One of the most difficult questions people have asked me is how they could manage to homeschool while working. It certainly is a valid question, and one that is keeping many families from taking the plunge into this amazing life of learning. As someone who has never worked outside the home while homeschooling, I don’t feel qualified to answer this common inquiry, but I know someone who is…
Today I’d like to introduce you to my good friend, Jen, from Practical, by Default. Having worked both outside and inside the home, she is the perfect person to answer this question. Not only is she a great blogger and mom, she’s also one of the most motivated people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. She combines homeschooling and working so beautifully that I’ve asked her to be my first ever guest contributor. I hope you find her advice to be as helpful as I have. Enjoy!
How to Homeschool While Working
Hello! My name is Jen and I am a working homeschool mom to 2 teens who blogs over at Practical, By Default- Solutions For The Working Homeschool Mom. Thank you for taking the time to learn how I balance working and homeschooling-and for tips on how you can do it, too! Also, many thanks to Shelly for allowing me to contribute to her awesome site!
Today I want to share three ways to help you find balance in working and homeschooling.
Before we start you might wonder, what is a working homeschool mom? Why is knowing if you are one important?
With so many labels in the world it can get frustrating to not only try to keep them sorted but figure out which ones apply to you and how a label will help you out in some way.
When I tell people I share practical solutions for the working homeschool mom, I get this odd look. Like they aren’t quite sure what I am talking about. What is a working homeschool mom anyway?
Long story short- a working homeschool mom is someone who works- be it inside the home, outside the home, for themselves, for clients, readers, a boss or does volunteer work, just to name a few. And also homeschools. You can read about how others define a working homeschool mom here.
How does this help you?
In my personal experience, when you understand that what you are doing is actual work, that your actions are important and have meaning and purpose, it helps you to better deal with problems and challenges when they arise.
Because when you acknowledge that what you are doing makes a difference and is vital, you won’t just sweep it under the rug or put it off “until later,” which often results in “never.”
Being a working homeschool mom matters because I remember being a stay at home mom and feeling like what I was doing was useless, less important. Until a stranger spoke up and made me realize we matter too! (You can read how you are not just a stay at home mom here)
Knowing you are a working mom can limit the guilt you may feel when you return to work.
3 Tips on how to find balance working and homeschooling
- Set your priorities. When it comes to work, life and school, we need to really understand what is important and why.
When I first returned to work I tried to do everything…myself. Needless to say I hit the brick wall. The worse part was I really thought I could keep doing it all. I had to learn to set personal limits, ask for help and realize what I really needed to do each day and let the rest go.
- Make changes to your homeschool that work with you, not against you. If you have already been homeschooling, a shock to your system might be when your favorite curriculum no longer works with your new lifestyle. (If you need help you can find over 40+ resources for homeschooling here.)
One major lifesaver for me has been finding programs online that my children can do without me looking over their shoulder. Another is saving those hands on projects for my days off. Lastly remember your children are always learning, and because as homeschoolers we don’t need to follow the traditional school schedule, you can homeschool on weekends, evenings, year round- whatever works for you.
- Make time for you.
It is funny; when I am flat out busy after a long day, my first instinct is to remove my “me time” from my to do list. “I don’t have time for that!” You know what that gets me? Stressed, fried, and if I am being honest, cranky. After all, chances are I haven’t sat down to eat, never mind to rest for 5 minutes in the whole day because some things never end. (hello laundry-I hate you)
Take your me time off your list long enough and you know what it gets you? Sick. Exhausted. Experiencing Burnout. And that is something you really don’t have time for.
So avoid all of that by putting yourself on the list. Take even 15 minutes to sit and chill out. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or whatever you like. Read a book. Watch a silly show. Go for walk.
Being a mom is hard. Being a homeschool mom is hard. Being a working homeschool mom is hard. It’s all HARD.
You don’t need to do it alone. I encourage you to find other moms that you can talk with, vent with, cheer with and who really “get it.” We all need a friend sometimes. If you are a working homeschool mom and want to learn more about how to find balance in juggling working and homeschooling, there are two things you can do: