News Coronavirus Coronavirus caravan: A home-work solution waiting in the driveway

Coronavirus caravan: A home-work solution waiting in the driveway

Kathryn Powley with her sons Nick (L), 10, and Alex, 12. Photo: Kathryn Powley
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It’s the question that has stumped working parents all around Australia.

How do I balance work with homeschooling my children?

For Melburnian Kathryn Powley, the answer was sitting in her driveway.

Her caravan. Or should I say, home office?

The caravan sitting idle in her driveway has been transformed into a functional home office. Photo: Kathryn Powley

Let’s face it, kids “can’t help but be distracting”, the journalist-turned media manager says.

Her routine for lockdown 2.0 goes as is: Start work at 7.30am. Spend two and a half hours in the caravan. Re-enter home to help her two primary school-aged children with schoolwork. Then back to the caravan.

“It means that when I’m working, I can focus on my work out here and then when I’m in the house I can focus on the kids,” Ms Powley says.

A desk and chair don’t quite cut it.

Inside her caravan, you’ll find a woven basket a friend gifted her from Africa, and a Fijian tapa cloth hanging from a frame.

Her caravan has become a talking point among colleagues during Zoom meetings. Photo: Kathryn Powley

She learned that it was important to make her workspace nice, at the very least.

“We miss our colleagues, human contact, the coffee machine – we need to find other ways to lift our spirits.

“At one point there were leaves and debris on the floor.  Plus the caravan’s brown wood veneer gets a bit overwhelming.”

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Keep it simple. Use plants, nice stationery and any other things to make your space feel more cheerful. Photo: Kathryn Powley

Not everyone has a caravan parked outside their home they can escape to.

In fact, there are some wealthy New Yorkers shelling out eye-watering sums to rent apartments to get away from loved ones while hotels are renting rooms as office suites between 8am and 8pm.

But what helped Ms Powley beyond having the caravan was realising that she needed to stop worrying about every aspect of her children’s education and focus on their core subjects.

“I just can’t take the whole stress on me doing a full-time job and getting them to do 100 per cent of everything that they’re assigned,” she says.

“I just try and make sure they do their reading, writing, maths, and other stuff that they do is a real bonus.”