Anyone who follows me or reads my blogs, will know I like a plan…”prior planning prevents p*** poor performance”. I’m one for a routine, not rigid but there to establish boundaries, needs, wants and goals. My achievements as a househusband have their foundations in my planning…room for improvement I’m sure. Home schooling has taught me lot and I thought I’d share with you some insights.
Routines It is important to keep to the children’s routines at home as much as possible. As a family we often feel much calmer and more in control when our brains connect with familiar patterns. With routine should be inbuilt downtime too. Only last weekend – we shared the meaning of the word ‘pragmatic’. There is only so much structured play you can have in your home with limited access to outside. I have had to relent on ‘gaming’ and allow greater time to computerised games (think how out of sync the kids usually are in the school hols). Luckily, we are a household of board games too…so for every ‘Roblox’, ‘Fifa’, ‘Minecraft’ and ‘Pokemon’, I get to play a game of draughts, chess or snakes & ladders’.
Establish Boundaries We try to start the day at the usual time. Our boys are early risers. It’s been hard but before we go to bed remote controls are hidden. The idea being the boys are more inclined to get their heads around ‘school work’ out or just play together before breakfast. We then set about having breakfast with home learning starting at 9am.
It does mean that my partner and I rise a tad earlier to get a couple of interruption-free hours of work in before the family starts their day. Being more pragmatic has meant that usual boundaries are relaxed and we are more flexible (e.g. gaming and more screen time). My partner and I have alternate responsibilities during school term (see below). This means we are both able to get some uninterrupted work time and the boys get some quality-focused time from us too…that’s the theory. In practice, it is hard work and needs the buy-in of us all.
Reward systems and consistency are important too.
Catch ups and game plans We use our ‘together time’s, e.g. lunch and dinner and down time to have a little catch-up on the day, days and weeks ahead. It helps to break down the monotony and look at what was good or not so good previously. It helps us to address our expectations, the use of laptops, computers, mobiles, a case in point and when we are working or schooling.
Before my partner became ‘furloughed’, we had to be honest we were not capable of completing 7-straight hours of work with all of us being home. Our current circumstances brought on by Covid19 is discussed, and used to help the boys to understand that there will be times when we cannot be disturbed.
sons are used to me being at home more often than not, as I often work from
home and as a househusband, they understand my need to be in “do not
disturb mode”. When working with clients from home, my office space
(corner of our bedroom) is totally out of bounds. A sign and mini clock on the
door makes the point.
We can choose to learn, grow, connect and evolve and come out of this difficult
time by doing all the above. However, it will be made much harder if we cannot
have some fun. So, although a stickler of discipline, plans, routines and
strictures, I have become more pragmatic. It will be different for us all.
Relationships are fraught with the unknown. Pressures and expectations during
these difficult times will be acute. Building in some fun, flexibility and time
to reflect has proved to create greater connectivity within our family home.
Without doubt, the boys’ relationships are stronger and more connected – still
fighting daily like cats and dogs, there is an element of fun and adventure.
After all, family life and the time we spend together is what holds us all
My partner and I are knackered. There have been more cross words used in and
around a full house. It has been hard, it has proved difficult, but there have
been so many positives too. We know more about each other’s work, pressures and
expectations – that means we have been able to share ideas and concerns and
coming up with solutions (that didn’t last long, she is now on furlough…but
you get my point).
Similarly, downtime means that we can share thoughts and plans for the days
ahead. Just hoping it’s not monotonous.
We have a timetable. It reflects the timetable the boys use at school which
they dictated to us. It shows the timing of lessons, breaks, lunchtime,
lessons, PE and the like. Before the Easter break, my partner and I shared our
own work timetable which incorporates the boys home learning. This allows us to
be sure and aware of commitments in terms of calls to be made, conference-calling,
reports, projects, networking etc al and downtime.
The timetable has in-built break-out sessions for both of us. Key to the above was
working a 3-day on then a 2-day off rota. You work three days as lead
‘home learner’ while your partner is responsible for breaks and dinnertime;
and, if you are on a day off, it means you were on cover. You were not the
one leading the lessons but you would be on stand-by. We have continued this
post-Easter and bveing on furlough. It
seems to work, adding variety, space and time to our days.
Hopefully, you found this interesting, this is what, my family and I have experienced, and what other parents might be experiencing too. Parents remain the most influential people in a young person’s life and despite some finding it really difficult on occasions they continue to provide huge amounts of support both physically and emotionally. If you have any ideas or thoughts, feel free to contact me. I’d more than happy to hear your points of view and see what we can share and bring to the attention of helping others during this period in terms of further positive change.
It’s been another very difficult week, lots going
on personally, individually, socially and collectively. I just
wanted to get in touch with you all to update you on some of the measures
brought into place by Government that will in the first case help you to manage
your finances during this difficult time. I’ve also got more useful handy
resources to help you think through service implications and how to stay ahead
of the curve if possible. This is a lengthy piece but it does cover
everything that is available currently – and I’ll send round extra
bulletins as and when more information becomes available.
At the moment there is financial help to businesses
and the third sector as well as individuals. My thinking is a lot of
these will still be early stages and we may get further updates, daily and
possibly weekly – very fluid.
Grants – these are sadly only
available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. See above link
However there does appear to be support for
businesses that pay little or no business rates. Small Business Grant
Scheme funding through Local Authorities and can be up to £10,000 to meet
ongoing costs. You need to occupy property and contact your local
authority about this. (So, I’d wait a while for them to sort themselves out!).
Apparently, they will contact you if you are eligible.
This loan facility is available for 12 months
interest free and is useful for cash flow. There is still little
information about the specific requirements from each lender and the
information you need to submit – likely cash projections to show the loan is repayable.
VAT Have been deferred for
the end March Quarter and will not be repayable till the end of
the 2020/21 financial year. This is automatic and doesn’t require any
contact with HMRC.
deferred and will not be payable for 12 months
Statutory Sick Pay relief package
for SME’s the govt will cover up to 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee. Keep
notes of dates of sick leave, they are setting up an appropriate system for
this. You can still choose to pay staff at full sick pay if you
wish. But you will get SSP levels covered. This is only relevant to
businesses with under 250 employees.
HMRC Time to pay scheme –
for any outstanding tax payments from business to HMRC (e.g. VAT/PAYE) an
interest free payment plan. 0800 0159 559
For Charities and Businesses
Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme
This support scheme will provide a grant to employers
(including third sector organisations) to keep workers rather
than make them redundant. Salaries will be paid at 80% of their current level
up to a maximum of £2,500. These grants will be available by the end of
April. You can apply for grants and loans in the meantime to help manage
cash flow. However, you must make staff ‘furloughed’ so they can no
longer work for you during the furlough period and this will affect their
Insurances: Double check
if your insurance covers you for pandemics…
For employees: The
following link is very useful to send round your staff team and explains what
that employees can ask for a 3month mortgage holiday.
the Government has introduced legislation that means landlords cannot evict
tenants for up to 3 months. However, you can ask your landlord to also give
you a holiday (if they can afford via their mortgage lender if they are paying
a mortgage on your property).
For self-employed people – the government is not bringing out enough measures for people who are self-employed and many think the Corona Virus Jobs Retention Scheme should apply to them too. You can email them TODAY before 5pm to tell them this at firstname.lastname@example.org whilst they consider their policy around this.
Further service support around mental health, anxiety and supporting families (especially those with high needs family members)