Homeschooling: Balancing school and remote work.
The New York Times article by Corinne Purtil article “Everyone is going to need to figure out what keeps their family sane and balanced” clearly describes the challenges families face working at home and trying to homeschool their children at the same time. Well not only am I trying to figure that out in my own home, but doing it as well for my business. I hope I found a solution for my 10 year old daughter who is now failing classes by hiring a homework buddy, a new service line through my company, Prasada In Home.
I am a single mother with a freshman in high school and a 10 year old 4th grader. I also own a business, Prasada In Home, where I provide in-home therapeutic services for children with mental health issues and autism. I had to shut down two of my programs where we provided recreational programs for teens with autism. Fortunately, my In-home Therapists and Behavioral Assistants have turned to telehealth and are still serving families. I am now working my business out of my home since shutting down my office and center where the kids would come.
The first week of homeschooling I thought overall went well. My kids appeared to be working independently while I was able to respond to my business and make the adaptations I needed to make sure my business was still running and helping families.
Then the first weekend after homeschooling I started getting emails from my daughter’s teachers that she was missing assignments. I looked and she was failing all her subjects. My daughter was an A student and now was failing. I was shocked. I went over all her subjects and saw she was not handing in her work. I trusted when I asked her if she completed her work, she had. If she was struggling she would tell me, but she didn’t.
Through many tears the next Monday, I sat with her at our dining room table, going through all her assignments that needed to be completed plus her new assignments. We worked from 9 in the morning till 7 at night and still had not completed everything. This while I would also communicate with my therapists, updating them with resources to help families and put in health claims so I could still pay my therapists.
I realized I needed to spend more time with my daughter to ensure she was getting her work done, but it took away hours from managing my business. I had to furlough my assistant so I was tasked to take on her duties during the COVID 19 crisis as well.
During Zoom conferences and walks with fellow Moms in my neighborhood I also understood many others were struggling with the same challenges I was. Working remotely from home while becoming our kids teachers and making sure they were doing what they needed to do. It was not an easy balance.
A couple years ago my oldest son needed a homework buddy to help him after school with his homework. Diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia he needed the extra support. My son’s Dad and I hired a homework buddy to work with him a couple hours a day. She was not a tutor, but someone to help him stay organised. on task, and accountable to make sure his work was completed and handed in. The homework buddy was one of the best interventions we put in place during his middle school years, to ensure that his work was done and his grades were maintained.
Watching my daughter struggle daily, (I am still getting emails of missing assignments) and hearing the other challenges families faced in this new norm, I started thinking again about my son’s homework buddy and how valuable it was to my son. So I decided to offer a new service through my company. Bring the Homework Buddy to my home remotely to work with my daughter.
I have spent the better part of this weekend, shaping the program so I can launch this week, starting with my daughter tomorrow. I turned to my respite workers who no longer can work with families with autistic kids because of the COVID 19 pandemic. They are home now too and could use the work. I have a few who are interested. I will then go to Indeed and start to hire more people.
I am hoping tomorrow with the help of my new homework buddy for my daughter. We can shape and define what this service looks like. Meantime, I will market through Facebook, Instagram and my daughter teachers about how the service could help other families. Taking some of the burden and stress off the parents who now have become unpaid teachers. At the same time it will provide a job to others who now find they are home and out of work.
Hoping by the end of this week, my daughter is in a better place with her grades while also helping place Homework Buddies with other families. Hoping this intervention will also help keep families sane and balanced.