Facing a Coronavirus School Closure? How to Work From Home While Your Kids are Learning From Home

From large districts in California to small communities in Maryland and Ohio, schools all across the U.S. are closing to stop the spread of COVID-19 (or coronavirus). If your child is currently in grades K-12, you may have already or might soon find yourself in the daunting position of managing your work from home arrangement with their learn from home needs. You might also be wondering what to do next. 

First, know that simultaneously working from home and learning from home is possible. The three tips listed here can help your family remain calm, productive, and engaged in their education even in the face of coronavirus.

Create a schedule that works for everyone

Initially, it may seem like it’s impossible to juggle your work commitments with your child’s homework load or virtual schooling. This is where a carefully crafted schedule can help. If your employer is allowing you to be flexible with your work hours, consider scheduling deep focus work in the morning or evening, namely before your student wakes up or after they’ve gone to bed. If you have a young child, you might also consider scheduling meetings or completing particularly difficult tasks while they nap. If you know your student is more likely to focus on their math assignment or reading log at a certain time of day, plan to tackle any especially challenging work responsibilities then. With such a schedule in hand, you’ll be one step closer to a harmonious learn from home and work from home experience.

[RELATED: Schools and the Coronavirus—What We Found in a Survey of 500 Parents]

Plan for downtime

While certain American school districts are transitioning to formal online classes, other U.S. school districts have provided less education guidance to families affected by coronavirus closures. Chances are your child won’t be in virtual classes for seven or eight hours a day, so your work from home sanity will partially depend on planning for downtime. For younger kids, this may include the creation of a “boredom box” filled with items like colored pencils, crayons, and anti-coloring pages. For school-aged children, aim for supplemental learning resources. 

Varsity Tutors, for example, offers free resources like interactive math games and practice problems for subjects like the ACT and SAT. A free Virtual School Day toolkit is also available to help families avoid academic slide during this challenging time. The toolkit includes 30+ hours of live, online lessons each week; educational activities; and other K-12 learning resources. 

Remember that “perfect” takes practice

For most individuals, this situation is unprecedented—and finding what works for your family may take time. If your first day of working and learning from home isn’t perfect, try experimenting with small tweaks to your schedule or with different forms of educational engagement. Remember, too, that “perfect” always takes practice and support, and that Varsity Tutors is here to help during this time.