I hope that your home continues to be your favorite place to live, laugh, love, and play. I get that a lot of us are still trying to do ALL THE THINGS. For many of us, that now includes in-home online learning for our kids as well as working from home.
So my question for you is, how is that working? Do you have a system that is meeting your family's needs, or are you spinning and looking for some guidance?
In our home, we have a son attending online learning and adults working from home.
And with four people in the house much of the time, there is often a feeling of frustration. At our home, every day is different; some days easy peasy. We got this. Other days, not so much.
Below is a list of ideas to help guide you and your kids to a successful at-home learning experience. Oh, and these tips work well for grownups too.
1. Dedicated workspace - whether you and your kids are working/ learning from home or attending in-school learning, you and your students will need a dedicated workspace in your home. Establish an area that will be the workstation for your student(s). That may be a desk, the kitchen table, or even a coffee table wherever that space is have them use it consistently. Include the items and supplies that may be needed in/near this space. Consider including a rolling cart or an over the door pantry or shoe holder to have supplies ready. This will help minimize the desire to mosey around the house looking for supplies and distractions.
2. Mind dump – once a week, best practice on Sunday before the school week gets underway. Make a list of EVERYTHING that needs to get
This process may feel strange with younger students, who will need your guidance, but by making lists at a young age, it will become part of their routine. It will build confidence and independence.
So you think you listed everything. Wait… give yourself an extra few minutes; you will add more items.
Examples of categories may include- school, work, personal, chores.
Prioritize your list and your time! Once you are sure you have addressed everything, use a technique called time blocking.
3. Time blocking- Is a pre-scheduled time that specific projects will get done.
Be specific and focused. Do not blur blocks of time with a variety of things on the to-do list. Within these blocked times, your list of priorities for that category will take place.
Schools set school time for many students but still block that time on your calendar and add other items for the list around that.
Consider writing that out on a whiteboard or a printable calendar and allow your kids to fill it in in a time block style. It will give them guidance and a bit of control filling the calendar in.
4. Color coding - Adding different colors to your calendar to differentiate classes, tasks, activities will go along way. Yet, another form of visual organizing. I love it!!
5. Timer – Use a visual timer that will sound when time is up!
Have an actual stopwatch, event timer. Not on the phone, this will let other distractions.
Seeing the time countdown is often encouraging and helps with focus and looking forward to what is coming next.
Also great for setting boundaries for playtime, screen time, or getting dressed.
6. Limit distractions – not only does keeping their supplies close by help but also keep the TV off; phones and tablets set on the kitchen counter; maybe the pets are put in a separate room or outside.
7. Get dressed – Yes, I get it! Staying in pj's is comfy, but creating a routine of getting ready for the day will also put your kids in the mindset that it is time to focus, which will equal more productivity.
Give these a try. Know that there is not a one size fits all plan out there. Find what works best for you and your family and make it a routine. Happy learning. You got this!
Organizing and smiling,