Are you feeling overwhelmed with working while homeschooling? These practical planning strategies will help you get a plan in place that works for your family and helps you thrive while juggling work and homeschool.
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Have you ever wondered if you can work and homeschool your children? Many people believe that working and homeschooling don’t mix.
And while it is true that working and homeschooling provide unique challenges, it can be done.
The Key to Working While Homeschooling
I’ve been juggling life as a working homeschool mom for just over 13 years. Currently I work both outside the home, inside the home, run my own business, volunteer weekly, and homeschool two teens.
Needless to say, life can get a little chaotic. As you see, that list above doesn’t include groceries, errands, housekeeping, laundry that never ends, or dishes that seem to double when I am not looking… the list, it never ends.
And that’s okay. It is part of what being a mom, wife, daughter, and friend looks like. You can find a way to get your life in order and find joy in the seemly chaos.
The key is in your planning.
About once a week I get asked to share what our homeschool schedule looks like and how all the pieces fit.
While I understand the value of being inspired by how other working moms make it work, I hesitate to share. The reason being your homeschool schedule is going to look different from mine. As it should. Everyone’s life is different.
Even if we had the exact same circumstances the choices we make would be totally different as we adjust to fit the needs of our family.
Again, the beauty of homeschooling is it fits your needs where your family is at.
This is why it is vital that you read these interviews that show how working moms homeschool. It’s also vital to do so with an open mind because, while you can get encouragement and inspiration from them, there are going to be parts that will not fit you at all. That is okay! Be you!
Planning Tips For Working
What you really need is a plan that fits your family, your needs, your lifestyle. I’d like to share a few things that have worked for me.
1. Get a Planner
Your life is busy with a million moving parts. Chances are I am only slightly exaggerating with a “million.”
You need to keep track of all the pieces so nothing gets lost and to keep it manageable.
What I’ve discovered is that there is no “one size fits all” planner. Moms’ lives by nature are busy either by choice or by circumstance.
Because my life, like yours, has many moving parts that all have to fit together, I need some sort of organization method or plan.
When choosing a planner here are a few questions to ask:
- Do I need every little thing mapped out?
- Do I need an outline with lots of “wiggle room”?
- Do I prefer a vertical layout or horizontal layout?
- Do I need a paper planner, an online planner, a mix of the two?
Whatever you choose, find a planner or organizer that works with you, not against you. For example, don’t pick a large planner if you want to take it everywhere with you. Instead, pick one that will fit in your bag or an online planner.
HINT: If you need a list of great planners that come highly recommended by working moms, read: Best Planners For Working Moms
2. Make Time to Set Up Your Planner
Once you pick out your planner the next step is getting it set up and organized.
Because having a planner is one thing. Using it is another. *ahem*
I like to do weekly planning sessions with my daughter. It’s a great way to get organized and connect with my teen at the same time. And yes, I mark it on my planner to plan.
The key when filling out your planner is to be as schedule as you need to be to get things done but not so scheduled you can’t breathe!
With that in mind, here is a quick overview of my weekly planning session:
I start by gathering all my different schedules together, these may include but are not limited to:
- My work schedules outside the home
- Volunteer work schedule
- Work at home lists of tasks to complete and deadlines
- My business tasks and deadlines
- Spouse’s work schedule
- Homeschool schedule
- Extracurricular events
- Appointments: doctor, hair, clients, vet, etc.
- Trips or vacation days
- Special events or social events
- Date nights, game nights, etc.
Pro tip: As you lay out your lists, tasks, and notes, visualize how you want your week to look.
Prioritizing and Planning for Working while Homeschooling
Now, I fill in the planner. The ORDER I add them is key. The first thing that goes in are items I don’t have control over when they happen such as my outside the work schedule and extracurricular homeschool events.
Next, things I do have some control over that need to happen such as vet appointments and when our homeschool happens. (More on this below)
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Then I make sure nothing overlaps such as double booking clients or needing to be at the vet and the rink for skating at the same time. If that happens I look for someone else to take the kids or what can be moved.
One thing I always forget is the logistics of traveling and the time needed to do things such as eat and change my clothes.
Lastly, I make sure there is time for self care each week. I aim for daily but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I know if I put it in the plan I am more likely to take care of me. Self care is vital to avoiding burnout.
Pro tip: Don’t fill in every single little space you have available if possible. Allow space so you can accept that spontaneous cup of coffee with a friend, hike in the woods with your kids, or long chat on the phone with your mom.
3. Plan Your Homeschool
Now that you have a good understanding of what your week may look like it is time to figure out where the homeschool part may fit.
This is where understanding how flexible homeschooling can be. Homeschooling can happen any time of the day, not just Monday–Friday, 8–3.
It is important to take advantage of the time you do have together.
For years, our “weekend” was Wednesday. That is when we did all our field trips, playground visits, and library runs. It was my only day home so we really took advantage of it each week.
What days are you home that you can take advantage of? Many working moms find doing homeschool lessons before work or in the evening works really well. You can also take advantage of holidays, weekends, vacations, and more.
Also, don’t be afraid to make use of online programs, co-op classes and other programs to help remove some of the stress from you. Plus, it can benefit your kids to learn from other people besides mom.
Lastly, never underestimate the power of audiobooks, coloring pages, puzzles, books, documentaries, games and nature walks. All of these are great ways for your kids to learn new skills while having fun.
Use these tips to set your planner and yourself up for success. Taking time to be intentional with your time will really pay off and help you get more done in less time!
In closing, remember the key to working while homeschooling is being as scheduled as you need to be in order to get things done. And all of that starts with planning.
Need more help with homeschool planning?
Don’t miss our Homeschool Planning That Works series. We’ve got lots of tips and strategies to help you THRIVE — not just survive — while homeschooling waiting for you there.