As much as I loved homeschooling my kids, I also wanted to put my education and experience to use contributing to the family finances. I found out, like so many other homeschool parents, it’s not as easy as you might think. Though there are chunks of time when our kids are occupied, it’s not always easy to predict when those times will come. And – as every parent knows – the surest way to get your kids to need your immediate attention is to get on the phone!
We are all familiar with the struggle of trying to maintain a balance between different parts of our lives. One small event, like a child throwing a tantrum or an appliance breaking, can easily throw off our entire day.
Remember 2020 – 21? Virtually everyone was a work-from-home parent with homeschooled kids! Even if done imperfectly, we figured out ways to be successful at our work and as parents/teachers. If nothing else, that time showed us all that it can be done.
Although it’s challenging, being able to teach your kids at home while continuing to work is a great opportunity. And can actually work! Here are 8 things that helped me and my fellow entrepreneurs successfully homeschool while working from home.
Here’s who this guide is for:
- Homeschooling parents who work outside the home.
- Homeschooling parents who work FROM home.
- Homeschooling parents, REGARDLESS of job status, who feel like there’s never enough time in the day for themselves, their spouse, their friends or their house.
- Parents who want to homeschool, but aren’t doing so because of job demands.
- Parents who work and want to spend more quality time with their kids, regardless of educational philosophy.
- And, of course, parents who never intended to homeschool, but who have kids trying to learn from home – either with or without curriculum from their “regular” school – during COVID-19.
That’s a big list, right? Covers most of use parents at some point or another. There are ways for all of us to homeschool, maintain the home, keep a social life, AND keep our sanity.
1. Set goals/priorities each day for work.
It may sound obvious, but it really does help. Before you start your busy morning routine, take a moment to think about your top priorities for the day at work. It can really help to write your list of things to do the night before, so you can look at it first thing in the morning! As you’re making your list, you might want to come up with a system to help you figure out which items are most important, or which ones will take the longest to complete. This means that you will be able to complete tasks that require more focus when your children are occupied and less intense tasks when the household is busier.
TIP: First, think about what absolutely must get done. Then list those things according to the amount of time and focus they will take. What are some things that would be good to get done but aren’t necessary? There are a few things that you can put off until later, but will need to get done eventually.These things may include getting the car serviced, mopping, or getting to the dry-cleaners. You can usually get away with putting these things off for a week or two, but after that you will need to take care of them. (Or possibly keep a separate list for these things.)
2. Set personal and academic goals for the day.
Just as tasks related to work can be pushed aside if we don’t make a list of priorities and goals, so can important personal and homeschooling tasks! Because unlike work and homeschooling, few of those personal tasks will be “due” on a particular day. When making my work-related list, I’ll place those priorities in one column and create another column for homeschooling tasks and another one for personal tasks. Remember to do things to take care of yourself. Don’t be a martyr to work, home and homeschool. Everyone is happier when you are not exhausted. Other things to remember are to pay bills, exercise and get groceries. All of that stuff is list-worthy. The most important things when making a multi-faceted, “master” list like this are:
- Draw attention to the top priorities in each category.
- Keep a good balance.
- Keep it realistic.
3. Create routines and habits to help household tasks go smoothly.
It is important to have realistic expectations about household tasks and to find ways to reduce the amount of work required. Mom can’t do it all! It is important to delegate tasks when working from home and homeschooling in order to be successful.
It is important to talk to your partner about creating a schedule for doing chores and to make sure that all the children are helping to keep the house running. Home economics can be counted as part of their school day. If you can, use grocery pickup and hire someone to help with things like cleaning your house, mowing your lawn, or watching your kids. You get the idea. There are many ways to make your household run more smoothly without having to do everything all the time. Try delegating tasks to other members of the household, creating a cleaning schedule, or investing in some helpful organization tools.
A few others tips to try: breaking tasks into smaller pieces, scheduling regular breaks, setting priorities, and seeking professional help if needed. Consider taking a few minutes to think about how the advice applies to your family, work, and homeschool.
4. Create constructive options for independent activities for your kids.
If you work from home, you need to be able to trust that your kids can do something educational and fun while you work. Choose activities that your child can do independently and that they will enjoy. Making sure the options are safe, easy, and not messy is important. This could involve a young child listen to an audio book and playing with blocks while their parent is working, or coloring with a special coloring book. Perhaps your older child is passionate about a certain topic and takes online courses or teaches themselves about it, such as art or a foreign language. Instead of having a set bedtime, you could have a fun reading time for the whole family. If you have children who are taking online classes, you may want to coordinate your work with theirs.
The point of having an educational/constructive activity time is to encourage/demonstrate to kids that they can have successful, independent, enjoyable school time, and to give enough structure to maintain order while you work. Independently scheduled “funschool” activities can also improve mood and provide a significant amount of focused time during the day.