Discussion Thread

Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

  • 1.  Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hello everyone,

    Now that many counties/states have ordered all schools to go fully online this academic year, I'd like to start a thread so all parents can share their experience, tips and tricks to help their kids effectively follow school programs while fulfilling their duties at work. Any dos and don'ts? Any useful online resource that you think might be helpful?

    Looking forward to hearing about your experience

    Cheers!

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    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Washington State University
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  • 2.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 14 days ago
    My wife is a teacher and she recommends Learning without Tears :https://www.lwtears.com/
    They offer preK-5 curriculums.  Parents can do so much on-the-fly learning, but something as simple as a workbook can help provide structure and match classroom lessons.

    Remember that it is summer vacation and kids do deserve a break from classroom time (virtual or otherwise).  Solo activities that can be done socially distance or virtual are the best options now.  We have enrolled our little one in martial arts.  Camping and hiking are great outlets too!

    Working full time and parenting is a challenge!  Rely on your village, even if it has shrunk during the pandemic.  Make sure management is aware of any scheduling challenges and be honest about logging in after hours if needed.

    Let kids know what you are working on!  Teach them the basics!  My little one is already a master at drawing ladders and stairs.  Kids are really good at thinking outside of the box, so make sure you listen to their ideas!

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    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 3.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 12 days ago
    Great question - I just wish there were an easy answer!

    A little background:
    I have 4 little ones and have been primarily working from throughout the pandemic. My oldest two will start 1st grade and PreK in a couple weeks. My youngest is about to turn 1. When the pandemic hit, my oldest was in kindergarten and our school sent home some packets with various learning activities. The nice thing was the material was very basic reading/writing/math, so it was easy to help her with it.

    A little advice:
    When it comes to helping kids navigate remote learning while you are working from home, a lot is going to depend on you and your kids' personalities and learning/communication/working preferences.

    There are times when you need to just close the door and focus on a work assignment. I am naturally a night owl, so lately I have been getting a portion of my work done at night, after kids go to bed. I have also been trying to plan my workload so that I can save the things that require more focus for the times when I know I will have less interruptions. For me, that mean tackling paperwork, project managing tasks, and coordinating with team members during the day, while leaving more technical work for the night.

    Depending on what your workday looks like, you can plan times for sitting down to work on school assignments. Last spring, my daughter usually had a writing/reading and a math assignment, so I would give them to her in the morning after breakfast. My desk is in the bedroom, so sometimes I would get out a lap desk and let her sit on my bed so that we could "work together." That way, I was nearby to answer questions, but I could still get some of my work done.

    Sometimes I also engaged our younger children in my daughter's school activities. For example, one of the art lessons was a scavenger hunt to find objects in different colors and to use them to create a color wheel. My 2-year old enjoyed joining in the hunt.

    One great thing about remote learning is you can maybe make the learning process more hands-on. I would love to hear about some of the projects and/or learning activities that other engineer-parents have come up with! I was tickled with some of the STEM activities our school sent home last spring. One was to build a tower as tall as you. My daughter ended up with a little lesson in structural stability from me!



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    Kelly Farabee P.E., P.T.O.E., M.ASCE
    President, ASCE Savannah Branch
    Savannah, GA
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  • 4.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 13 days ago
    Tung,

    This is a great topic that has been in my mind for the last few weeks. Fortunately for me, my wife is a teacher so she has been on vacation the whole summer. That is changing pretty soon. My kids are not old enough to go to school yet so I will talk from the working stand point. The main thing that I tell myself is that I need to have either work time or family time. Mixing the two will only cause chaos and burnout. That means I may get up a little earlier in the morning before everyone else so I can get some work done, then have breakfast in family and then get back to work. There have been days where I have "worked" more hours than usual because I have had to help with stuff at home and that is ok.

    The important part is not to be to hard on yourself. Make time to spend with your family during the day and make sure everyone in the house is on the same page, especially if you have a lot of meetings during the day. Set boundaries and take care of yourself.

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    Luis Duque EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Broomfield CO
    luis@...
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  • 5.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 11 days ago
    Thank you very much for your tips Luis, Chad and Kelly! These are all really helpful!

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    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Washington State University
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  • 6.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi everyone--

    Please consider me a resource for you, not just in terms of how ASCE does outreach, but also for learning questions in general. I have over 30 years experience in a variety of educational settings. I worked from home as an educational writer/consultant with pre-schoolers, and when my gifted son's learning disabilities challenged traditional school methods I also homeschooled kids in grades 3 - 7 for several years.

    As far as schooling at home goes, remember that it doesn't have to mean kids sitting at desks for 5-7 hours a day, the way we envision most classrooms. Right now I'm not going to tell you just how many minutes per day it will take, but remember that some of the time in school is consumed by moving 20-30 kids from place to place, school announcements, and other time-filling activities that aren't an issue at home. Depending on the ages and stages of your children that means that the formal sitting and working piece is going to be much less. For early elementary it really might only be an hour or so. If you would like more information on this please let me know!

    Several of the people have commented on adjusting your work schedule for the kids. My kids were night owls (they still are) while I'm better in the morning. That meant that I could get a hefty amount of work done early, and we started schooling around 10 a.m. Since I wasn't working full-time I could focus more exclusively on their needs for a few hours, and then wrap up by 3 p.m. Again, they weren't sitting focused at a desk for that entire time. We had "fun reading"--read anything you like. We moved around, biked to parks and worked out of doors.

    I think there will be different challenges during this upcoming year. Some schools are likely to make the switch to part/all remote learning in a more cohesive fashion than others. But whatever happens, remember to find the joy and interest in your kids. They will remember that for the rest of their lives.

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    Jeannine Finton Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager of Pre-College Outreach
    ASCE
    Reston VA
    [Phone]
    jfinton@...
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  • 7.  RE: Working and Parenting full-time during the pandemic: how do you do it?

    Posted 2 days ago
    > But whatever happens, remember to find the joy and interest in your kids. They will remember that for the rest of their lives.

    Thanks so much for this  @Jeannine !


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    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Washington State University
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