I often get asked how I am able to balance homeschooling and still working a full-time job from home. In this post on this blog, you won’t find anything but the truth from me. These are my experiences and I wanted to share them with those looking for those honest stories and experiences.
Alright, let’s jump in.
Good and Bad Days
Before you get started I need you to know that balancing homeschooling and working from home will have its good days and bad days. This is normal. You aren’t failing, the kids aren’t missing out on anything. You will need to find work to homeschool balance. Once you figure that part out you will be on better days. In the meantime take it one day at a time.
Wakeup each morning ready to start a new day.
Homeschooling and Working
Before you take the jump to homeschool and work let me explain my day. I work from a company based out of Florida so they are an hour ahead of me. I wake up about 6 am and start my day, I have to clock in for work at 7 am. The kids will usually sleep until about 9 am which is about when I get my first break. I take that time to make sure they brush their teeth, have breakfast and start some chores.
My lunch is about 11 am so that is when we get started with homeschooling. I go over the things we should complete that day. Make and eat lunch and then leave them to it. Sometimes they need reminders and I’ll go back to their homeschool room and remind them. Other times they need to step away from one task and go outside before they are ready to work again.
On my last break about 2:30 pm, I will check on them again and see what we have left to do. Most of the time I just send them off to play again. Once I get off at 4 pm we will finish whatever is left. We do plenty of playing between the day which is why our school day seems so long. Sometimes we are done early, other times it seems like we will never finish.
Please no need to worry snacks, drinks and meals are eaten for all parties involved. Sometimes a little music out of nowhere to get us moving. We also have a dog and two guinea pigs that we add to our schedule. We feed them, play with them and then move on to something else. I try to yell “go outside” several times up the stairs so they aren’t sitting in one place all day. The occasional bath is also done in the middle of the day because who likes the smell of sweat when they are pregnant, not me!
Tips when you are getting started
If your child(ren) have been in school before take time for all family members including adults to deschool. Deschooling is the processing of getting out of the public school system thinking. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be anything like the public school system and until you realize that you may not have those good days. Once you have completed your deschooling process you will be ready to start homeschooling.
Some will go ahead and create a schedule others want to go with the flow of the day and then there is my way. I go with the flow of the day but have a schedule of what I would like to complete in the day. Homeschooling doesn’t have to happen first thing in the morning or at a specific time. I am using Trello for my 2019/2020 homeschool schedule. I will be creating a video and post on how to make Trello work for your family. So don’t forget to join the mailing list for when that comes out.
This is the fun part for me you have so many options. You can buy one or you can create your own. You may decide to not try or buy and just do unschooling. Unschooling is when learning is based on the interest of your child. This is so much fun and does require you to spend a lot of time with your children. Imagine all the bonding and really knowing what your child’s interest are.
I have decided to use Easy Peasy- All in one homeschooling. It was free and everything is online. You can either print the sheets you need or buy the workbooks to work offline. What works for one family or one child may not work for another. My girls love the workbooks and can work independently but my son, on the other hand, needs more attention to complete his work.
Register your homeschoolers
Before getting started to homeschool make sure you are following the homeschool laws for your state. If you need to register with your school district like we do make sure you get that done and know what you will need to provide them and when. Do they require you to keep a portfolio or take any test? What about an umbrella school. Do you have to choose one or can you be independent? Those are just some of the questions you will want to ask. Make a list and call when you have time to get all the questions asked.
Being organized is one of the most important things for me. I need to know where I have everything. Copies of the documents I had to provide the school district. The confirmation they signed when we registered to homeschool, the attendance record we have to keep, etc. You can either use a service like Dropbox to store it all electronically or you can have a folder system. Do what works for you and what will help you start organizing. This last school year they all just sat in my desk but next year I’ll have everything saved in on my Trello board.
The amazing part of homeschooling is not having to buy endless school supplies for three kids, plus new school clothes and shoes. I make a list of supplies I’d like to have on hand, which Easy Peasy tells me ahead of time what I will need. Then I buy extra because well with three kids homeschooling we tend to use a lot of supplies on homeschool and extra crafts.
Don’t forget to sho during those amazing back to school sales. Stock up on the items you think you will use the most. This year the kids loved hot gluing everything, so I know how I need to stock up for whatever crafts they need hot glue for, so take note of those odd supplies you might want to add to the list.
I have been wanting to start a local co-op of sorts where homeschooling parents can get together and talk while we have the kids work on a craft or learn a life skill not taught in public school. This is on my list of things to do but I like things to be perfect and working hasn’t allowed me the time for this. If this is something you are interested in I would say look to see if there is one already formed in your area and if not get one started. I am sure you can find at least one parent who is thinking of starting one and just needs the support to get it started.
So can you work and homeschool?
The answer is yes. Your day may be just like mine or be completely different. It will depend on the age of your children, the level of attention they need. Sometimes it just comes down to allowing unschooling during the day and worksheets at night.
When we first started to homeschool I attended a local homeschool Halloween party and a young girl stopped to talk to me. I asked her about her homeschool day and she said you know it changes from one person to another right? Which I, of course, agreed with her. She then went on to tell me about how she likes to homeschool. It was such a nice conversation and she was so educated on the topic of her own learning and homeschooling in general.
What will your homeschool schedule look like?
**A special note**
I think I say this in every post I write but support is everything. Having a community around you, having a partner or family you can talk to. This homeschool thing is a journey like anything else. You may need to search a bit before you find what works for you and your family. THAT IS NORMAL! I don’t think I’ve ever met one person who said homeschool was perfect from day one. This is also found this Facebook community of working and homeschooling families a huge help. Also, I am continuing to post resources for you on the blog you can also sign up for my mailing list here and I send update and tips. This is what I am working on this summer.