Think You Could Never Do This For Your Kids? Think Again.

Every parent seems to be overcome by a hectic schedule these days, often facing frustration and burnout trying to get everything done.

Working – sometimes more than one job – taking care of the family, household, and yourself can seem a daunting task.

What if you were told that some families balance all of this, with the addition of another full-time responsibility for the sake of their kids?  Think it’s impossible?  With a little focus and analysis, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with limited time.

Perhaps it’s hard to believe, but there are parents who not only both work full-time jobs while balancing the household and family, they also homeschool their kids!

You may be thinking, “I would love to homeschool, but I work.  There is no way I could do both.”  But with the failures of public schooling and many families concerned that their children are falling through the cracks, some parents are finding a way.

Unschool Rules shared the importance of not sacrificing one aspect of the family’s needs for another when taking this all on:

  • It’s important to me that no one says, “Oh, homeschooling is the right choice for our family, but we can’t because I have to work.”
  • It’s important to me that no one says, “If I homeschool AND work, we’re only ever going to eat takeout.”
  • It’s important to me that no one says, “Sure, I can homeschool and work and keep up the house – but I’m stuck being the martyr who has no personal life and no time for friends or fun.”

The most important part of balancing work and homeschooling is making priorities – and making lists!  It can be valuable to “section off” your core responsibilities and then prioritize tasks within those:  Household, Work, Homeschool, and Personal.  (Yes, you must take care of yourself, or you cannot take care of everything else!)

Unschool Rules shared some tips for making it all work:

Make a list of what needs to be juggled for the day.  This should be a list of stuff that has to happen before you can sleep at night. Appointments, work tasks (including concrete subtasks of larger projects), and homeschooling objectives (depending on your learning method).

List-making is an important skill, and one that many multi-tasking families swear by.  Put things in writing, make everyone in the family accountable for things they can do on their own, and prioritize what must get done as opposed to what you would like to get done each day.

Keeping up with your homeschool: Sometimes, the best way to gain flexibility in the long run is to invest a lot of time at the start to make things go smoother day to day.

A great example of that: Even if you’re using a prepackaged, planned curriculum, spend time KNOWING what’s coming, through the week and through the year. If you have that background, it will be much easier for you to feel confident about adjusting on the fly when work gets hectic or the house looks like it’s a step away from being condemned.  Getting organized is almost as important as being flexible. 

Keeping up with your work:  First, I’m never too busy to be interrupted if it’s semi-urgent. Second, I keep my individual work blocks fairly short – almost never more than an hour and a half. Let’s be realistic; if you work from home and homeschool, you’re not REALLY going to get 6 uninterrupted hours to work – OR of educational time – are you? This helps minimize interruptions…It also helps me prioritize my tasks into bite-sized chunks

Don’t forget the reason you’re working and homeschooling – it’s because you feel homeschooling, and more importantly, being with your child, is important. When you DO go back to work after an “interruption” like that, it’s almost always with a positive, rejuvenated attitude.

And keeping up with the household?  This may be a difficult one because it is easy to say that work and school are the priorities, and that taking care of the household can wait.

But most parents who balance this type of schedule are only able to do so by maintaining an orderly house and keeping everything running like a tight ship.  Make quick chores a part of each day and make everyone participate.

Blocking off 15 minutes here and there throughout the day can keep things from becoming overwhelming.  Have everyone do a quick cleanup of surfaces, throw in a load of laundry, or put dinner in the crock-pot.

Both you and the kids will likely find you enjoy a clean-up break to stretch and re-energize before going back to work and school – and it will teach the kids a little self-reliance and independence.

Perhaps the one aspect that is most neglected is taking care of yourself when you are working and homeschooling!  An unbalanced life composed of nothing but work and responsibilities leads to burnout, and is not going to benefit anyone.

Unschool Rules continued:

Keeping up with your personal life:  Balance, in all things. My ability to focus and meditate is better than it has been for years, and I directly attribute that to my ability to keep my cool when I want to shout at the rest of my family. When I’m unhappy, I’m not very productive. It takes forever to do the simplest thing. Any delay, interruption or frustration derails me.  But when I’m happy, I am more able to successfully manage all the things I try to do in a day. I am flexible and can roll with the punches; I am wider awake and have enough energy; I am intentional and can be mindful of each task.

There’s an ironic saying that, “The more you do, the more you get done.”  This may seem obvious, but what it really means is the more you need to take care of, the more you will need to stay organized and on top of things, thus making it easier to complete tasks quickly.

There is a difference between things being easy and things running smoothly.  Being a working, homeschooling parent who maintains a household is going to take work and discipline, but at the end of a long day, you will feel the pride and satisfaction of knowing you are putting your kids first.

Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to work from home, and must work to make it financially.  Whether or not you have the added responsibility of homeschooling, these tips are helpful to any family who is trying to get it all done with too few hours in the day.

Are you a homeschool parent who also works?  Do you have a structured system in place to get it all done?  Leave us your advice in the comments.

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