Working from Home with the Kids - www.maganward.com

MAGAN WARD

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I'm Magan!

Wife, mama, and educator obsessed with chick-fil-a mac & cheese and dry shampoo.

An entrepreneur since the ripe old age of 5 when I would sell a single cracker with spreadable cheese from my lunch box for $0.25. 

I have built a successful photography business while working for a decade in the insurance industry. 

I hold my Masters in Education and love to teach. So it is no secret that I would teach from all I have learned along the way.

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Raise your hand if you are working from home while your children are running around during our current quarantine situation! Just raised my hand too, friend!

Working full time from home always sounded amazing, but let me be the first to tell you that this is NOT how I envisioned it, can I get an amen? I pictured the dog curled up beside me, listening to podcasts in a nice, quiet house while the kiddos were at school. Clearly, during this current pandemic, things look much different than the dream scenario.

So how are you keeping your kids busy? I was at a loss when we would complete the required things from the teachers of my children, so I turned to someone that I knew would have answers to help me out!

I was first introduced to Vanessa Kynes through one of my favorite weekly podcasts – she didn’t know me from Adam but I loved listening to all of her advice and she opened my eyes to the wonderful world of Pinterest and how to use it for business strategy! I quickly learned that she is also a homeschool mom for her three precious daughters!

As soon as I began looking for ways to not just keep my children busy, but keep their brains occupied, I knew I had to turn to Vanessa to find out how she handles homeschooling AND running a successful business from home!

I HAD to share all of her tips with you, so I invited her as a guest blogger so we could give you all the details – because we are all in this together, right?!

Without further ado…here is Vanessa, in her own words!  

Image by Alisha Crossley Photography

Thank you so much Magan for hosting me on your blog!

Hi, I’m Vanessa Kynes and I am a Pinterest Marketing Strategist at vanessakynes.com. I am also a homeschooler to three girls, ages 9,8, and 3. 

As a homeschooling mama who also runs a Pinterest management consultancy, I have learned that working while the kids are at home can be done. You can have a successful business and make choices about your time. You can teach your children to be independent and learn on their own too.

Teaching your children to be independent takes time and training. Here are some of my favorite activities for occupying their time so you can get some office work done too!

Tip One: Podcasts for Preschoolers and Elementary Kids

Listening to podcasts is one of my kids’ favorite activities! If your child is a reluctant reader or gets distracted easily, podcasts are a great way to improve their reading comprehension as well as get an easy 30 minutes to an hour of work done! 

Here are some of my favorites for our kids and elementary ages:

  1. Wow in the World (Science)
  2. Pants on Fire (Science/Facts)
  3. Eleanor Amplified (Story about broadcasting- SO hilarious!)
  4. Brains ON
  5. But WHY: A Podcast for Curious Kids

Tip Two: Read Aloud Books

If your children begin to listen to podcasts independently (without interrupting you), then they might be ready for longer chunks of time with read aloud books. My children often draw and color while listening to these books. Your child might enjoy building with blocks or LEGO too. Here are some of our favorite books: 

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia
  2. Harry Potter
  3. The Hobbit
  4. Little House Series
  5. Red Wall
  6. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
  7. The Mysterious Benedict Society
  8. The Little Princess
  9. The Penderwicks
  10. The Wind in the Willows

Image by Alisha Crossley Photography

Tip Three: Arts & Crafts for Kids

While messy, arts and crafts are a great time for your children to explore, learn, and create! My girls are motivated by doing crafts alone and hopefully, yours are too.

Some of our favorite crafts include play-dough, Kinetic sand, watercolor paints, water beads, and ironing beads! You can find some of our favorite kits (that have been a big hit) below:

  1. Kinetic Sand – much easier to clean than Play-Dough!
  2. Play-Dough Kits– I adore this dentist one! My girls love baking, so they are always interested in making treats and cakes.
  3. Watercoloring Kits for Kids– my girls LOVE painting! And as an added bonus, you can find YouTube tutorials for art for kids. My girls love learning online!
  4. Water Beads– I love the ways these grow and shrink and they are so fun! Plop the kids outside (with supervision) with these beads and let them play!
  5. Ironing Beads– while the kids will need some supervision for ironing, my girls can make designs with these for hours!

Tip Four: Building & STEM Toys

Science AND play? Can you say multitasking? I’ve seen a lot of e-learning plans from friends in the past few weeks that include STEM learning to replace science curriculum. Kids love building and these kits below are some of my girls FAVORITES, time and time again!

  1. Lego Girls– while you may have boys in your home, my kids love putting together these lego kits, followed by role playing with the characters. “Stephanie’s House” is a favorite!
  2. Brain Flakes– I cannot explain to you the HOURS my kids have played with these simple building contraptions! They are so fun and easy to clean!
  3. Magnatiles– While these can be pricey, there are some off-brand options. Teach your kids to build! I have also used these handy shapes to demonstrate fractions and geometry for visual learners.
Image by Alisha Crossley Photography

Tip Five: Homeschooling Support Tools

While your school may have issued e-learning tools and curriculum for your children while you ‘homeschool’, transitioning from a traditional school environment to a computer led system isn’t easy!

It took me a full year to feel confident in my homeschooling experience (and sometimes that still wavers). Teaching math to an upper elementary child isn’t easy! These tools below can help you bridge the gap for your child (and some are free too!). 

  1. Khan Academy— Free math tutorials, quizzes and tests that align very well with grade level requirements.
  2. Math Mammoth— I personally use these for my girls to learn math. They come with a lesson and instruction, and the problems are challenging but also test their knowledge.
  3. READ to your kids and let them READ uninhibited! Never have your children had so much time to read! Let them dive into some fun books (the book list above might help).
  4. YouTube Art tutorials— these are SO fun! Your kids can learn to draw.
  5. Documentaries on Netflix- there are so many quality documentaries, like Planet Earth, that they can learn about the wonders of the Amazon or the Ocean floor.
  6. Markers and paper- My girls love drawing and coloring, but I also give them tasks, like, “Draw a menu for an ice cream store with your FAVORITE flavors. Invent a smoothie shop, illustrate what they would serve!”


Remember, be patient with yourself and your kids as you teach and train them to be independent. Give them choices, but also use some of these fun activities as an incentive to getting their e-learning or homeschooling work done. And don’t forget:

Let them explore and know, this too shall pass…

Interested in more work from home mom tips? Want to see an example of my daily schedule? You can read more in this post!

Where to find Vanessa:

w: www.vanessakynes.com
f: www.facebook.com/vanessakynes
i: www.instagram.com/vanessakynes

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