Being able to homeschool my children is a blessing that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But this opportunitiy comes with some sacrifices – one being having to trade in my corporate salary and live on just my husband’s salary. This meant making some changes in our lifestyle.
So to make ends meet and to give us a little extra, I decided to try working from home while homeschooling.
I looked at the skills I had developed and used in my corporate job and found ways to use them in a home business. I enjoyed being able to do what I loved and be there to teach my kids, but many days ended with me feeling frazzled and a bit overwhelmed. I needed to learn how to balance working from home while homeschooling my kids.
I experimented the first year with different ideas, and by year two I had a plan that worked for my family. After testing it for another three years, I’m ready to share my plan for balancing work and homeschooling:
Work during independent study or play. You’ve probably already figured this one out. When the kids are engaged in playtime or when they’re studying independently, I steal a few minutes to crank out light tasks. I have a checklist of tasks I need to accomplish so I can stay focused and keep track of what gets accomplished. Since they are involved, I don’t feel quilty for taking time out for my business. However, I make myself available should they need me.
Create activity lists for kids. This idea teaches independence while freeing up some time for you to work. Here’s how it works: Make a list of 6 or 7 activities for your child to complete. Alternate the items listed between small chores or learning activities and fun things for them to do. Make the list colorful or use pictures to describe what needs to be done. Make sure they are items that won’t require your help.
To make it even more fun, you can make the lists fun shapes or separate the items and hide them, making it like a treasure hunt. Enlist your child’s help in coming up with tasks to add to the list and they’ll enjoy it even more.
Let your kids help with your work. When I first came home, I worked in direct sales to earn extra income. Some of the tasks I had to do included marketing – passing out flyers, mailing out postcards, creating giveaway packets, and other similar types of activities. These tasks were ones my kids could help with and they even found it fun. They would place stamps on postcards, stuff baggies, and visit businesses with me to hand out my materials. I got work done, they had fun and we enjoyed our time together.
Enlist the help of your spouse or other family member. To give me focused work time, I talked with my husband and selected two days a week where I would go to the library in the evenings and he would spend time with the kids. During this uninterrupted time, I was able to finish the tasks that required greater focus. I scheduled as many tasks as I could and used that time wisely. You can make this arrangement with any family member or even consider trading playdates with other work at home or homeschooling moms.
Go to bed before 10pm and wake up early. This was the hardest one for me – going to bed before 10pm. I knew my body needed the rest, but I thought I could get so much more done later in the evening, after the kids went to bed. But when I switched to going to bed early and waking up early, I found that I was more alert, more ideas would come to mind, and my body felt better rested. I’m able to get more done and start my day off in good spirits when I get enough rest.
These are some of the ideas that worked for me in balancing working from home and homeschooling. If you have other ideas that have worked for you, please share them in the comments below.