Running a Business While Your Kids are in Virtual School

dad and child working side by side
This picture is so sweet! Not realistic though, I suggest that you have your child's workspace in another area or room

Today Governor Newsom dropped a bit of a bomb on working parents in California. Students will be attending virtual schooling until their county is off of the monitoring list for 14 days. Those of us in Orange County know that we will most likely be on that list for a long time.

Last time the kids attended virtual school, it may not have been the best experience. The good news is that this time virtual schooling isn't a surprise and your teachers have had some experience already. This time the curriculum and instruction will be more suited for online learning. The difference between virtual schooling and home schooling is that virtual schooling "should" not require a lot of parent participation. Kids should be able to log into their classroom and be able to navigate through the curriculum with their teacher.

Running a business is challenging on its own, but babysitting your kid(s) to make sure that they are on task and completing assignments .......... well it can be distracting to say the least. I was a teacher for 20 years and now I am a mom of two who is working from home. Here are my suggestions for helping your kids have a successful fall semester while you are working from home:

  1. Design a "workspace" with your child(ren). Let them be involved with picking things out and placing them. Make sure they have a desk or table with a chair, an outlet nearby to charge their technology, paper, writing and coloring utensils in a special spot, an easy and safe pencil sharpener, and a comfy spot to relax in while they read. Sometimes we all need a break from the desk.

  2. Take a picture of their workspace, print it out, and post it somewhere so they understand your expectations in regards to what the area should look like at the end of the "school day".

  3. Create a system with them for when they need your assistance. If they have a phone or tablet maybe have them text you that they need help, then you can go to their workspace and assist them, or you can text them back that you are on a call and let them know when you can walk over - maybe have them work on something else for a bit. Or if you have an office with a door, they can come in and ask for help when the door is open. Or have color coded signs. Let them help you come up with ideas.

  4. Talk about rules and expectations. Almost every teacher creates these with the class. Do the same with your kids. Discuss when it is appropriate to have breaks for snacks or exercise. Talk about what are some rewards and consequences for not completing tasks. Write them out and put them somewhere near their workspace. Also prepare them for changes if their teacher has his/her own schedule for them. It is important to teach them to be flexible during this pandemic, things are changing constantly.

  5. Dress rehearsal! Put together a list of tasks for your child to complete - videos to watch, a math work sheet, a for PE, a book to read, a coloring page, tracing letters, whatever is age appropriate. Have them get up with an alarm and get dressed for school, meet them downstairs for breakfast, and then you go to your home office and they go to their workspace. Do a little parent spying when you get a chance, let them know you will pop in every now and then and it will usually be a surprise. I highly suggest once school starts you look at their schedule and show them how to set up Google alerts with links for Zoom classes, due dates, etc...

  6. Determine if the rehearsal was a success, can it be improved upon? Was anything distracting them? Was technology used during school time for Roblox? Together discuss what worked and what didn't, then make alterations to your system. Was it a total disaster? Is your child too young to be able to navigate this on their own? Sometimes we just have to admit that we can't do it all. Contact their school and/or district to see if there is any kind of child care or assistance you can use. There is no shame in asking for help, the best leaders know when to delegate things to others.

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