite a long time to become an independent learner. He is an outright genius when it comes to puzzles and military history, things he is very passionate about. He struggles with math and anything that requires him to write. Before he could become an independent learner with math in particular, he had to become an expert at researching, finding resources, and utilizing those resources effectively. Now that he has gotten those skills down pat, he rarely, if ever, interrupts my work to ask math questions. A few times a week, I can go over the work he has done and find areas that he needs to work on. We discuss it, and he does what he needs to.

Utilizing teaching and learning tools is something that is 100% necessary, at least for me. I know some homeschooling parents who provide their kids with workbooks, textbooks, and lesson outlines (usually on printouts) and leave them to do the work. I even know parents who work outside the home and homeschool their teens using this method. If that works for you and your kid, that’s awesome! My kid does not work well with textbooks and worksheets. We rely heavily on Khan Academy for resources. I like that I can set up assignments for things he needs to work on, and course mastery goals for the subjects he is better with. The course mastery goals allow him to learn the materials more at his own pace, as long as he gets it completed before the due date.

Our computer room/office layout is reflective of his parent-supported independent learning, with my workspace close enough to slide over and help if needed, but allowing him the space and freedom to handle his own tasks as he needs to. My space is on the right of the room, his is on the left.

He has reminder sheets on his walls nearby for reference, and all of his notebooks and other resources are within arm’s reach. There are even snacks nearby and easy access to just about anything he needs throughout the day.

The most important is mindset! If you are frustrated, your kid(s) will pick up on that and do poorly with their own tasks. If you are upset, they will be more concerned with you than with their lessons. If you are mentally and emotionally balanced, focused, and can manage to smile every now and then, it will make a huge difference both in your own work and in your child’s learning!

Communication is an important key. Make sure that they understand the importance of independent work/learning, and are willing to show the same level of dedication that you are.

Comfort is another important aspect. Physical comfort helps both of you to be more productive, but also mental and emotional comfort. Do you work better with music, while your child learns better in a quiet environment? Make sure that you discuss these things with your kids and come up with a suitable arrangement that works for both of you. Lucky for me, we both enjoy the same music and are both more productive with music playing. We are both night owls and work better in the afternoon than early morning. These are all very important things to understand and set up ahead of time to have a productive and enjoyable experience working while your child is learning.

If your child learns best on their own with lesson plans and resources, make sure they have what they need before you sit down to work on your projects. If they need a hand more often than not, make sure they understand when it is and is not okay to interrupt you, and make sure you are close enough for them to ask for your help when they need it. Most importantly, remain supportive and attentive to your child’s needs. Everyone has a rough day or a day when they are having trouble focusing. Kids included. Give them the freedom they need to learn as effectively as possible. You might be surprised at how much it helps with your work in the long run!


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Hi, I’m Kristen

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