COVID-19 has thrown us all for a loop, am I right? All kinds of loops in all kinds of ways. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone not affected to some degree. And many of us have been forced to reorganize our schedule and living space to accommodate everyone in the household being home ALL DAY LONG while also being productive.
Suddenly being responsible, not only for work, but for supervising your childrens’ educational programs is a tall order. And with the 2020/2021 school year upon us, it’s time to get organized.
The good news is that we can learn from the best! Today we have tips from a veteran homeschooling mom (who is also a transcriptionist and proofreader) on ways to be a successful transcriptionist working from home while also supervising your kid’s education.
Whether you always planned to homeschool or if you’ve been forced to pivot into supervising your child’s remote learning while also working from home full time, these tips are for you.
A consistent framework reduces stress for everyone, so put together a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. But this isn’t just any regular schedule. This is the schedule of all schedules!!
Class time, homework time, outside time, creative time, eating time, work time. It’s all important, and it all goes on the schedule. You can do this on a whiteboard or chalkboard or jot it down on paper and tape it to the fridge. You want the schedule to be on display front and center so everyone knows what’s going on now and what’s up next.
When it comes to supervising remote learning while also working on transcription jobs, Aimee, a 20-year homeschooling veteran says, “If you can, do all the teaching first, and then have everyone work on their assignments while you do some transcribing.” You need to create natural pockets of time to work, and with some practice, that ebb and flow starts to feel natural for everyone.
Supervising remote learning for public school students may not allow you to move learning and working time around so easily. But look for overlaps and use them to your advantage when building a custom schedule that works for your family’s needs.
Aimee’s favorite tip, and one she wishes she implemented sooner, is using a timer. “Set a timer and no one can disturb you for that amount of time. Take that time to transcribe as much as you can, and then take a break to teach the next kid the next subject.”
She says, “Train the kids that while the timer is set NO ONE can disturb you. If they need help, they can get it after the timer rings. The key is to then be available, but only for a set amount of time. Use that timer for everything!”
Just like you might use a timer when working on transcription jobs (such as 45 min of transcribing followed by 15 min of proofing), use a timer to keep everyone in the house on task and moving forward. This is an insightful tip that takes scheduling to an entirely new level!
Everyone in the house has to pitch in, and that means chores! There are appropriate chores for every age from feeding the pets to taking out the garbage to unloading the dishwasher. When I was a kid, our house rule was all dishes used for afterschool snacks had to be washed and put away by the time our parents got home from work. Dad was not interested in navigating a sea of backpacks or dirty dishes before he could get dinner on the table. We all did it and survived, and are all very tidy dishkeepers to this day!
So when your child isn’t having class time or recovery/play/downtime, they can be contributing productively to the home environment. This helps the entire household stay organized and gives you a pocket of time where you can work on your transcription jobs!
If you are fortunate enough to have two caregivers at home, divide duties into shifts. You can divide into morning and afternoon shifts. You can divide duties by child. You can even divide by task (one person supervises remote-learning and the other handles household tasks). How you divide should be specific to your family’s specific needs, of course.
If parenting alone, your best approach may be designated blocks of time for specific activities (e.g., class time, self-study, play, chores). Older children can help younger children, and remote caregiving (such as storytime with grandparents) may need to become a regular part of the weekly schedule so you can get some work done.
Granted, having a room with a door that closes doesn’t always work out the way we planned, as we’ve all seen in this charming clip. But when coupled with the daily schedule and timer, having a specific space assigned for your own work sets a helpful boundary.
As a transcriptionist, you need a quiet environment to work. It can be the corner of your bedroom or the end of the dining room table. And in that area, you work.
It’s helpful for children to understand that just because they can see you, doesn’t mean you are available. And it’s helpful for YOU to know that when you sit down in that spot, you are working on transcription jobs, not being mom or dad (or teacher or short order cook).
The fact of the matter is that you cannot work from home as a transcriber without stretches of uninterrupted time. It’s not a job you can do perched on the edge of the couch while keeping one eye on your 3rd grader’s math assignment.
You may need to set aside time before the school day begins or after bedtime to work on your jobs. And that’s okay! Sometimes the flexibility afforded by freelancing doesn't mean working while watching the sunset over the lake. Instead, it means being there for your kids every day, actively participating in their education, AND being able to make some money while working from home.
Curious about working from home as a transcriptionist and how to make it work as a parent? Take our free mini course to see if transcription is the right fit for you!
What separates a ho-hum transcriptionist from an excellent one? Is there even a demand for transcription? Who hires transcriptionists?
Can anyone be a transcriptionist?
Get the answers to all these questions and more by enrolling in my free introductory course, Transcription Foundations.
For our legal transcription mini-course, click here.