Top 10 Tips for Working And Homeschooling

Top 10

There’s a growing trend in the homeschool world of parents who are homeschooling their kids while still working. It’s a very tricky balance, but one that has been well worth the effort for me and my family. For those of you who are thinking of taking that plunge, here are my top 10 tips for finding the balance of working and homeschooling.

1. Be creative with your work schedule. I run my own business, which for the most part allows me to set my schedule. I am home in the mornings and then I go into my office after lunch. If you work in a corporate setting, don’t be afraid to approach your boss about an alternative arrangement. Can you work from home in the mornings? Can you work an earlier shift so that you’re home in the early afternoon? Or maybe you go in later but your spouse comes home earlier? It never hurts to ask – most employers want to keep their good employees happy.

2. Buy a really good planner. Actually several, one for you and one for each of your kids. I write down my to do list as well as any ideas that pop into my head into my planner. This frees me up from the stress of trying to not to forget things, and keeps me organized. Write down the weekly assignments for your children in their planners so that they always know what they need to do, even if you aren’t there to tell them.

3. Have a designated spot in your home for all things homeschool. A cabinet, bookshelf, or bin on the floor where the kids can put their school books and binders is a must for keeping your sanity. Disorganization is a stressor that wastes precious time and can make homeschooling feel like a chore.

4. Look for curriculum that has lower teacher involvement. Many publishers today write their curriculum directly to the students. For example, our Apologia science books require very little interaction on my part as they are designed to be read and worked through by the kids. Especially in the beginning, these types of books will help make the transition easier for you. You can always add more teacher led projects once you settle in to your routine. (Here is more detail about which homeschool curriculum I use)

5. Look for ways to incorporate things the kids already like to do into your lesson plans. Sometimes my kids get bored when they finish their assignments early and I am not done with work. By having fun projects for them using the video games or legos they already like to play with, I can keep them learning and entertained at the same time. For example, if we are learning about Ancient Greece, they can build a temple out of legos – a fun project that eats up a lot of time.

6. Plan ahead. Most curriculum comes with a suggested lesson plan for the year, which can be a huge help. I used to plan out the week’s lessons on Sundays, but I found there were times when I didn’t have something on hand that we needed and we had to skip an experiment or activity because of that. I am spending the summer laying out our year, but even planning a month in advance can help you out. The more you have done ahead of time, the easier each day will be.

7. Understand that you can’t participate in everything. In my hometown, there are tons of co-ops, conventions, and classes for homeschoolers. Problem is, most of them require time commitments each week that I just can’t make with my work. IT’S OKAY. Just like your kids don’t need to be in every sport offered, they will still have a wonderful, fun, and enriching education experience even if you can’t be in the local homeschool group. For most of us who work, there will be sacrifices made to be able to homeschool. Whatever those are, the benefits outweigh the costs!

8. Seek encouragement. It’s lonely sometimes feeling like the only one who is trying to work and homeschool. Let me assure you that you are not the only one. There are lots of us out there who understand the unique challenges this brings. Every now and then stop and reflect on why you homeschool and the benefits you see. Encouragement is vital for any homeschool parent, and it really helps to remember why you are doing this when the going gets rough.

9. Take advantage of learning opportunities unique to your situation. In my ‘day job’ I work on building custom homes and remodeling, so when I can I bring the kids along. They love to see the ‘behind the scenes’ work of how things are built, and what it takes to run your own business. Are there ways to incorporate your job experience into your homeschool?

10. BE FLEXIBLE. This should probably be #1 on the list. Homeschooling requires flexibility anyway, but when you are trying to handle a career and all the surprise phone calls and meetings, you have to understand that your best laid plans are always subject to change. No public school teacher ever has everything go exactly the way they thought and you won’t either. It’s okay. Just go with it. Tomorrow is a new day!

If you’re interested in more in depth information on how to work while homeschooling, I have an ebook on the subject available here.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
This blog post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

Comments

  1. Love this post Vicki! There is so much good advice here. I can’t believe that I haven’t spent the time to plan out our lessons in advance. I tend to ‘wing it’ but that has not worked out so well. Having a planner for each kid sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing your hard-earned wisdom!

  2. Thank you for your kind words Marianne! I wish I could say I didn’t learn some of this the hard way, but I believe we homeschool moms learn everyday right alongside our kids. 😉 I’ve used these planners before (http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/ESV+Scripture+Planner+Elementary+8-13-6-14/035534/a343b67b7ac46eb5f736f9cb?subject=1&category=140) which are great! This summer I’m working on creating one myself but we’ll see if I get that far.

  3. Great points! Thanks for sharing. Many parents think they can’t homeschool because they work. You showed them they can!