When you homeschool, you have to juggle a lot of things. As a parent, you’re already wearing a lot of hats and when you add to it the task of being a teacher as well, you’re going to be very busy. Now, what if you have to work, too? Working from home with children can be a tough task if you don’t have a schedule and a plan for when and how you will work while also caring for the children. Now, add in the task of homeschooling and you can really have your hands full. If you are like me, you have had moments when you feel like throwing your hands up and either screaming at your kids or wanting to QUIT IT ALL!
Sound like you? It doesn't have to be that way.
That said, it is possible. In fact, many people do it (and only want to quit once or twice a month, instead of daily) and you can too if you commit to the lifestyle choice. Yes, it is a lifestyle choice. This is not just a decision you make lightly in passing. Your entire family will be affected by this. It’s going to benefit you to do all the research you can beforehand. Talk to people who are homeschooling and working from home. Join some support groups and ask questions. This is how you will determine if it’s right for you and your family.
Here are some things you need to know about how to work from home and homeschool:
- YOU MUST HAVE A SCHEDULE (OR ROUTINE) - The daily schedule is the rhythm (routine) of your day. Even if you’re not usually the scheduling type, it will be essential you do so when working from home AND homeschooling. There are far too many things to do and to keep track of to just wing it.
- GET ORGANIZED – Just like a schedule is necessary, you will also need to be organized. Whether you use a planner, a digital organizer, posters on the wall, or some other system that works for you, the point is just to remain organized. This is how you will keep track of when projects are due, what your students are studying, and when you have appointments.
- HAVE A SUPPORT NETWORK – It’s also going to be really important that you have a proper support network. You may already have close friends and family, but you also want to look for people who work from home and homeschool so you have support from people who also know what you are going through. To have friends that can understand when you have one of THOSE days is a saving grace and key to keeping you sane and giving you a pep talk when you need one most.
- SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES – If you’re constantly interrupted during your work time, your whole family will suffer in the long run. You need to get your work done so you can support your family financially. Determine when there are times that your family can talk to you and when there are “off-limit” times, such as when you’re in your home office, or when you’re sitting at your desk.
- GO MOBILE – When you can take your work or your homeschooling on the go, it gives you much more flexibility in your schedule. This means you can work around doctor’s appointments, extracurriculars, work field trips into your schedule, and even take your work on the go while you take your kids to the park, for example. There will be some tasks you can't do on the go but when you’re able to build a mobile plan into some of your work and some of your homeschooling, it will benefit long term.
- BECOME A MINIMALIST- IN EVERYTHING! There's only so much time in a day. Do you want to spend time with your family, or do you want to cook elaborate meals? Do you want to spend your time cleaning your big house packed to gills with stuff? Do you want to teach your kids Math, English, History, Science, Spanish, Religion AND chauffeur them around to violin, soccer, and the debate homeschool club? Do you want to run your home business with 3 different email addresses, 15 different plug-ins, and 20 different clients calling at all odd times?
If you can commit to all this, then you are a superwoman and I commend you. I for one, am not and cannot commit to all these things. When I said it was a lifestyle choice, it really is a lifestyle. You need to decide what is important to your family. Who is going to what chores, what can be outsourced if necessary, etc? And it doesn't happen all at once. It is an ongoing conversation throughout the years.
So, if something’s not working, own it. Accept responsibility for the reason it’s not working, identify the problems, and then correct them.
As far as working from home and being a minimalist, one of my favorite minimalist bloggers is Amy Lynn Andrews. She has written an excellent article called 7 Questions I Ask as a Minimalist Business Owner. Maybe you need to revisit some of your systems, software, or even what business you're in. Are you overwhelmed with all the changes in social media, email marketing, SEO, etc? She keeps it all in her personal digital notebook and calls it The Knowtbook. For $24 you get the quick, easy to read details about running an online business. You can seriously knock down a ton of FaceBook groups and blogs that you subscribe to. She uses her 13+ years of experience to weed through and then summarize the need to know. It's a lifesaver.
If you need help with time management, you can read her book on that called Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Time So You Can Live Free. Unlike other time management books, it short, to the point, efficient.
One of my last and most important tips about working from home:
- Become a morning person - Before starting my online business, I would sleep in as late as I possibly could without children waking me up. Now that my children are a little older, and luckily are night owls, they are allowed to stay up a little later than most schooled children and sleep until 9:30 am. I wake up at 6:00 am, eat breakfast, help get my husband off to work, exercise, and then get ready to tackle work tasks without interruption.
The best book I can recommend on becoming a morning person when you really aren't is called The Miracle Morning: The Not So Obvious Secret to Transform Your Life before 8am by Hal Elrod. The Miracle Morning is so much more than just waking early, it really can transform your entire life and if you want to change yours, I highly recommend reading it. Listen to it in the car if you have to.
Sometimes there will be times when you NEED to get some work done. Like I said, I have older kids, 10+ who understand completely if I tell them I need to concentrate on something for a while. They are usually good at giving me some quiet time. But if you have little ones, it can be challenging to keep them occupied. It will be challenging at first, no doubt, but once they get used to the routine of you working, things usually fall into place. If you are also looking for activities to keep your kids busy while you work, Rebecca, from Work at Home Mom CEO, has compiled this list of 10 activities.
Keep in mind that these tips are just suggestions for you. Every family is different, every homeschool is different, and you will need to tailor things to your needs. Tweak a little here and there, try something and see what works, experiment until you find that “sweet spot”.
One of the best parts of homeschooling is also one of the best parts of working from home: you have the freedom to plan your own schedule. And although there are those crazy days, I love being able to run two businesses I love (some may say I am crazy!) and be home with my children.
** This contains affiliate links. All suggestions are mine and things I personally use and have loved. I am so excited to share them with you. I will get a small monetary compensation when you purchase from the links. Thank you for that and I sincerely hope they benefit you as much as they have me.