We’ve recently moved to a new home after having our house on the market for four months. Selling your home and homeschooling can both be stressful individually, but combined? My goodness, it can be rough.
Well, it can be rough if you’re not prepared for the process. The good news is that I learned a lot along the way and I’ve got some tips to share with you on how to homeschool when your house is for sale.
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Here’s the thing. There’s a lot that goes into homeschooling in a normal season, but homeschooling when you’re preparing to sell your house is another ballgame.
Our realtor gave us a to-do list before we could list our home. While our house wasn’t in need of repair or terribly cluttered, we did have things that needed to be addressed. Add those adjustments to normal homeschool life and you’ve got some challenges.
We made adjustments to our home, but also to our homeschool during our months on the market and they payed off. They not only helped us with the logistics of showing our home to buyers, they helped us stay sane in the process. If you’re preparing to sell your home while homeschooling, don’t sweat it. Here’s what helped us the most:
5 Tips for Homeschooling
When Your House Is for Sale
1. Declutter your homeschool space
I always tried to keep our homeschool space fairly tidy since we were homeschooling with an open floor plan, but I had to up my game when potential buyers were visiting. I learned quickly that there’s no better time to embrace a less is more mentality than when your home is on the market.
Embracing that less is more mentality allowed us to showcase our home’s potential while still maintaining the functionality we needed. In the schoolroom — our home’s breakfast nook — we removed one of three bookshelves and moved our table to the middle of the space.
In addition to removing and rearranging furniture, I cleared out the remaining shelves significantly. I removed most of the supplemental items we, ahem, might need and boxed up all of the curriculum and completed work from past homeschool years.
The interesting thing about all of it was that I realized I greatly preferred our simplified schoolroom. The only thing I would’ve kept around was a piece or two of the kids’ artwork that we were asked to remove. This decluttering didn’t just help buyers see the space as more than a schoolroom. It also helped us transition to our new space since we were downsizing.
Take away: you don’t have to remove all traces of your homeschool life, but don’t make it so overwhelming that potential buyers can’t see themselves using your space in another way.
2. Tackle lengthy lessons first
We had a minimum of two hours notice if anyone wanted to view our house. That meant that we had to focus on doing our lessons in shorter chunks and do projects that could be done in few steps and could be finished quickly. That made life more manageable if we had a showing pop up in the middle of our school day.
For example, we had to give up multi-step, mixed media art projects for a bit and experiment with projects that provided easy clean up and required fewer resources. Instead, we needed pastel or watercolor projects that could be done in an hour, start to finish.
Since we couldn’t completely stop the lengthier subjects, we put them first every day so we didn’t have to completely miss out on them if someone wanted to view the house. After all, people weren’t on the phone with their agents at 6:00 am scheduling appointments with us for 8:30. If we were going to be interrupted, it would be mid-day or later.
Take away: subjects that require lots of moving pieces and time need to happen first. That way you’re not playing Tetris with your Math-U-See manipulatives as a potential buyer pulls in the driveway.
3. Put It All Away at the End of the Day
When your home is on the market, you don’t have the luxury of leaving your homeschool items strewn about or putting off project cleanup for another day. The best thing you can do is get in the habit of putting all of your homeschool resources away each day. That’s a good habit to develop anyway, but it’s especially helpful when your house is for sale.
Imagine what it would be like to have three days worth of homeschool chaos piling up — art supplies to put away, papers to file, library books in every room, and binders in the floor — only to get a request to show your home in a few hours. That would add even more stress to the process of spotcleaning the entire house and getting everyone presentable and out the door 30 minutes before the appointment begins.
Take away: you can’t control much when your home is on the market, but you can and should control your homeschool space. If you do, it will make preparation for your showings much easier.
4. Be flexible
I learned pretty quickly that one major component of homeschooling while your house is on the market is to be okay when your school days don’t look like they’ve always looked.
Sometimes our homeschool looked different because we couldn’t be home due to a viewing. On those days, I loaded up a bag and we had school somewhere else. I found it best to bring alone things that didn’t require much more than our books, pencils, and paper. Otherwise it was too much to keep up with while driving to and from our home.
Our school days also looked different when we were preparing for showings or moving-related errands. It wasn’t uncommon at all for me to step away from the table while our house was on the market and let the kids learn without me.
When I was busy, they learned anyway. Snap Circuits, Mental Blox, Prime Video, and word puzzles stepped in when I couldn’t facilitate our lessons and it was a great thing. It showed me that we had already created a culture of learning in our home and it wasn’t necessary for me to feel stressed about my homeschool plans being pushed to the side.
Take away: have a bag handy that can become your homeschool on the go bag and remember the learning will come, even when you’re not able to follow the usual structure of your homeschool days.
5. Put away the lesson plans
Photographer coming out to take pictures of the house? Got an open house at the end of the week? Put the kids to work and let them help. Selling a home involves lots of life lessons and it’s more than okay to include the kids in the process.
One thing we tried to remind our kids pretty frequently was that they had responsibilities in the process also. Selling the house wasn’t just a mom and dad thing. On the extra crazy days, they knew they were expected to help us with housework and to maintain our staging throughout the entire home.
When they needed a break or we needed to multitask, I turned on a documentary or we listened to a book through Audible. That way we could still make progress with our homeschool plans while checking boxes off our to-do list for the house.
Take away: don’t be afraid to let the kids in on the journey. They’ll learn things from the selling process you’ll never be able to replicate in your homeschool plans later on.In closing, if you’re selling your home soon, know that all of these changes in your homeschool are only for a season. Once you sell your home, you’ll be able to start a new chapter in your homeschool journey and find your footing again.
What about you? Do you have tips for homeschooling while having to keep your home “showroom ready?” Leave them in the comments below and share that knowledge!