It appears that COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. Most of us have reached that point where we at least know someone who has contracted it or has even become severely affected or died from it. I’ve even read predictions from experts that before we conquer it – if we ever do – at least 60-70% of the population will have contracted the coronavirus. 60-70%. And right now 1 in every 100 in the US has it or has had it. In the US, we are setting records nearly every day for new cases.
We aren’t back on “stay at home” lockdown yet. But businesses are closing back down. One thing that is still being heavily debated and is still in consideration is sending kids back to school next month for the 2020-21 school year. Is it a good idea? What’s the alternative? Online school from home, homeschooling, no schooling? Those are tough options – especially if both parents work outside the home. But one of those may be your reality, depending on how you feel about your 12 year old going back to school and possibly contracting the virus and bringing it home to your household. It’s a crazy world and we are worrying daily about things we never thought we would have to.
Let’s consider the homeschooling option… I’ve been home working and homeschooling for many years so it’s a familiar path for me and my family. First, I have 11 kids – 7 adopted, some with some health challenges and one with childhood leukemia that was only diagnosed 4 months ago and is not in remission and he happens to be in the hospital right now. With basically no immune system to speak of, leaving the house or allowing anyone in for absolutely non-essential things (like chemo clinic) is out of the question. It could kill him. There really is no plan B for us.
Let’s look at the home working and homeschooling reality and how we could pull it off. It’s not easy but it’s probably not as hard as you might think and certainly can help keep your family safe during this pandemic.
Organization is a must
You could just wing it and work it out along the way – and you may have to. But you have a month and you may already be working from home and I think most of us know that planning ahead greatly increases chances of success. So let’s organize… but how? First off, read and educate. Know the basics. Know something about what you’re getting into. Lean on others for info, tools and advice. Use your past experiences and knowledge and the experience and knowledge of others. There is a wealth of knowledge out there on both topics. Use it. But don’t start out completely disorganized and expect to succeed. It won’t work. You will struggle too much and likely fail. Not trying to scare you – it’s just fact.
You don’t have to be an expert at either
No one said you have to be an expert before you venture out into something new. I wasn’t an expert project manager when I first jumped into the profession. I was just a software developer and the person proposed in the position on a huge government IT project. Then we won the contract and that was that. My wife and I weren’t home schooling experts when our first child was born 33 years ago. But we thought it was the best choice for us and for our first child so we planned and prepared and when he was 3 we started with pre-school and it worked for us (mainly my wife). We always said we were taking it a year at a time… and 30 years later we are still at it and still succeeding… our kids are turning out ok and five have moved out and moved on to adulthood successfully – two are married and one of those is a parent. So we didn’t ruin their lives… they even have said so.
It’s ok to get help – not ok to struggle
You’re not alone. It’s actually ok to struggle to some degree… but not for too long. Projects, kids, families, lives may be depending on your success in these situations so don’t take them lightly. You can’t just try and fail and move on. You have to give it your all and have a plan B (see planning) which may be a completely different route or going back to the old norm. But you have a team, you have a family, you can use tools and groups and articles and social media and groups to get help and plan and gain knowledge and succeed.
Plan or fail
You don’t have to be the best or the greatest at either. And yes, you can “fake it till you make it” to some degree. Not for too long because you need to show you’re excelling at both at some early point or it isn’t worth it. But you can do it if you plan and map out a course and work at it. And, as pointed out above, you’re not alone… there is help out there in your team, your family, social media groups of experts and those going through the same struggles you may be experiencing. The key in project management, business, life and now homeschooling, is planning. Sometimes a lot of planning but always at least some productive planning – and revisiting and adjusting the plan along the way is ok – is a necessary ingredient to success in business and life.
Good health is a good thing but do what’s right for you
With COVID-19 numbers going out of control many are frustrated and some are panicking. Can you work remotely? Yes but it’s not for the disorganized or faint of heart. Can you homeschool? Yes. But it too is not for the disorganized and faint of heart. And this one can be scary. You fail and you’re really failing your children. But you really can’t put a price on being healthy and keeping your kids safe. So if numbers are high and you’re worried… it may be your gut and circumstances saying “try it.” If it doesn’t work out for you and your kids, you can go back to the old norm. But there’s a good chance that it will work out and it may serve you in the interim or it may become your new permanent normal. And you can stay healthy and safe at the same time.
Summary / call for input
The bottom line is 2020 is a new road for us. A scary road. Uncharted territory for many. There isn’t a single person in the world who hasn’t been affected in some way. Our success – and the success of many around us including our business colleagues, teams and family – depend to some degree on our own success. That can be a huge stressful burden. Or we can grab it by the horns and take it on. Go ahead, take it on. You can do it.
Readers – what are your thoughts? Are you working remotely? What advice do you have for others? Are you homeschooling or thinking about it as the potentially dangerous school year approaches? What are you planning to do? Comment and let’s discuss.