Whether it’s by choice or by necessity, you may find yourself needing to homeschool while working from home. While it can be challenging, it can definitely be done successfully! If you find that you need some help with ideas for managing time and duties, here are some helpful things to try.
1) Put God and Family First
Oftentimes, this may feel counter-intuitive. However, your relationship with God is important to place above all else. This is the foundation to anything else we Christians do with our day. Prayer and reading Scripture—even for about ten minutes in the morning—is important.
Next, your family needs your time and attention. From morning greetings and hugs to sitting down at the table to visit over breakfast, these moments amount to a positive start to your day and help you strengthen relationships as you homeschool while working. Perhaps reconnecting during an afternoon stroll in your area or at a park will make all the difference in a day.
2) Manage Time With Little Ones
Time with your little ones is precious. Setting up a routine with them is going to be key to helping you manage your day. Here are some ideas that may help:
- Read to them, play with them, and enjoy educational games together.
- Bring out special activities (quiet toys, quiet crafts, play dough, etc.) in the afternoon for them to do while you work or homeschool the older children.
- Nap times or after bed time may also be a reasonable time to accomplish some work projects or tasks on your list.
- Employ your older kids to help as well. It helps them develop skills in managing younger children and builds those sibling relationships.
- You may also consider hiring a “mother’s helper,” especially if you are homeschooling an only child. Check with your local homeschool community for teens who are able to come alongside you and help with tasks like simple chores and playing with the younger kids.
3) Be Flexible in Your Homeschooling Approach
Choosing a flexible homeschool method and teaching style will help you a great deal. For instance, maybe a unit study approach will help you to make the best use of your homeschool hours. Or, depending on the age of your children, a homeschool curriculum that uses traditional textbooks or literature-based materials may fit your family best. Whichever one helps your time to flow best will help you have time for your work load.
If you have multiple aged children and aren’t sure how to best balance that, you may appreciate these ten tips for homeschooling multiple ages.
Another option to consider is doing year round homeschooling. This gives you more flexibility with your daily time so you can homeschool while working. You can choose breaks and vacations that fit your family’s needs better and and allow for unexpected interruptions without derailing your homeschool.
4) Anticipate Energy and Concentration Levels
Homeschooling and work both take energy, but different kinds of energy. Your brain is functioning in different ways. It can be helpful to plan your days with your energy and concentration levels, as well as those of your children, in mind.
For example, maybe reading with your children and doing lessons will take less energy while you’re just starting your day. You may have plenty of energy and focus to pour into work in the afternoon. Plus, you’ll have the sense of accomplishment you may need by first fulfilling your duty to your children.
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5) Decide on a Strategy for Completing Work Tasks
Of course, this is going to look different for each household. Your family has its own rhythm and your work has its own demands. While you can be flexible as needed, try your best to stick to either morning, afternoon or evening for your work so you don’t have to switch back and forth between work and homeschooling.
Within your block of time for work, consider choosing certain days that you can focus on a certain projects. This may allow you to do “batch work” and may save you lots of time. This can be especially helpful if your work requires intense focus, detail, and/or creativity.
Also within your block of time for work, try scheduling when you’ll do certain types of tasks. For instance, decide when you’ll read and reply to emails, texts, phone calls, etc. and other things you’ll need to do on the management end of things. Or choose to do “low concentration” tasks/projects in the morning and “high concentration” tasks when homeschooling is finished for the day.
6) Manage Your Home Together
Management of your home takes on a strategy all its own, especially when you homeschool while working from home. Here are some tips to try:
- Teach your children to help with the daily chores and set up a few chore sessions for the day. Maybe morning chores will be for cleaning. Perhaps afternoon chores will be for tidying up. While evening chores can be a quick sweep of loose items that got missed earlier in the day.
- When it comes to meal times, involve your children as much as possible. Needless to say, life skills in the kitchen are important. Younger children can help you or older responsible siblings in the kitchen. As they grow in skill and maturity, consider assigning some meal prep and service responsibilities to help lighten your load.
- Decide on what’s “good enough for now.” Living, working, and learning in the home full time means that things aren’t going to be pristine. Focus on building routines that help you get your home clean and organized enough that you can successfully work and homeschool, and leave perfection at the door.
7) Keep Children Busy During Free Time
When the lessons are over, your children will have free time. There’s great opportunity in these times for play and exploration! Having some guidance and activity ideas in place can help this time be enjoyable for all, keep them out of trouble, and perhaps make pockets of time for you to get other work done.
Activity ideas will depend on your family vision, rules, and personality. Active time outside is always a good choice—whether for play, exercise, or yard work. Physical activity inside such as a mini trampoline or building an obstacle course can also be a great way to get the wiggles out.
Of note, while exploration and creativity is desired, too much free time isn’t a good thing. Proverbs 29:15b cautions parents: “. . . but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (KJV). Create a list of activity ideas for your kids to choose from during their free time. You can even post them on a wall for the kids to choose from when they need inspiration. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Read a book
- Listen to audiobooks
- Build a couch cushion fort
- Play board/card games
- Do a STEM challenge
- Draw a comic book
- Create a treasure hunt
- Build with Legos
- Bake something
- Make a card or gift for someone
- Play outside
- Write a coded message to a friend
- Call a friend or relative
- Paint or draw something
- Make paper airplanes or kites
- Put on a skit
- Use an educational app
- Learn something new from an educational YouTube channel
- Work out to a kids’ exercise video
- Do a puzzle
- Make a box robot
- Listen to a podcast
- Learn/practice a handicraft
8) Keep Up Your Health
Last but not least, remember to keep up your health. Understandably, you have a lot on your plate when you homeschool while working. It can be challenging to get proper rest and exercise. To be sure, a healthy diet and supplements will benefit you. However, you’ll need solid rest to help maintain your health and mood and keep up productivity.
You’re doing your best for your family and that’s what matters. Keep up the good work!