It’s common to think that a family must have the freedom of living on a single income to homeschool. However, if you work from home, or your family could benefit greatly from a second income, work-from-home jobs can complement the homeschool dynamic extremely well. A parent may find it intimidating to mix the location of their income and deadlines with their children’s main learning environment. It’s completely understandable. After all, since it’s your job, you need the opportunity to focus, brainstorm, and power through work. How is that possible when your kids are also home all day?
Organization and boundaries play a large role in a successful work-from-home and homeschooling parental role. The beauty of homeschooling is the individuality and flexibility it provides. While homeschooling and working from home involves a lot of organization, the flexibility of homeschooling naturally allows for a parent to work from the comfort of their home. Homeschooling doesn’t need to happen in a block set of hours, and it doesn’t even need to happen during the day! Even if your work from home job doesn’t allow for more than 15-minute breaks like a traditional 9-5 office job, you can still homeschool your children after work. Online or digital curriculum providers are especially helpful for those situations, giving your children a chance to manage activities on their own when you’re busy.
Many of us here at Homeschool.com personally take on this daily endeavor, so we have a few key suggestions!
Set a Flexible Homeschooling and Working Schedule
Your daily schedule for work and homeschooling all depends on the flexibility of your job itself. Does your job require 9-5 hours with pacing reports? Can you begin your job whenever you like, but you are still on the clock with a timer once you begin? Or, perhaps your job allows you to work whenever you like, without timing or pacing requirements!
Whatever level flexibility your job allows, homeschooling can work around it. For example, a 9-5 strict-pacing job may require your children to either homeschool independently with your help on a lunch break and after work, or to homeschool entirely after work hours and on the weekend. However, a completely flexible schedule without pacing may give you the chance to work while the children focus on tasks they can do themselves, and pause work when you need to work on lessons together. If your job is part-time, a good solution is to homeschool during your off hours!
Consider Online or Digital Curricula
For homeschooling parents who also work-from-home, it would be most ideal for your children to work as independently as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean you leave them to just teach themselves. However, independent learning is shown to have numerous benefits, and will also help the work-from-home parent focus on work. To help, online curriculum such as Time4Learning can come in very handy. Children are often able to work through lessons on their own, and if they find themselves stuck, they can move onto another topic until you become available to help. Meanwhile, you are free to focus on your work.
Set Boundaries for Homeschooling and Working
Even though you are home and of course you want to be available for your children, it’s still important to set boundaries. After all, this is your source of income and you have to put your best quality work forward. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to produce your best work when you are distracted. Both your career and your employer deserve better than distracted work. However, it’s not easy when the children are running around. This is why boundaries are important.
If you’re able, create an office area for yourself. Even if you don’t have a separate office with a door, you can create an office space. Invest in noise-canceling headphones. Make sure it’s obvious when you are not available, such as when you are in a meeting or working on a big project — perhaps with a sign, curtain or door. Finally, if you want your children to respect your work time, then you must respect it as well. Don’t let yourself get distracted with chores around the house or browsing the web, and try to avoid checking in on your kids during your dedicated time for work. If you are checking in on them, they will likely have trouble realizing why they shouldn’t check in on you, as well.
Plan Ahead with Organization
Organization is key for any homeschool, and that includes the work-from-home parent. Perhaps, especially! Many homeschoolers find it important to plan for each week even if they already have the year or semester planned, with several homeschool parents dedicating a Sunday afternoon to the task. Likewise, work-from-home parents can plan while taking into consideration their workload, schedule, and meetings during the week ahead. Once the work schedule is established, plan your children’s homeschool schedule accordingly. Planning ahead will help reduce stress during the week itself when you are juggling your daily schedule of homeschooling and working.
Have a Backup Plan for Homeschooling and Working
What should your children do if they are stuck on a problem, but you aren’t available due to work? What should your homeschoolers study instead, or which textbooks should they switch to? Create a backup plan for your kids for those moments when they need your help to complete their assignments. This sort of plan also helps encourage your kids to study independently, or at least to develop independent learning skills.
As a homeschooling parent, you can absolutely work from home. Similarly, if you already work from home, or you need to maintain a second income from a remote position, it is still possible to homeschool! We hope this has helped give you a few new ideas for how to manage both homeschooling while working from home, and without the stress!
Courtney Newman is a homeschooled graduate with a love for writing. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in coastal Virginia.