Home learning and working from home

Home learning and working from home – readers share a snapshot of their lives

Home learning and working from home – readers share a snapshot of their lives

I love this post. I can say that because I have simply curated the wonderful content from what readers have sent through to me! The key reason I have been doing this blogging thing for over 10 years now has been because of readers just like you.

I receive incredible satisfaction from knowing that my learnings from family life may help others. It gives me such joy to hear from readers who have tried my suggestions with their own tweaks and have had success.

I also receive great tips, strategies, ideas and most importantly encouragement from readers of this blog. The personal impact receiving an email from a reader thanking for me for my emails and encouraging me to keep doing what I do is huge. The literally make my day.

In today’s post, I have curated some of the feedback I have received over the last couple of weeks from readers who are adapted to their new circumstance under COVID-19 in their part of the world. Thank you so much to Diana, Cherith and Nat for allowing me to share your words – I know the readers will love what you have to say.

{You can see how we have been managing in this post and I am discussing it weekly in my podcast here.}


What a day of home learning and work from home looks like for a single parent during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand – Diana

5.30 am get up & have breakfast

6-7.45am clear emails, do uninterrupted writing work for work, try and organise day. Write a whole piece which I’m pleased with – send to the internal person who says he no longer wants it. Used my 45 mins for that which is not needed. Have used up the quiet time, both boys awake at 7am so I send them back to bed to read. (No TV on “school days” ruling results in melt down from eldest). 

7.45 get boys up, have their breakfast, get them dressed, get house tidy, boys watch Chapel Chat from school (5 mins). 

9 am Sam (eldest – 10) conference call: needs help to get headset plugged in, mic working, explain how to mic on and off, check call working. Call finishes, he starts working. He can’t open OneNote, open OneNote for him, organise his work. Leave him for 5 mins.

Harry (youngest – 8) opens OneNote. Nothing working, he can’t find his work. Sit and read work together, go to other OneNote tab and find the work. He starts working. Sam is stuck, needs help with formatting (9.14am). Both need docs printed so I logon to my email on their devices, send to my laptop to print. Haven’t got printer started yet so can’t print immediately. Harry “loses” all his work so I go back to him to work out where it is (in another part of OneNote that he can’t find).  

I have had 8 work messages and 5 emails in this time.

Have also had 5 texts. Haven’t replied to anyone. 

Harry now stuck – everything sucks and shuts computer, walks away in grump. Sam gets back on call. Needs mic and computer set back up. Sam busy on call for 20 mins. Harry comes back with work book and starts working. Both stuck with OneNote issues.

Now I’ve had 15 work messages and 4 more emails. 

Sam is now back onto his work but can’t format powerpoint as has never used. He gets frustrated, now both hungry and ask for morning tea. It is 10am I have missed my work catch up meeting and haven’t replied to any emails or messages. Make morning tea while answering questions. 

It’s now 10.15am. Sam needed to create a mind map in powerpoint. This is beyond most adults so I’ve snipped it out and printed a copy for him to do by hand: I’ll type it up. This is an English class not computer science. Harry is on a 10 minute call for “reading”. This gives me 10-15 mins to do emails. I have just sat down to do emails. Sam now comes back in and needs help for his mind map. He doesn’t know how to start. I have sent one cal invite and read 2 emails. I send Sam back to think for 5 minutes while I do some more emails. It’s 10.17am and even writing this list has exhausted my creative capacity for the day.

Side note: my sons go to a “private” school which is continuing to operate a full school day every day. I have encouraged them to focus on 1-2 classes max per day and leave things that “don’t matter”. The pressure and responsibility they feel to their teachers is what makes us continue to complete each school day – I would happily let them play LEGO and build a fort in the garden but they simply will not let their teachers down. While I am proud of them for this it makes it very difficult to make compromises on any schoolwork. Here in NZ we hopefully only have one more week of home school before school is back in. Watch this space…..

Lockdown in South Africa – Cherith

Like Nicole, I have also had to lower my expectations of what I can get done each day under COVID-19 restrictions here in South Africa.

The home-learniing is taking most of the daylight hours of the day (Mon to Friday). Thankfully Cath (my eldest almost 14) can do her own studies, but I find that I need to help the younger three a lot with their work to complete their assigments on time.

I took my husband’s advice and try to do my work before the kids get up in the morning and late in the afternoons. As a musician I need to spend a minimum of 90 min a day practising to keep my fingers supple and trying to help my students as well.

It is always great on the days that Louis can work from home (usually 2x a week), then he helps me with the kids’ schoolwork. I am trying to teach the kids a few music lessons a week and drilling the times tables.

We are fortunate to live on a farm, I am grateful that the kids have space to run outside as our lock down has been very strict here in South Africa and people in the suburbs have not been allowed to exercise outside.

From May, all South Africans will be allowed to exercise, practicing safe social distancing but all Gyms are still closed. But at least people will be able to go for a walk.

Our kids are happy despite being home all the time. They are also eating a lot!!! My husband has been baking with them which they love.

Nat’s version of the PWK kids’ schedule

When I shared the schedule I had created for the younger two kids, Nat kindly replied sharing how she had adapted this schedule to work for her primary school kids.

Nat said that while they don’t necessarily follow it 100% to the letter or 100% of the time, the schedule has given them a framework to manage their days under the stay at home restrictions in Australia. This is the what their schedule looks like:

Year 2 Year 5 
09:00Reading09:00Reading
10:00School work10:00School work
11:00Recess - time outside11:00Recess - time outside
11:30School work11:30School work
12:30Lunch - time outside12:30Lunch - time outside
13:30Tidy up13:30Tidy up
13:45Free time13:45Free time
14:00Screen time14:00Screen time
15:00Free time (in room)15:00Free time (in room)
15:30Screen time15:30Screen time
16:30Exercise16:30Exercise
17:15Free time17:15Screen time
18:15Free time18:15Free time
18:30Dinner. tidy up, shower etc18:30Dinner. tidy up, shower etc
19:30TV19:30Screen time
20:30Bed - reading20:30TV
21:00Sleep21:00Bed - reading
21:30Sleep21:30Sleep

Nat also wrote up her own version of their daily guidelines for this very unique period of time:

COVID guidelines
No screen time before 10am (or you need to be up for an hour before having screen time and have eaten breakfast)
No more than an hour screen time at a time, unless arranged with parents first
1 hour breaks between screen times
General tidying must be completed before going on screens
Reading must occur every day
Children need to manage homework so it is completed in a timely (not last minute) manner
Reasonable time must be spent outside, the better the weather, the more time outside
Must be off screens 30 mins before bed
Mum to play a game of choice with each child daily
If device less than 50% put on charge
Be considerate of others
Journal must be completed daily

If you would like to share what your days are looking like at the moment, I would love to read it and share on the blog! Email nicole@planningwithkids.com if you would like to share.