HOW TO JUGGLE HOME WORKING AND HOME SCHOOLING

As self-isolation continues, most people are contending with a new workspace which just so happens to also be their kids’ temporary new school – the family home. As a result, many of us are left trying to juggle our usual workload while also trying to make sure that the school syllabus is stuck to. Not an easy task by any means. But we’ve drawn from some of the web’s best and brightest to bring you these pieces of advice.

Draw up a timetable

Structure may feel like the bane of our lives for a lot of our school years and – let’s face it – some of our working years too, but scientific studies have shown that we, as humans, respond to structure. You’ll need to learn to harness this to ensure your kids are getting the most out of their remote schooldays. But worry not. Parenting blogger Sergei Urban of ‘The Dad Lab’ attests to the reassuring fact that your schedule doesn’t need to be anything sophisticated. “Set small specific goals and anything extra you do is a massive win!” Pentland says. It’s worth studying up on the right number of hours for your kids’ age groups and going from there.

Talk to your partner

If you live in a two-parent household, honesty is key. Your other half may look snowed under with work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be burnt out either. If it helps, maybe you could set certain days for you to recharge, and certain days for them to do the same. Most important though is to make sure you both know how the other is feeling as often as you can. After all, it’ll be a while yet until you can next storm out without good reason…

Talk to your employer

Just as an add-on to the above, making sure your employer knows your situation is bound to take a lot of the edge off. You may be silently stewing about your partner not pulling their weight while you try to teach maths and finish off a report at the same time, but it’s crucial that your boss knows you’re overwhelmed. This is an unprecedented situation for us all, and the odds are they’ll understand that you’re still learning how best to work. Your colleague may be able to carry the load, but the person delegating needs to be made aware before they can reassign tasks.

Embrace technology

Look, when it comes to grabbing the kids’ attention, the machines are winning. It may be sad, but it’s also okay. With the right guidance, the iPad, the Nintendo Switch, and even the Xbox can be a monumentally useful learning tool, far beyond anything we could have dreamt of in our youth. Check out learning apps such as Google Classroom and Duolingo, or Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training on the Switch. In conjunction with more traditional tasks, they can help keep your child learning long into playtime.

Gamify what you can

With that in mind, turning what you can into a game – with a goal, obstacles, and rewards – can work wonders. It’s exactly how the aforementioned video games suck players into otherwise relatively mundane tasks and has even proven to be the secret ingredient for the success of apps like Tinder and HouseParty.  Both of these apps took long-running and quite frankly tired concepts (dating apps and skype-style video-chats respectively) and turned them into something interactive and addictive. In responsible hands though, gamifying something such as a French lesson or an Algebra quiz will leave the kids longing for the next topic.