Your second grader is going to be attending school online, as is your freshman in high school. In addition, you will be working from home for the immediate future.
While there are benefits to this scenario, like avoiding the crowded drop-off lines at school and not having to deal with your long commute to work, you know this whole at-home learning/working thing comes with its own inherent set of challenges.
To help you and your kids have the best possible learning/working from home experience, please keep the following tips in mind:
Ask Yourself “How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?”
Prior to this arrangement, your internet did quite well with your computer and streaming usage. Now, with three of you getting ready to be on your laptops for hours at a time, it is imperative to have the proper amount of internet speed. If this advice has you thinking “Well, what internet speed do I need?” Cox has a helpful chart that helps to answer this question.
As far as what a good internet speed for you is, you need to first determine your number of devices and what online activities you’ll be doing. While online chats, emails, web surfing and a bit of video streaming on one or two devices will require 25 Mbps, a larger number of devices and/or dealing with video conferencing and live video streaming—both common for remote school and work—will require 150 to 300 Mbps. Ask yourself “What speed do I need for Zoom” and ask your kids’ schools for advice about what internet speed they need for online lessons. Then update your account as needed.
Create (and Stick to) a Morning Routine
Your morning routine is very effective at signaling your body and brain that it is about to start working or learning. Even if your kids beg you to wake them up 5 minutes before class starts, tell them they need to stay on a routine that’s similar to what they did for in-person school. The same advice applies to you; it may be tempting to work from home in your jammies but you will find that having a cup of coffee, walking the dog around the block and then getting dressed — including lacing up your shoes — alerts your brain to get ready for a successful day.
Consider More than One Work Area
After sitting in her bedroom for six hours trying to concentrate on her second-grade studies, your daughter may not want to be in the same area for homework time. It is totally fine to have different spots for learning in your home; it can be a desk for times when your kids really have to concentrate, the kitchen table for projects and homework, and maybe a special reading nook corner filled with beanbag chairs and pillows.
You can certainly do the same. For times at work when you need total concentration, your laptop can be in your quiet home office, but when answering emails you could move out to the patio table and/or take a Zoom call from the relative peace and quiet from your car.
You’ve Got This
Sure, there will be days when online work and schooling is more challenging, as well as times when things go really smoothly. During the difficult times, remind yourself that the steps you have taken are ensuring that the remote work and school go absolutely as well as can be—your computers will not crash, you got your brains and bodies ready for online work, and you can move around the home as needed.