As a work at home homeschool mom, I know how hard it is to work and homeschool. I know many families also have both parents working out of the home while homeschooling. I wanted to make sure we addressed this topic with our “I Can’t Homeschool” series. So, I am excited to share this guest post from Maritza at Homeschool Epiphany.
There is no single homeschool alike, and of course, this should be expected as no single family is the same. Every home has a unique dynamic life that makes it characteristic of each individual family. Some parents work at home, some dads work outside home while mom stays home educating their children, and in some cases the dad stays home educating the children while the mother is the provider for the family. There are also growing cases of both parents working, whether outside the home, at home, or a combination of both, and in a variety of hours and shifts: part-time, full-time, day, evening, night, etc.
Some parents may wonder how is this done or if it is even possible, and like previously said, no single family will have the same routine or needs. In my case, my husband has the regular day shift schedule of working outside home, and I have a part-time evening shift job on the weekends, as well as a part-time direct sales business based most of the time at home. Adding the church ministry I lead, exercising and homeschooling, may sound like it might be a little too much. Can homeschooling be done? Definitely! Is it challenging? Absolutely! BUT, it is possible when organization is used and implementation of a DO ABLE schedule takes place in which it will certainly aid in determining the level of stress on the parents and home in general.
It takes trial and error to find the right working home routine with the children, and even when you find one, you will still need to be open to changes because children grow and we live life by stages, so nothing is ever set in stone. I thank God for flexibility, because when we decide and feel comfortable with being flexible, everything can easily fall into place like a puzzle.
Have the Right Tools!
Some tools for getting us organized with our time:
- A Wall Calendar
- Busy mom planner
- Homeschool planner
- Work planner
- Have a general planner
You may say, “Those are too many planners”, but I tell you, there are not really big planners themselves they are tools, you really need one general planner, where you can jot down everything from every area. The wall calendar will help you keep an eye of any activities, due dates, and regular schedule of the family, and placing it where the most action takes place(pantry door, kitchen wall, breakfast area, etc…), will make it easily spotted at any time.
The “busy mom planner” is really just a binder or notebook for home management where you can keep home-related ideas, plans, bills, cleaning schedules, recipes, etc. to make life at home a little better organized.
The homeschool planner, well, this one is obvious, is where you plan your yearly, monthly, weekly, and day by day home school for your children. You need to have one of these to be able to have a good picture of how things will be done and how each day will look like (and of course, it is subject to changes…Ha!! the beauty of flexible home education!)
The “work planner” really, might just be your phone’s calendar with your working dates marked on it, but could also be a little notebook with things that have due dates, certifications, trainings to complete, etc. depending on the type of job.
The “general planner” is THE planner, where you put abbreviated information of everywhere and everybody, also the wall calendar helps in this way, but it is good to have the general planner, easy to carry on for on the go moms (who isn’t an “on-the go” mom anyway?).
Now, all the above sounds too overwhelming. I’ll be completely honest, at the beginning, when trying to figure it all out, it might give you a head ache, but if you sit down with a notebook and begin to write down your life (work schedules, church activities and duties, meeting dates, etc.) You will begin to see that as you fill a one month calendar, there will be enough hours on any given day to homeschool. Five hours a day should be the average for most families, but it all varies according to children’s ages and the family life. Remember that including your children in all activities that are home-related and even with work, is home education, you are “life- schooling” them through homeschooling.
Create Stress Free Days!
The following are a few tips for “stress free” days:
Respect school time.
With this I mean the time where specific subjects are being taught and exercised, because actual learning takes place at any time when you home educate.
Respect work time.
Especially for work-at home parents. There will be certain hours during the day that you will need to work, whether they are a few during the day, evening, night or a combination, set rules with your children that they will be either on quiet time (for little ones) or a peaceful individual activity like reading or working on projects and assignments individually for older kids.
Just do what you can do.
Filling up with too many extracurricular activities is going to leave you overwhelmed and tired (trust me, I’ve been there). Some of us have to accept that we are not “crafty friend A” or “weekly field trips friend B”, we are “B, C, D, etc, which ever letter we want to give ourselves, but have to accept and feel good about who we are, what we can do, and that what we offer to our kids will be our best effort of love and dedication to them. But please, do spend some time during the week, planning for your children’s homeschool subjects and activities.
They are life savers. They’ll save you time at the grocery store, when running errands, and even help you save gas (like when going back to the store because you forgot an ingredient for tonight’s dinner or a material for a project).
Time with God.
This should be the first thing. Begin your day with God before everyone wakes up. Clear your mind and leave all worries to Him and He will carry you throughout the day.
Remember, not everyone will have the same working hours, schedule, etc. so you will have to accommodate learning around YOUR family’s schedule and work on implementing a flexible routine that your children will be able to follow and that can provide them stability.
There is time for everything, but certainly, prioritizing and taking on according to your season, time, and capability will give you the true meaning of “There is time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Maritza is a busy home educating mom to three little blessings. She loves to read and she shares her passion with her children and by blogging about education, all about learning and book reviews at www.homeschoolepiphany.com. She does her best at trying to manage and balance family life with an extremely patient husband. She is an Abecedarians Tutor for her local Classical Conversations community (www.classicalconversations.com), a part-time Medical Technologist, part-time Educational Consultant with Usborne Books and More at www.UsborneBooksLouisiana.com and loves leading a Christian chapter of the Adventurers’ Club at her church (www.adventurer-club.org).
Want to learn how to school at home, while working at home? Check out my book!
Yes! This is so true. I was telling a mom of littles the other day that before she knew it her oldest would be old enough to babysit. There’s light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks for sharing your story 🙂
Angela F says
There is a season for everything! After 17years being home full-time our kids are at an age where it now works for me to have an evening/weekend job. A couple teens are home to watch the 7 year olds if Dad is running a few minutes late getting off work before I leave for my new job. It has been a fun blessing to earn some “field trip/ vacation” money and the added bonus is my hubby and kids have stepped up keeping home picked up and some dinners waiting for me when I get home. Who knew?!! It has also given me a healthier/more realistic look at our finances! Which my hubby appreciates. We may have had to wait 3 additional years to get to Disneyland with our bigger family but now is the season I can work a little and the kids can work to help make that happen. Hang in there Mama of many little ones….enjoy the season you are in…for the seasons change!
Adrienne Bolton (@TheMommyMess) says
Great series! I can see how this could be a big set back for some, but we know many families who work outside the home and still make it work somehow.