Homeschooling Parents: This is What a Teacher Needs You to Know

Homeschooling during COVID-19 school closures isn't easy for teachers, parents, or kids. Veteran teacher Heather shares 7 tips for parents on how to make it a meaningful, lower-stress scenario for everyone involved.

how creating a structured but flexible schedule will help you teach and parent better

Teaching and being a parent used to be two completely different roles. You were a teacher during the day and a mom or dad in the evening. Now that the schools are closed, these two jobs have collided. We have to find a way to homeschool our own kids while setting up distance learning for our students. Creating a schedule for your day is the best way to make sure everything gets done.

Tips for Creating a Schedule

You are now faced with the challenge of homeschooling your own children and teaching your students. To do this effectively, you need to set aside separate times in your day for these activities. Here are some tips to help you develop a schedule that works for everyone.

Figure Out What Works Best for Your Own Kids

No matter what your school district administrators tell you, your own kids always need to be your top priority. You have to survive the next few months with them at home, and that will be very difficult if you don’t build a schedule that works for them.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • When do my kids do their best work? Are they freshest in the morning when they first wake up or do they wake up grumpy and need some time to relax before starting schoolwork?
  • Do they work best in one long stretch of time or with frequent breaks?
  • Is there a specific time I have to deliver instruction to my students or can I do it any time?

Make a List of Everything You Need to Accomplish In a Day

Before you assign times for things, make a list of everything you need to do. Your list should include your work for school, your kids’ assignments, and household tasks. Next to each item, write an estimate for how long it will take.

Then, create the time slots for your schedule. Decide what time your day will start and what time it will end. Fill in jobs that have to be done at a certain time. Then, add the other things from your list.

Build In Breaks

Having breaks is so important, both for your kids and for you. Add those breaks into your schedule.

Here are some ideas for break times:

  • Snack break(s)
  • Lunch
  • Take a walk
  • Naptime if your kids are young
  • Quiet time if your kids are older
  • Outside play

While your kids are playing outside, napping, or having quiet time, you can accomplish some work for school. If you are delivering lessons to your students live through videoconferencing, try to schedule them during these times. If you’re giving your students assignments digitally or through packets, use this time to plan their work for the next week. This is also time you can use to check emails, plan with your team, or grade submitted work.

Finalize Your Schedule

Here is a sample schedule that is working well for my family so far.

sample schedule for a homeschooling teacher

Try Your Schedule For a Day and See How It Goes

Once your schedule is created, hang it somewhere in your house where you can refer to it often throughout the day. Try to stick with it as closely as possible for a day. See what works well and what needs to be adjusted.

More than likely everything isn’t going to work out perfectly the first time you try your new schedule. It’s going to be a work in progress for a while. Make adjustments as you find things that work better for your family.

Be Flexible and Be Kind to Yourself

This is a new way of life for all of us. It’s going to take a while to adjust to your new schedule. Take it one day at a time and don’t get upset if everything doesn’t get done. There will be days when your kids are grumpy and don’t cooperate. Some days your work will take longer than others. It’s okay to turn on a movie for the kids or let them have some technology time.

Remember, you are trying to do two difficult jobs at the same time. Being a homeschooling parent and an online teacher simultaneously is a huge undertaking. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t always go as planned. Just do your best, and remember that this crazy schedule is only temporary. From your efforts, both your children and your students will be prepared when the schools open again.

What's your schedule looking like these days? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tara Dusko is a third grade teacher in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. She's spent the past 14 years finding engaging ways to make her students love learning. When she's not planning lessons for her classroom, she is spending time with her husband and two children or trying out new recipes in the kitchen. Get some tips for reducing the stress of teaching on her blog, Teach Without Tears.

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