Homeschooling and working from home can be very rewarding because you can create a lifestyle that works for you. However, just like anything that’s really worth doing, it’s not easy. It takes determination, persistence, and a lot of patience. As a work-from-home mom and homeschool mom since 2012, I often get asked for advice. The most important thing for parents to know is any advice is just that. The beauty of this lifestyle is in discovering and implementing what works best for your unique family.
FIVE THINGS TO DO
1. Have a family discussion to assign new roles.
Include everyone in your home. Assign roles. Ask for help. It works best when everyone is on the same page. You can do homeschooling without partners but you cannot do it against partners. Find a way to compromise. Who will wake up with the kids? Who will feed them? Who will teach which subjects? Who will do the laundry?
Also, kids do better if they have input. For young ones or kids who don’t offer up their own ideas, offer them two choices. Do you want to be responsible for setting up work station or do you want to set the table for dinner?
2. Set up a learning space.
If you have the room in your home to dedicate a space just for this, that’s great! Make sure you have a desk and a chair for each child. If not, your dining room table works fine. You can even use your couch and tv trays. Anything that says: it’s time to learn.
3. Determine your schedule.
You have three major organizations running under one roof – your work, your homeschool, your household. Even for those of us who love to fly by the seat of our pants, we must create a schedule.
Which type of schedule completely up to you. It just has to work. If you like color-coded calendars, go for it. If you make your calendar in your notes app on your phone, welcome to the club. For your own sanity, you will need a schedule. Have your kids make one, too. This really gives them a sense of ownership at any age.
The schedule must include one important time: diffuse time. That time you need to have all to yourself. This is a non-negotiable.
4. Set boundaries.
If you are working from home, this is crucial. Kids must understand when mommy is working. When my boys were younger, I’d let them play with their favorite toy or watch their favorite show ONLY when mommy was working. This helped them understand that this time was very important and they should not interrupt mommy.
Today, I just let them know my work hours. If they walk in my room when I’m working during work hours, I ignore them. That may sound cruel but that’s my boundary. Of course there are exceptions for emergencies. Just remember if you make everything an emergency, there is no boundary.
5. Plan Your Meals.
Even if you are the cook, the server, and the teacher, you must plan meals. For those of you who are already meal prepping, you have a head start! At the very least, know what you are going to make/serve for all three meals and snacks. Write it and post it on the fridge where everyone one can see it. If your kids are responsible enough to cook, write who is cooking next to each meal.
BONUS! Have patience and some fun.
Every person handles change differently. Allow for the adjustment period. This can be a time to get creative together. Science experiments are a lot of fun. Also, meditation helps with working on your patience. Don’t forget the diffuse time – for everyone.
FIVE THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Your kids do not learn for 8 hours a day at school. They shouldn’t at home either. So, a few hours a day is all they need. Plus, there are so many other learning moments that don’t happen at their desk.
- Kids will do their best if they know you will be checking their work. Same as most adults, if we are being entirely honest. So, inspect what you expect.
- Your kids will always see you as a parent first. So, they see boundaries and rules different with you as compared to their regular teachers. Adjust accordingly.
- There is no such thing as balance when you are working from home and homeschooling. If these two are working well, your self-care or house cleaning may lag. That’s okay. Give yourself A LOT of grace.
- Tomorrow is a new day and another shot. Some days you will get two things done in your list of 20. That’s okay. Try again tomorrow.
FIVE ONLINE RESOURCES
Since we homeschool year-round and have been for the last eight years, we invest in a full curriculum. It took many years and trials to get here but we finally are happy with what we use and are constantly adding to it. However, for anyone who is enriching their student’s education until their regular school starts up again, I’m listing below five of my go-to resources.
PBS Learning Media
Time for Kids
Homeschooling and Working From Home Lessons
This journey of ours has been full of joys and some sorrows. More joys than sorrows. In complete honesty, there were many days that everyone ended up in tears. Those were the days I was trying to do ‘school at home.’ When I learned that the best learning happens when we do it our own way – the way that works for my family, the best days came along. The days when I heard my boys read on their own for the first time, I saw their facial expressions when the lessons “click” for them, and I caught the sound of laughter between the two of them when they thought I was not listening.
Queridos, if I can do this for eight years, you can do this, too. We are capable of doing so much more than we think we can. We just have to let go of how we think it’s supposed to look like and just do it our own way.