Staff meeting here. Zoom call there. Phone check-in with four or five co-workers regarding their part on a presentation. Prepare the materials for those under me to carry out the big project they are assisting me with, thirty-seven emails needing response and 92 other todo items. It may sound ridiculous but that is a pretty typical work week for me. Yes, on top of Smart Simple Homeschool, being a wife and a homeschooling mom, I work between 34 and 40 hours a week. I do have a bit of an advantage over traditionally scheduled employees in that my hours are mostly flexible [with the exception of meeting times] and the boys are always welcome to tag along with me when I do need to be in the office; but, I have worked alongside several parents who homeschool and work more traditional hours than I. What I’m trying to say is . . . it is possible – you can be a working homeschooling parent.
Today, I want to help you see how it can work.
- Schedule some PTO or days off at the beginning of the school year – Routines and expectations are important to making your year a success. In order to ensure that we start the year off right, I always flex some time to the evenings or take some PTO the first week or two of school. By taking this time off and focusing on getting our school year going, I save us a ton of stress and frustration further into the year.
- Time Block Schedules – Both the boys and I have a time blocked schedule. Everyone knows what tasks are going to be part of each part of each day. For example, I know that between 7-8:30AM I am going to do my quiet time, eat breakfast, and answer any work emails that came in during the night. From 8:30-9:15AM all of the boys and I are all engaged in what we call Group Learning Block 1. This block includes our family devotional and the reading comprehension read aloud we do. From 9:15-10:45AM, the boys work on independent work block 1 and I write curriculum for my ministry job. Our day continues in blocks just like these.
- Set Clear Expectations – When can the kiddos interrupt you? How do they go about doing so? What does work done well look like? How do we maintain our work space / house? If you need some ideas for these, you can check out our other blog posts on interrupting and rules/expectations.
- Keep it Simple – Don’t overcomplicate your days with tons of different materials and curriculums. Streamline what you are doing. We try to tie together several of our subjects whenever we can as it allows us to keep from pulling our hair out. How do we do this? We make writing part of our response to what we are reading. We also tie writing into our history and our science. Though we do need to have writing conversations from time to time, more often than not, these are lessons on the fly as I see an area we need to discuss after working on writing tied to something else.
- Prepare Ahead of Time – Don’t let needing dried beans sneak up on you. You need to stay ahead of yourself. Take some time each weekend to prepare all of the papers, pencils and materials you are going to need for the coming week.
- Use Your Breaks and Lunch Time Wisely – Breaks and lunchtime are a great time for you as an employee of another company to add in some homeschooling time. During my breaks and lunch, I teach subjects to the children either individually or as a group. This helps me to keep focused during work sessions and give homeschooling the attention it deserves. Splitting your attention never goes well for anyone.
This list is far from exhaustive but it is a glimpse into how we make it all work. If you’re a working parent and would like to homeschool, I’d love to talk with you about ways to make it work for your house. If you’re a parent that is working and homeschooling, share with us what works for you. And as always, you can join the conversation on social media – Facebook and Instagram. Keep it smart. Keep it simple.