Photo Of Woman Carrying Her Baby While Working On Her Laptop

How to Balance Homeschooling and Work Life: Tips from a Working and Homeschooling Mom

Discover strategies to balance homeschooling with your work commitments without losing your mind. If you're a homeschooling mom juggling both worlds, this blog post is a must-read!

Photo Of Woman Carrying Her Baby While Working On Her Laptop

Introduction: The Juggling Act

It's no secret that homeschooling moms wear multiple hats (in fact, that may be the understatement of t he century!). From laundry to lessons to co-op transport to your actual get-paid-for-it job–a mom's work literally never ends! And maybe you have an infant or toddler thrown in the mix too, and you're literally on duty all night long on top of the other things (been there!) While you're dedicated to providing your child with a quality education at home, you may also have work commitments that demand your attention. I'm a pediatric physical therapist by day, so I know that balancing homeschooling and work life can be challenging, but it's not impossible. In this blog post, we'll explore some strategies to help you maintain harmony and keep both your roles in sync.

1. Create a Realistic Schedule

The key to finding balance is crafting a schedule that works for you and your family. Start by identifying your work hours, and then allocate specific times for homeschooling. I personally work just 1.5 days a week, while my husband works full time for our current season. For my crew, that means we just do “school” on the 3.5 days that I'm home. If your work schedule is variable, then do your best to roll with the punches. If you're doing school on different days each week, then perhaps try to keep at least the same general routine in order to give your kids a bit of predictability. Or maybe you have the flexibility to just work in the afternoons outside of the home, and your schooling can be set on a routine five days a week of intensive morning lessons. Do you have older kids? Make their independent study time or project/research time in those hours while you're working, where they don't necessarily need the hands-on instruction from you.

Boy in Yellow Crew Neck T-shirt Sitting on Chair
Plan lessons around your work day and adjust based on time and stamina.

Consider what's best for your own capacity and the ages of your kids. Be realistic about your energy levels and your children's attention span. Short, focused lessons often yield better results than long, drawn-out ones. Include breaks and leisure time for both you and your child to recharge. Maybe when you honestly evaluate this, it would make sense for you to do a lighter load of schooling but for six days a week? Just experiment until you find that sweet spot for everyone.

2. Prioritize Tasks and Set Goals

Woman in Red Long Sleeve Writing On Chalk Board
Schedule and display goals for each day/week and prioritize the big items first.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, set clear priorities for both your homeschooling and work tasks. Identify the most important activities and make a to-do list. I know that I love to check off some little tasks first just to feel like I've accomplished something for the day (laundry, email). BUT, I've found that when I set a number one priority task on my to-do list that I put before all of the little things, then we actually can get the most done in a day. It's kind of like a snowball effect; when the mental challenge of the most difficult thing is gone, I'm no longer intimidated by the most difficult thing looming over me all day. And of course, remember that not everything has to be done in a day. Maybe every single one of those phone calls you need to make don't actually need to be made right out of the gates on Monday morning. Setting achievable daily goals helps reduce stress and ensures you're making steady progress in both areas.

3. Online Resources and Educational Platforms

Incorporating online resources and educational platforms into your homeschooling routine can be a lifesaver. Websites and apps like Khan Academy, Coursera (your older kids can earn actual degrees online!), and Scholastic offer interactive learning materials that can make homeschooling more engaging and efficient. Reading Eggs is another one that our oldest really does well with, despite her learning disabilities. This one is great too in that you can add many accounts under the one subscription for no extra cost. These resources often allow your child to work independently, giving you more flexibility to tackle work responsibilities. I've found that this mode of delivery for lessons and practice is an ideal time for me to catch up on the paperwork and email side of my work responsibilities.

4. Cooperative Learning

Children Playing Clay Dough In School
Make use of cooperative learning opportunities in your area.

Consider joining a homeschooling cooperative or group in your community. These groups often have parents who share similar challenges, and they can provide emotional support and help in the form of co-teaching, playdates, or shared responsibilities. Cooperative learning can also provide social interaction for your child, which is essential for their development. If you have a babysitter for childcare while you're working, consider if it's a possibility for them to be the one who takes your kids to co-op. This way you can get a long stretch of work and your kids can get in a long stretch of schooling…all at the same time!

5. Utilize Your Network

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to friends and family members who may be able to assist you with childcare, tutoring, or household chores. This support can free up more of your time and energy to focus on your work without sacrificing the quality of your child's education. Evaluate your home to see what tasks you can delegate. Can your children complete chores to lighten the load that you usually bear? Do you have the budget to hire help with the house or errands? Are there errands you can run that can be shifted to digital or automatic? I quit grocery shopping in-store and started ordering wholesome foods from Misfits Market. Though their foods do cost a bit more than in-store, I've found that my grocery bill is slashed significantly due to me not just grabbing random boxed foods off of shelves as I'm walking through the store. And the best part is, it's delivered straight to your door! We live in a very rural area so not many fresh food delivery services will come to our house (this is actually the only one I've found to-date).

6. Communicate with Your Employer

Woman Wears Yellow Hard Hat Holding Vehicle Part
Talk with your employer about working with you to create a flexible schedule.

If you work for a company, discuss your homeschooling commitments with your employer. Many organizations are now more understanding of the challenges homeschooling parents face, and they may offer flexible work hours, part-time options, or remote work arrangements. Open and honest communication can lead to solutions that benefit both parties. I set my own schedule as far as how many patients I keep on my caseload and what days I see those patients, though I do try to be accommodating. I've had to set clearer boundaries due to being pulled in tugged in different areas on different days, making for a very disorganized and travel-heavy week. I finally have learned to say, “These are the two days a week I'm available, which appointment slot would you like?” This has worked out so much better for my family because now my work days are consolidated to just half of Tuesday and all of Wednesday instead of a couple of random appointments on each day of the week.

7. Self-Care Is Crucial

Taking care of yourself is essential to successfully balance homeschooling and work. Prioritize self-care, and remember that you need time to relax and recharge. Easier said than done, I know! I've found that the best modes of self care aren't bubble baths or massages, but rather giving your body the essentials that it needs to maintain your energy and focus: regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. I've also learned that escapist forms of self care really don't do much for me as far as refilling my tank. Rather, training myself to be grateful and to have perspective and calm in the midst of chaos has been a game changer for my ability to cope with stress and anxiety throughout my day. Headspace has been a great resource to help me train my brain to be in the here and now and to overall help me just not be so brain-fried as I'm trying to balance it all.

Mother and Son Doing Yoga Together
Instill good self-regulation skills in your little ones by letting them participate in mindfulness activities.

Something I've found extremely beneficial for me is to try and limit my multi-tasking. Yes, this seems very anti-woman! We are never not doing multiple things at the same time! But when it comes to times of direct instruction during the homeschool day, I've found that I have the most patience and presence for my kids whenever I'm not juggling my own work stuff. Dividing my attention in this way spreads my bandwidth way too thin, and I end up faltering in every area. Again, some practice in mindfulness (thank you, Headspace)has helped me with this: to be fully present in each moment and to find joy in all of the chaotic pieces of the journey, not simply to try and accomplish all of the things before the day is done.

Conclusion: Finding the Balance

Balancing homeschooling and work life can be demanding, but with the right strategies and support, it's entirely possible. Create a realistic schedule, set priorities, use online resources, and reach out to your network for assistance. Remember that your well-being is vital, and self-care is a non-negotiable part of the equation. With a little planning and a lot of determination, you can successfully navigate both worlds and provide your child with a quality education while thriving in your career.

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