Do you homeschool and work outside of the home or have a work-from-home job? It can be hard to work and homeschool! But the reality is that many moms have jobs (other than everything else we already do as moms!!), and many working moms want to be able to homeschool too!
Recently we polled our Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook Community. The group is made up of over 35,000 moms who either homeschool currently or are considering homeschooling. While the majority of homeschool moms categorized themselves as stay-at-home moms, a whopping 70% of the moms polled were working homeschool moms. With so many in our community trying to juggle homeschooling while working, it only made sense to search out the best resources we could find to help these moms along their journeys.
We began our research by asking moms from all over the world for their best advice for homeschooling while working. Homeschool moms love to help each other out, and soon we had all the information we needed for one article. So, we compiled all the information into one Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling While Working. If you are considering working and homeschooling, below are the all the tips working homeschool moms gave us. Or maybe you are currently working and homeschooling and are struggling to make it all work. This is still the post for you. So, keep reading and let us know in the comments if you have any other advice to add!
Preparation Is Key
If you want to make most anything in life work, preparation is essential. For working homeschool moms, preparation usually begins the night before and sometimes even days before. Here are some of the ways the Hip Homeschool Moms suggested to prepare:
- Prep the night before. As much as you can, get things ready for the next day BEFORE the next day begins.
- Start Meal Planning. Meal planning is not my favorite activity, but it can be done fairly easily. I use a loop plan that has been working well for our family. This means that I have 4 weekly meal plans that I rotate during the month. This gives us variety and saves me time on planning.
- Make crock-pot meals. Crock-pot meals can be planned ahead of time. Just set them up in the morning (or sometimes the night before), and your meal is waiting for you at the end of the day. I like to put the ingredients in my crock pot
- Let the kids make up their own lunchables. We bought cheap bento boxes, and the kids fill them with sandwiches, wraps, veggies, dip, and a treat. We stack them in the fridge and, presto!, a week’s worth of lunches is done.
- Take advantage of grocery pickup and delivery. Many grocery stores are now offering grocery pickup. This gives moms the opportunity to order everything on the grocery list and have it conveniently ready for them at the front of the store at a specified time. Alternatively, Amazon Prime and other online dealers will ship pantry items straight to your door. This takes all the hassle out of walking through the aisles searching for that one elusive item and standing in the only open checkout lane.
- Always have a Plan B. Be flexible. You cannot possibly do it all, so know that there are days that won’t go according to plan no matter how much you prepare. Have a Plan B for just such a day. Maybe that means there’s a day where the kids watch documentaries, or maybe it’s a day each child reads a favorite book. Find out what Plan B looks like in your home and use it when Plan A is falling apart.
Find a Schedule That Works
By far the number one piece of advice for homeschooling while working was to find a schedule and stick to it. Here are some important points to consider when creating your schedule.
- Don’t compare. Make a schedule that works for YOUR family. Don’t try to compare your schedule to the homeschool family next door. It doesn’t have to be from 8-3 every day. You are homeschoolers – you can school at any time. Set the hours that work for you.
- Don’t be held to a traditional homeschool calendar. There are so many great ways to homeschool. Schooling year-round can give you a buffer so you won’t feel pressured to get everything done in the typical school calendar. School on the weekends. School 4 days a week. You have the freedom to do what is best for your family.
More great articles about scheduling:
You are a working homeschool mom. You cannot be and do everything. Some things will have to give. Setting priorities helps you to identify what you can let go.
- What is your #1 goal to accomplish each day? Put it at the top of your priorities list.
- Decide what you can live with not getting accomplished each day. For me, I had to change my way of thinking about meals. If the family was fed each day, it didn’t have to be a “homemade-from-scratch” dinner. It could be sandwiches or takeout.
- Make sure to set priorities in the order of what you believe is most important. Again, these may not be the same as another homeschooling family, so don’t compare.
More great articles about setting priorities:
Choosing a Curriculum/Homeschooling Style/Learning Independence
I have talked to a lot of working homeschool moms, and they use many different styles and types of curriculum . The biggest issues you need to consider when choosing curriculum for your family are:
- Does it fit my family? Is this style of curriculum going to work with our schedule and our lives?
- Does my child learn well from it? If your child hates it, it will be a struggle every day. Do you really want to add that to your already full to-do list? Maybe your current curriculum doesn’t fit your child’s learning style.
- Does it fit my child’s learning style? If you’re not certain of your child’s learning style or if your current curriculum fits your child’s learning style, this article will help you!
- Is it something I want to teach? One of the biggest mistakes homeschool moms make in choosing a curriculum is choosing something they don’t want to teach. You shouldn’t dread teaching your child.
- Can my kids work independently? Teaching your children to work independently not only frees up your daily time, but it also teaches your children responsibility.
More great articles about choosing curriculum:
Taking Time for Self-Care
Now that you’ve prepared, made a schedule, set your priorities, and picked your curriculum, you need to take some time for self-care. I know this can rub the wrong way, and I’ll go ahead and say it. I feel horribly guilty about doing anything for myself when there are clothes to be washed, people to be fed, children to be taught, and well, you get my point. I ALWAYS have a to-do list. But, Fellow Mom, I am here to tell you that if you don’t take time for self-care, then you WILL suffer burn-out or worse.
Here are some fantastic articles to help you with self-care:
Getting Help When You Need It
Don’t think that you must teach all subjects to all kids, keep a clean house, cook dinner, and work all by yourself. There are other people you can ask for help, like:
- Other homeschool moms. Maybe you can work out a rotating schedule with other homeschool moms to teach all the kids on certain days or times.
- Coordinate with your spouse and let him teach a few subjects. My husband is a science geek. So when my daughter started Apologia Biology, I quickly handed over the reins. Not only is he enjoying teaching her, but they are getting some one-on-one time.
- Ask grandparents to help supervise or to teach some subjects. My dad is a huge history buff (and former teacher). Occasionally when I’ve had to go into the office, the kids have gone to Grandpa’s to work on their history.
- Hire out help. If you can afford it, hire a housekeeper. One of the deals I made with my husband when I went back to work, was that part of my salary went to hiring a housekeeper. I can’t stand to clean the house!
- Let the kids help by taking on more responsibilities like laundry and cooking.
Homeschooling While Working Through Challenges
However, what happens when the unexpected happens and all your schedules and plans start to fall apart? There are many issues and struggles of working homeschool moms. Here are some great resources to help.
Homeschooling While Working During the Holidays
The holidays are trying for anyone, but they can be particularly trying on working homeschool moms. Again, set your priorities and don’t compare yourself to others.
Homeschooling While Working: General Tips and Advice
There are a lot of great resources out there to help you in your homeschooling journey while working. Check out these great articles.
Homeschooling While Working Podcasts and Webcasts
If you enjoy listening to podcasts and webcasts while cooking dinner or doing other tasks around the house, try these!
What tips and advice do you have for working homeschool moms?