You really want to homeschool your child, but you work – either part time or full time. How can you do both? Is it even possible to homeschool and work?
Juggling homeschooling and work is most definitely possible, but the first thing you need to be sure of is your “why”.
Your motivation to homeschool needs to be strong enough to withstand the potential frustrations of managing both school, work, and home.
Being tired of getting up early to get your kids to school on time is not going to hold up under pressure, but wanting your child to escape bullying and the anxiety of going to school is a great reason to homeschool.
However, working and homeschooling may force you to let go of some of your idealistic dreams for now, and arrange your circumstances to suit your realities.
Let’s look at how to do that.
Fitting homeschooling into your life may take some creative scheduling. Luckily, there are no requirements for what days and times you have to homeschool. Early mornings, late afternoons, and weekends are all options for you to choose from.
One bonus here is that you will not need to spend as many hours homeschooling as a child would spend in school. It takes less time to teach at home then at school (unless you have serious discipline issues).
Get creative and use weekends to teach science or social studies by doing unit studies, nature study, reading books, or watching videos.
Can you go to work earlier and come home earlier? Can you bring work home? Can you work from home some days? Can you take your child to work? Find out what your options are.
If you already work from home, then arrange your schedule to suit yourself.
Start your day well by having a morning routine that sets you up for success. (Read how to start your day well here)
Your morning sets the tone for the day, and getting up just a little earlier could make all the difference.
Of course, that may mean you need to go to bed a little earlier too.
Could you simplify your lives so that you don’t need two incomes? How can you spend less?
Simplify your curriculum by tackling only the essential subjects to begin with – math, reading, and language. As you have time, add the other subjects.
Do subjects in blocks instead of trying to do some of each subject each day. Simplify by doing only 2 subjects a day, but spend more time on those subjects.
When you eliminate the transitions from one subject to another you allow your child’s brain to stay in the same “mode” and they can often get more done in a shorter amount of time. Take short breaks to avoid fatigue.
If your child is older, start teaching them to work independently. You can supervise or facilitate, but don’t hover and spoonfeed your child.
If your children are old enough, use a curriculum that has everything done for you and doesn’t require any teaching on your part. This will free up your time to do other things.
This will eliminate a lot of wasted time because everyone knows what’s happening next and they won’t wander off, wasting time when you have to call them back.
If you work from home, have set expectations for what your kids are going to do while you are working. They could work on chores, have a resting time, or read. Make sure they know exactly what they’re allowed to do during that time and what they’re not allowed to do.
Set a time when you will be finished so your kids know when you will be available again.
Declutter your home so you can spend less time cleaning. (Read more on living a uncluttered life here.)
Shop less often but plan your list better. Have a meal plan up front and shop according to your plan.
Wear clothes more than once if possible to minimise laundry.
Assign household tasks to your kids if they are old enough. (Read 12 Reasons to Give Your Kids Chores)
Alexander Graham Bell said,
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Plan your meals, housework, schoolwork and outings. The more you planning you do, the more likely your success at juggling work and school.
Plan, plan, plan!
Your realities are your realities. Your family is unique. Don’t compare yourself to stay at home Mom’s who seem to have more time than you (they don’t neccessarily use their time well).
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can work it to suit you.
Go easy on yourself. Accept your limitations. Be flexible. Some days you’ll have to work overtime, some days your kids will be sick. And some days you’ll get so much done it’ll make up for the days you missed.
Enlist the help of a tutor, a family member to help baby-sit, your spouse to share chores and schooling, and domestic help if you just can’t keep up with the housework.
Getting help does not make you a failure.
When you’re working, work. When you’re home, be present. When you’re schooling, don’t multitask (unless your kids are working independently and you only need to facilitate occasionally. Otherwise do something that doesn’t require mental concentration and that can be easily interrupted, like mending or chopping vegetables).
Homeschooling when you work is definitely possible. You’ll just have to be very intentional about planning your life.
How do you balance work and homeschooling? Are you convinced this could work for you?