Being a working homeschool mom can be quite challenging. If you a new homeschool mom trying to navigate working and educating your children at home, this post is for you! As a veteran homeschooling mom who has also worked in the midst of it all, there are a few things you should know to help you make the most of this journey.
New Working Homeschool Mom, Now What?
You’ve probably done all the research your mind can stand and trying to make sense of it can be somewhat overwhelming and stressful. To help make your journey a tad bit easier, here are some quick tips about starting your homeschooling season.
Make sure you’re legal.
Each state has their own laws when it comes to homeschooling so you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar with them and abiding by them. Some states are more lenient (Kentucky, Texas, and Missouri) whereas others require a bit more to homeschool (Tennessee, Vermont, and New York).
HSLDA is a great resource for being able to quickly identify what your needs are depending on what state you live in. You’ll also be able to find more in depth information when it comes to homeschooling special needs children, traveling through multiple states, or even a US citizen living in another country.
Take time to become familiar with different methods and styles.
Although homeschooling isn’t a one-size-fits-all, there are a variety of methods and styles that can help you pinpoint the kind of homeschool you’d like to have. I like to tell people that these are more for inspiration versus an exact model that must be followed. Most homeschooling families usually end up with a mix of multiple methods simply because it’s what works for them.
Take your child’s educational needs into consideration.
This is one of the biggest steps that most people miss in the beginning, yet it’s one of the best perks of homeschooling. Meeting your child where they are developmentally is the single best thing you could do for them and their journey of learning at home. If your child is excelling in math, yet seems to not like reading so much… you can cater specifically to that need and plan accordingly.
This is equivalent to establishing unique education plans for your children and your overall homeschool. Think in terms of what you want your children to learn, when you’d like them to learn it, and how. Contrary to popular belief, you have total control over all those things. Create goals that will give you and your children a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps you only want to homeschool until middle school – establish goals to make that a reality. Maybe there is college in mind, set up goals to work toward that accomplishment.
Create a daily homeschool schedule.
Having a daily homeschool schedule doesn’t have to be something set in stone more than a guide to help hold everyone accountable, be productive with tasks, and properly manage time. Use these quick tips for setting up a homeschool schedule:
- Write down everything your family typically does on a daily basis.
- Create time blocks for those tasks (your work schedule, eating times, errand running, naps, extracurricular activities, etc.).
- Assign each task and activity to a block of time.
- Fill in homeschool-related activities in the open spaces.
You’ll notice I didn’t say write down when you want to homeschool first. You can certainly do this, but the earlier you realize that you don’t have to change your life for homeschooling, the smoother the transition will become.
With these things in mind, let’s talk about what homeschooling looks like for the working mom.
How to Work and Homeschool
Once you have all your ducks in a row with the foundational things of homeschooling, it’s time to see what that looks like while working. Although this will look differently per family, there are things that can be considered for any and everyone who fall in this category.
Communication is key.
Communicating with your spouse, children, boss, and anyone involved in your life during this time will be the key for smooth days. If you have a remote job, let your boss know that you are working while homeschooling. If you run your own business, still remember that you are working and homeschooling.
Don’t forget to include your children in the communication loop. Use a variety of communication tools to help keep everyone on the same page, such as calendars, charts, lists, etc. Consider keeping a big calendar in a place everyone can see. Use a color code system for tasks and activities to keep things from being confusing.
Use curriculum and resources that foster independent learning.
One of the best skills children can learn is being able to work independently. This often isn’t accomplished until sometime during middle or high school years; however, the foundation of it can be taught as early as preschool (or even sooner!). In most cases it’s the style of curriculum that plays a major role in if this is accomplished or not. Open-and-go resources can help if you have a nice chunk of time to devote to reading materials and helping with activities or assignments.
For independent learning, there are resources such as online courses or classes that can help take some of the pressures off yourself while still catering to your child’s educational needs. Your child’s ability to independently learn will come in handy on those busy work days.
Create a work schedule.
If you have a job with set hours then your schedule is most likely already set in stone. However, if you own your own business, setting work hours for yourself is key to having less stressful days of trying to juggle all the things. This schedule should mesh into the daily schedule that we talked about earlier.
As you create your work schedule, make sure you are including times to make and take phone calls, answer emails, content plan and so on.
Limit all distractions.
Distractions are what I call time thieves. These are the times we are scrolling Facebook, Instagram, or doing unproductive (or non income producing) activities. I personally try to schedule in time to do these things so they are not putting a hindrance on my day. Limiting distractions will also help with being consistent with your daily homeschool schedule and other areas in life in general.
As you begin your season as a working homeschool mom, always know that you are not the only one and there is support for you. Always operate from a place of flexibility and give yourself grace. Make any necessary changes and always keep your family’s needs a priority. You got this mom!