How do your balance homeschooling and working from home?
Can I homeschool my child and while full time?
Homeschooling and working from home at the same time can sound like an impossible task, even to those of us who have done it in the past or are doing it at this very moment.
When asked by other moms how on earth I manage to do it all, the response that first comes to my mind is “I have no idea!” (with a curse word thrown in there for good measure as well). However, I then compose myself and provide an actual answer.
I find the key is in two things: organization and patience.
But ultimately, there is one important fact we all need to remember: no one is actually “doing it all”.
Neither is doing it all the point.
Personally, I believe that all we can actually do is our best, and try to have as much fun in the process as possible. There will of course be a lot of mom guilt involved – but if we learn to drown it out, we’ll soon find it’s not as difficult as we imagined – well, not every day anyway.
What is Mom Guilt?
Mom (or dad) guilt is feeling you are not doing everything you can as a parent. It’s the feeling you are not doing enough, that you are not doing everything right, that you are not meeting your kid’s needs properly, that you are not raising an incredible human.
Working mom guilt is a variation of that same feeling, but it plagues mothers (or fathers) who work “a lot”, whatever that lot may mean: full time, part-time, or even just a couple of hours a day. Every working parent can suffer from it, but mothers are found to experience it more.
On the other hand, stay at home mom guilt affects parents who stay at home, but still feel they could be doing more, doing better, or just doing things differently.
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Is Mom Guilt Normal?
However, while it is perfectly normal to feel guilty about a lot of things: wanting more time for yourself, being annoyed when your child throws a tantrum in the cereal aisle, allowing them to watch some extra TV, not having time to tuck them in so your husband has to do it – and everything and anything else in between – the truth is, you shouldn’t be feeling guilty.
We are human, we are fallible, there is no such thing as perfect, every parent makes mistakes, and your kids will be just fine even if they do watch some extra cartoons, or if you don’t make them the breakfast they wanted.
When it comes to homeschooling and working from home, the guilt most often arises from your never-ending to-do list, and the knowledge that while you are in fact in the house, you still need time to work, and you can’t be with your kids all the time.
Personally, I tend to get sucked into the guilt trap of “now that I finally have some time to write this email, should I perhaps check in on the girls?” alternating with “can we please get this math exercise done so that I can go upstairs and do some emails”.
How to Homeschool Your Kid While Working from Home
Can you balance working full time from home, while homeschooling? What about while running a business?
Let’s see what are the best ways to deal with this conundrum;
#1. Can I homeschool my child and work full time?
I am doing it – and if I can do it, you can do it too.
True, I am homeschooling and working from home, so that makes things just a little bit easier. I do know moms who work full time outside the home and homeschool their kids with someone else’s help.
It will be an effort, that is certainly true, and you will need to become a master at organizing, time management, and learn how to deal with all the meltdowns and breakdowns that are simply inevitable – but there is no reason why you shouldn’t, with a bit of clever logistic, be able to homeschool your kids, and work full time.
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#2. How many hours a day should you homeschool?
This will mostly depend on the actual laws and regulations in your state, and the age of your homeschooled child.
While there are all sorts of different suggestions ready to be found online, a more general breakdown would look like this:
- 1st-3rd grade – 2 hours per day
- 4th-6th grade – 3 hours per day
- 7th-9th grade – 4 hours per day
- 10th-12th grade – 6+ hours per day
I’ve also found that some kids just love to spend more time working on tasks than others, some like to get it done as soon as possible, and some have their own ambitions and want to do extra work.
In our house, we do around 3 hours a day with each of the girls. That’s at least 1.5 hours 1-1 time per child per school day (which is incidentally Tuesday-Saturday, and not Monday-Friday – I get to do a lot more work that way on Monday) + another roughly 1.5 hours of individual work for each of them.
#3. How can I prepare myself for homeschooling and working from home?
If you are just starting to homeschool or work from home, and are used to the kids being away at school, or yourself going to the office, it will take some time to get a new routine down.
The first thing you should do is arm yourself with all the information you need about the homeschooling requirements in your state. What are the expectations, what sorts of examinations or tests are there, what kinds of milestones are your kids expected to hit and when, what are the recommended textbooks and other learning aids you should get – things like that.
Bear in mind that regulations will differ between states and school districts, so always go directly to the source when looking for answers.
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Create a Schedule and Routine
Next, in order to make things go that bit easier, set yourself a rough schedule, and establish a rough routine you want to aim for.
This will mean things like when you want to wake up when you want the kids to wake up, when will you be working on schoolwork with which child (and on what subjects), when will they have time for individual work, when can you get your own work in, at what time you have lunch, and so on.
Remember that things won’t always go according to plan, but having at least a rough idea in mind will help you know what needs to be done next. Kids also thrive on routines, so setting one will help them get through the day as well. You will then want to make sure you have everything you need, in terms of books, notebooks, pens, colorful papers, and so forth.
Always add something extra into your school kit (like a particularly funny eraser, or a book that is not on the list but your kids want to read), as all of this “superfluous” stuff will help make school a bit more fun.
Involve Your Children in Decisions
Finally, you want to talk to your kids and your significant other about what you are about to get into. Discuss the best way to tackle different subjects – for instance, are you better at reading comprehension, but he’s much better at math? Can he take that subject on himself? When can he be with the kids (or if they are old enough, when can the kids be alone), so that you have time to work?
Airing all of your concerns and ideas on time can make things go much more smoothly when the time actually comes to tackle both homeschooling and working from home all at the same time. Try to accommodate each other as best you can, as you will have to keep doing this for a while, so the less stress there is involved from the bat, the better.
#4. How do I manage to work from home with kids?
Some of these tips will also apply to making homeschooling and working from home work out for you as well.
Communication and organization are your best allies to getting all of your work done – and you can start by making sure your children understand when you can and can’t be interrupted. I’ve seen parents suggesting you put a specific hat on when you really don’t want to be bothered, for example, if you are on a call with a client. You can also hang a sign if that’s a bit easier.
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Also, make sure you communicate with your colleagues and clients – tell them what time you will be available, and what times are off-limits, and try to stick to them. However, you can also make a point of explaining that you may not always be able to come to the phone unless it’s an emergency if you have one at home at the same time.
I’d also suggest trying to find a time when you can work uninterrupted – whether this is early in the morning when everyone else is still asleep, later in the evening when the kids are in bed, or during the day when your spouse can jump in and take care of the kids. Being able to focus on work and nothing else will be a great productivity booster.
Homeschooling Tips and Tricks
Now that we have covered the basics, let me give you some additional homeschooling and working from home tips:
- Keep up with the expectations set by your district, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t – homeschooling is very different from going to school, and you don’t have to set yourself strict hours and lessons. If you don’t manage to cover a subject today, you can do it tomorrow.
- Give yourself time to adjust – we all need some time to get used to new things, so don’t expect everything to be perfect from the start. Once you get into your routine, everything will be fine.
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- Stay positive – no matter how not according to plan a day goes, try to look at the bright side. You are able to spend all this time with your kids and help them learn, and you also get the privilege to work from home – try to stay optimistic and avoid negative thoughts.
- Ask for extra materials – there are workbooks and worksheets available that teachers have access to and you may not. It’s nice to ask for these extras, just so you have some additional material available, and that you don’t always work on the same kind of task.
- Teach the kids to learn on their own – your aim should be to teach your kids how to find the answers they are looking for on their own, and how to solve problems without your input. Establish a mindset where they will always try to find the answer on their own, before coming to you for help. This will both give you more time to work and shape their minds.
Working from Home Tips and Tricks
Finally, let me offer some working from home tips too, for all of you who are homeschooling and working from home:
- Set up your own space – if you don’t have to clear up and move around a lot, you will be much more productive.
- Start your day with a list – write down everything you need to get done in a day and prioritize according to urgency. This will help you keep up with yourself, and declutter your mind.
- Take active breaks – if you feel you need to stop working, go be with the kids, or do some errands around the house.
- Prioritize your sleep – in order to be able to get everything done, you will need your energy, so instead of sleeping less to get more done, try to do the opposite.
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- Set up snacks and drinks – if your kids tend to interrupt because they want to eat or drink, try setting up a snack and drink station where they can help themselves.
- Work on the weekend – if you are able to be in charge of your own schedule, try to switch out your days off, and work on the weekends, if this is a time when your spouse can be with the kids.
- Accept the chaos – if things get untidy, messy, or dirty, accept it rather than try to clean it up at the instant the mess has happened. This does not apply to spilled juice and the like, but untidy toys and dirty dishes can wait.
Yes, You Can Do This!
I do hope these tips will help you to manage both homeschooling and working from home well – don’t worry, it doesn’t take a superhuman to juggle all of it.
Printable Daily & Weekly Planners
Need to create a schedule for your homeschooling and working hours? Get your FREE Printable Daily and Weekly Planners. They’re perfect for time-blocking and helping you plan ahead.
The human version that you are is perfectly capable of handling it, with a little bit of preparation, a lot of optimism, and a bit of help.
Questioning whether you can homeschool your child and work full time from home? Dealing with serious mom guilt? This is exactly how to balance both, at the same time. #WorkingMom #WorkAtHome #HomeSchooling
Do you think homeschooling and working from home are doable?
More About Guest Contributor
Julia Mary Robson is a mom of two girls, aged 7 and 9, and two labradors (aged 3 and 3). She is also an entrepreneur running her own one-woman business, a passionate runner, and a very keen reader of anything and everything fantasy and Sci-Fi.
Last Updated on July 11, 2021