This year things are looking different for our family since I’ve decided to relaunch my business coaching for mompreneurs. A few things have had to change in our routines and how we “do school” in order for that to happen for me, though. I’m going to give you a few pointers in this post about how to make life easier for those of you who are working while homeschooling (especially working from home). I’m still trying to figure it out as I go, but here are some tips that have made life easier for us so far.
**NOTE: this post was originally written in 2014 when I had a middle schooler and kindergartner. Listening to the podcast will give you an updated view on what things are like in my life currently- in 2017. Just hit the play button above or subscribe in Itunes.)
So let’s get into it…
Tips for working while homeschooling
What are some tips that can help be a mompreneur while educating your kids at the same time?
Change your expectations.
Notice, I didn’t say “lower”. But if you should decide to lower them, that’s fine too. You know your kids better than anybody, and sometimes our expectations about what kids should be achieving each school year are higher than average. (Just so you know, the homeschooling bunch tends to be some of the worst critics of ourselves- even more so than the public education sector.)
But, if anything, you’ll probably need to change your expectations. Do you expect to finish that math book by the end of May? Well, take an honest, hard look at the book and evaluate it. Do you really feel it’s a necessity? Can the topics be broken up into shorter topics and can you pace it out a bit longer than one semester?
In another post, I’ll talk about some decisions my 6th-grader and I came to about her curriculum planning for the year and why we chose to change things up. Although my daughter is set on finishing up some of her curricula, pacing out some of her other subjects made it to the list of must-do’s for that year.
Changing your expectations might mean the difference between frustration or peace of mind when the end of the school year comes around and you begin to evaluate your previous year. If you’re working from home, you don’t want to end up feeling discouraged that the reason your kids are “behind” is that you were also balancing your business load. Take care of the scheduling and planning upfront – being sure not to burn out both yourself and your kids- so that you’re fully aware that what you need for them to accomplish that year can get done- while you work.
Create a block schedule routine.
Also, if you’re expecting to have “normal” school hours, you may have to reevaluate that in light of your new office hours. Working while homeschooling can be done and has been done by many, many homeschooling moms. If you’re just in a time in your life that you feel you need to work for whatever reason, just know that you’re among good company. Working while homeschooling is something you need to plan for in advance, but you don’t have to give up on one to have the other.
I like block schedules because it gives me a big chunk of time to work on one thing and one thing only. Granted, with much younger kids, this is not something I’d be able to do.
But my kids are now 11 and 6- so that helps. We get up earlier and start our school routine for the morning. Unless I have a podcasting interview scheduled, most mornings are dedicated to getting our school work completed. My oldest, as I mentioned earlier, is more independent, so that leaves me a 2 hour block with my 6 year old to work with her on math, phonics, bible, and one specialty topic. Of course, I’m always available for my oldest when she needs help- but she’s pretty much on her own. Every few days or so I’ll pop in and read one of her Sonlight books with her and we’ll go over bible memory verses. But as you can see, once my kids are both finished with school, this frees up some time for me to have a few hours to work online. I usually have my oldest do some activities with my younger one for a time while I work. **Update: My kids are now 14 and 9 and we no longer do Sonlight, but one thing remains the same: we block schedule! Block scheduling works.
I like the concept of “block scheduling” because it allows me to see my time in terms of a few hours rather than one hour at a time, and makes me feel like I have more time to be productive. If I focus on one thing only for a good while, I’m more likely to accomplish my goals than if I were to be working on several things at once.
So, school time is school time. Time with my hubby is just with him (I send the kids off so I can talk to him alone.) And I’m finding that running a business at home means I’ve got to have some time that’s just my work office hours. It helps a lot- even if I just get one hour. **Update- I now spend significantly more time on business because the kids are older. But I remember days when I barely had an hour a day to accomplish my goals. Block scheduling works great for those seasons.
See your “working while homeschooling” accomplishments as long-term.
Whether you accomplished a little or a lot in one day, you made progress and you got further along than you were the day before, so you should feel happy about that.
View your accomplishments as a long-term work-in-progress, not as an overnight success project. It takes time to build a successful business and it takes time to raise children and homeschool. Everything takes time, so don’t be in a rush to make it work overnight. You can make working from home while homeschooling work for you!
I hope these have been helpful tips for you mompreneurs out there. God bless you in all your endeavors, and happy homeschooling!
Mentioned in the Podcast
Resources I use lately to help streamline my homeschool.