With school closures across the country and many parents working from home, we asked a seasoned, work-from-home pro, our Marketing Director Elise Rogers, how she’s adapting to working remotely with her three boys full time. Below she shares a tool she’s created to keep her oldest son productively engaged and everyone else on task.
This new change in my family’s lives is causing my managerial mentality to go into over-drive, and like any manager, I am tackling this new homeschool lifestyle with a plan.
I have three kids (12, 2 ½ and 7 months old) and while my husband and I are tag-teaming the little ones, we want to be sure my oldest son is engaged and completing his online learning and not spending all his time watching TV or playing video games for the next month or more. Here is some insight I have gathered from creating this process for my own family.
The schedule above is one I have created for my own family. This is, of course, customizable to any at-home situation (you can download a blank schedule here), but this example is the best structure for my son and our priorities, which include:
Breaking up “school time”: It’s important for my family that there’s no more than one hour of school time at a time in order to avoid burnout and promote a balanced focus. My son has seven classes, and two are electives, so I have made six education slots combining the elective time that he could swap each day. For example, practice his cello on Monday, but on Tuesday, spend some time coding for his technology class.
Encouraging Movement: It’s even more important to make time to exercise our bodies while stuck inside. That’s why there are two blocks of exercise or outside time. My son is 12, so he needs to move his body as much as he needs to exercise his brain.
Maintaining Communication: Just as you would connect with your team at work once a day to talk about challenges and victories, I have built in daily check-ins with my son to ensure the plan is working and that he’s sticking to it. I am a big fan of empowering my kids to do things on their own—I refuse to micro manage his day and he really doesn’t want me to anyway—so this framework allows him to stay productive and busy without me having to nag him hourly.
Offering Rewards: If he does everything he’s supposed to and doesn’t interrupt my conference calls, I have added bonus video game time. In our house, video games are only allowed on the weekends, but many parents have suggested that we loosen restrictions around screen time right now, so, I regress.
Finally, my husband and I both are working from home right now while managing THREE kids. One of the best bits of advice I have come across is swapping who is juggling the children in two-hour increments. That way, we each get two-hour time blocks throughout the day where we can focus on an important meeting or project. I’m sure some families could even take advantage of older children to take over an hour or two.
Creating this schedule and working as a team has greatly helped my family’s ability to stay healthy, engaged, and productive while we’re all at home all day.
The team has also been sharing some online articles for adapting our habits and productivity to work from home to make the transition easier. We've collected some of our favorites for you here.