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  • Teacher-Mom Shares Tips To Survive Homeschooling: 'Lower Your Expectations'

    This teacher, who is also a single mom, writes how she is coping with work-life balance.
    by Ophelia Dumayas-Tepino .
Teacher-Mom Shares Tips To Survive Homeschooling: 'Lower Your Expectations'
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/People Image Studio
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    The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the academe and parents alike. Due to the sudden closure of schools, students are missing social interaction, which is vital for better learning. It’s also become a tough routine for parents working from home since they have to ensure their children’s continuing education.

    The home has become the classroom. Our children’s desk can be the bed, dining table, floor or sofa. Or it can be a proper study desk in their own bedroom.

    We were not prepared for the pandemic and with the stay-at-home set-up that came with it. Parents were not prepared to become part-time teachers — we did not have briefing packs, trainings, or seminars.

    Not only are we dealing with the uncertainties of the situation, but now we have to deal with subjects like algebra, biology, chemical formulas, history, and literature. We used to fear calculus, now we have to deal with them.

    More than this, we face the fear of whether we are doing enough for our children, for our family, and for ourselves. Are our children learning? Are we able to provide the right guidance and support – academically and more importantly mentally and emotionally? At the same time, are we not neglecting our own mental health?

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    I am lucky that I am teacher. This means that I have some preparation to deal with homeschooling. I am able to bring into our home the schooling set-up, the systems that I have used in my face-to-face classes, like proper time management, order of our work/study areas, using different learning management systems and different apps like Zoom.

    Some people might say it is easier because I am a teacher, but apart from being one, I am also a working mother. Work-life balance has become the most difficult aspect of this situation.

    Now, work is where the family is and family is where the work is. How can I teach my students if I also have to guide my own children? Who do I prioritize?

    As a teacher, sometimes we have to work extra hours. But homeschooling also requires extra hours — my children also need help with modules, research, and self-study. Add to that the house chores and other errands — the endless request for snacks and meals, the constant cleaning of the house because the kids make a mess — that we still need to do in between Zoom classes, preparing modules, and teaching our children.

    The to-do list keeps getting longer as days go by. Eventually, all of these will take a toll on our physical and mental health. It can lead to losing control and our temper, feeling drained and emotionally empty.

    How to balance becoming a Teacher-Mommy

    Homeschooling and teaching our children while we work is the greatest act of optimism. We cannot just give up. Time management, proper balance, motivation and conditioning, plus having a support system are all very important.  

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    Set rules but let children learn to be independent

    This depends on the child’s age but one way to start is to give them a to-do list. Delegate tasks that can be done according to their age.

    Make things easier for you

    When before I can cook elaborate meals, now the oven is my best friend. Food delivery is my second best friend. Don’t punish yourselves to do more than you can do.

    Lower expectations for you and your child

    Now is not the time to be a perfectionist. If your child doesn’t do well in Math, don’t make him feel bad. For your child, this new setup is not ideal, and he may still be adjusting. As for you, don’t feel bad that you were not able to teach him well — it may also be hard for you to relearn the subject which you studied ages ago.

    There is no doubt that this pandemic has been an incredibly trying time for everyone, especially to us mothers. Remember as Linda Wooten once said, “Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”

    Ophelia Dumayas-Tepino or “Mommy/Teacher Ophee” is a single mom of two who works as an assistant professor at the Life Skills Education Department of UP Rural High School in UP Los Banos.

    Click here for a teacher's advice on how to help kids with their homework (instead of doing it for them).

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