Working parents may feel frustrated or believe that they might not have enough time to successfully homeschool their children. Today, with the help of other homeschooling experts, I’m going to share some tips on how you can be a working parent and still successfully homeschool your children.
Working parents can successfully homeschool their children by understanding that work-life balance doesn’t actually exist. They can create plans and routines to make their schedule work together and for the good of everyone in their family.
Working parents can also learn to set aside time to re-set and re-plan to make sure that they are finding the time and making the time to accomplish their priorities.
We are a working family that also homeschools. The majority of our work can be done from home on the hours of our choosing so that gives us a little flexibility and means that we can typically “do school” during regular school hours. We still work full time (both my husband and I) and still manage to fit everything into our plans and schedule.
On the contrary to what you think, we’ve found that homeschooling actually gives more flexibility to our working schedule than it would if we were sending our children to traditional school. Perhaps if we did this, we’d get more worked on during traditional working hours, but we’ve found many ways to make this work for us and we are happy with the balance that we’ve struck.
Let’s dive right into the more specific tips that I’m happy to share as a working mother! Don’t miss the expert tips towards the bottom of the article from other working parents as well.
Figure Out a Strong Routine
In our home, homeschooling only works because we have some very strong routines in place. While I will dive into the specifics of these routines in another article, I will touch on a few of the important parts here.
Sit down with your spouse or whoever you are sharing the household responsibilities with (if anyone) and come up with a basic outline of what you want your day to look like. If you do not make a plan or have any kind of schedule, you will not have time to get things done.
Let me repeat that….if you do not make a plan you will not get things done.
I know how easy it is to get caught up in a work project OR caught up in a school project and by the time you know it, the day is over and it’s time for supper.
Figure out when you will have time for work tasks and when you have time for schooling. As part of this, figure out what parts of schooling your child can do on their own and what parts they need your help for. Perhaps you don’t need to start working until 9. Plan on a strong morning routine where you get your “together” homeschooling tasks done before you need to start working.
Choose a Homeschooling Method That Is Hands Off
There are many different types of homeschooling methods out there and while I don’t even pretend to subscribe fully to one of them, you might find that one particular method might work well for your family.
Online schooling and unschooling are mostly hands-off homeschooling methods. It may be worth it to see if either of these would work for your family.
While each child will still need some amount of guidance and supervision, if you really want to be able to homeschool but need to comply with a work schedule, one of these methods might be right for you right now.
Work in the Off Times
If you have the capability to work during whatever hours you choose, work in the early mornings or late evenings and not during the typical school time.
For our family, this has been the best fit. We still have a few dedicated work hours during the day, but for the most part, the really hard work comes in the early morning before the kids get up, and late at night after they’ve gone to bed or after they are reading on their own.
For myself personally, I’m the brightest right when I get up in the morning (usually around 5) which means I have at least 2 hours before the kids will be up for the day. I block out all other distractions during this time and focus on deep work so that I can get the most done during this time. It’s been a game changer!
Have a Quiet Place to Work
If you are trying to work at your dining room table while your kids are doing their crafts, you are only going to end up more frustrated than you were before.
Have a set-aside place to do your work. If you are able to have a home office, that will be ideal so that you have a space to keep organized as well as make phone calls in silence (or as silent as it’s going to get in a house with children!). If you don’t have enough space for a whole office, a desk in a dedicated area will do.
We don’t have a spare room so we only have a desk in our bedroom for working. While we do still do plenty of work at the dining room table (especially when the kids are outside), we do work that needs quietness at the desk in our room.
You may also choose to have somewhere else entirely to work. This can work great if you can get the majority of your work done in batches. You can rent a shared workspace that you can go to when you are able OR you can even rent an Airbnb or hotel room for a weekend to really catch up on work when you need to. Taking these mini-retreats will really allow you to get the most done without all of the distractions of home life.
Work Alternating Shifts
Working alternating shifts can be a great idea, especially when you are working outside of the home. This may mean that both you and your spouse will need to share the homeschooling responsibilities so it’s important to be on the same page with what you are doing for school.
Use this to your advantage. If you have a spouse that loves to teach science and math, do those on the days when they are able to teach the children and you teach the other subjects. If you feel the need to teach all subjects every day, you can do that too, but personally, we’ve found sometimes it’s just funner to have Dad as your science teacher and Mom as your language arts teacher.
Try a Homeschool Coop
Some areas have homeschool coops that are one or more days per week where someone else will teach your children and you don’t necessarily have to be present. If you are able to get the majority of your work done on the few days a week that your children have coop, this might be a great option for you.
You could also check in to see if there are any Micro Schools in your area. These are somewhat similar to a coop but do not require you to stay with your children all day and allow someone else to homeschool your children, possibly even all of the school days in the week.
Delegate Teaching Tasks
When my husband and I worked full time, we hired a nanny and all three of us collaborated on educating the children. This might not be financially feasible for everyone.
Remember to be flexible with your family. Learning occurs all the time, not exclusively during “school hours.” Use weekends, days off, or evenings to teach in small blocks of time. Work with your children from a place of rest and keep in mind that homeschooling doesn’t have to correspond with the public school model of grade level, time spent on each subject etc. – Ashlie
Cancel Your Expectations
Get rid of all of your expectations of what homeschooling should look like. You don’t need to have a Pinterest-perfect homeschool day. It is okay if your day looks totally different than other homeschool families. – Dara
Combine Subjects and Conquer
Combine as many subjects as you can. There are many curriculums where specific subjects are geared towards families and you can do science/history/geography/etc. with grades K-6 all together. Alongside this, encourage independent learning as the children get older. Many curriculums facilitate this, as well. – Kendra
Homeschool on the Weekends
Be flexible and don’t be afraid to homeschool on the weekends. – Kayla
Change Your Perspective Of Homeschooling
In 2021 I officially started homeschooling my 7-year-old daughter while also going from full-time SAHM to a work-from-home mom. I’m a journalist and I took on freelance writing jobs. Some weeks I was working on deadline, which added up to many hours of work. Other weeks I was in between assignments and could focus on home life and homeschooling. It was hard.
I had a lot of guilt for the times I simply couldn’t listen to my child talk about things that interested her or spend time with her the way I wanted to. There were times I had to let her know mommy simply wasn’t available. She had to find ways to entertain herself and, yes, a lot of the time she was occupied with screens. My best advice is to do your best to let go of the guilt. You are doing a hard thing and you are enough! Before beginning to work from home my homeschool focus was following my child’s interests.
Once I was working I found that didn’t work out for me anymore. As much as possible, I tried to stick to a schedule where I spent time with and homeschooled my child in the morning and worked in the afternoon, although that didn’t always work out. I also started doing about 20 minutes a day of traditional sit-down learning with brain breaks for body movement. The rest of our homeschooling included things like reading so many books from the library, learning about the things she was interested in and getting outside. – Holly
Carve Out Homeschooling Time First
Find a good time before work to commit to your child’s education. Carve out up to two hours in the morning that you can work through lessons with your child. When away at work have them work through their lessons or activities you’ve left behind. In the evening after work, reinforce the lesson at dinner time or with fun family togetherness time. – Amanda
Can a working mom homschool her children?
Yes, it’s definitely possible to do both, whether you work outside of the home or if you are able to work from home. Working from home makes the logistics a little bit easier but with some planning and following some helpful tips, it can be done either way.
How do people afford homeschooling?
For some people, working full time while they homeschool is how they are able to afford it. However, homeschooling doesn’t need to be expensive, it can even be free! I’ll share more ideas on that in future blog posts.
Should I quit my job to homeschool?
If you really don’t feel like you are able to do both, weigh the pros and cons of quitting and continuing to work. Decide which thing is a priority to you but also work on your household budget and figure out what you’d need to do to make any changes.
If you don’t need to work full-time, there are also many side-hustles that homeschool moms can do! This will also be a future blog post and I will link to this post when I have it ready.
However you decide to plan your day and fit homeschooling into your work week, just know that it is possible! Look for those around you that will help to encourage you on your journey and if you don’t have anyone, consider our family as your personal encouragers.