Homeschooling and working from home is becoming the norm these days. But how do you organize your day to ensure you and your children get everything done – and done well? If you find yourself in this unique position, keep reading for my top five tips to organize your day when you homeschool and work from home.
Homeschool & Work from Home Tips
Before I get started, know this. While it is possible to homeschool and work from home, it requires determination, planning, and preparation. Some days will go well, and some not-so-well.
As I write this, I’m in my seventh year of homeschooling and my tenth year of running my business. More than anything, I’ve really found that having a few daily goals, a daily homeschool routine, and NOT multi-tasking has helped me stay organized.
However, I chose to homeschool and work from home. And I had years to find a style that works for us. If you’re among the many moms who suddenly find themselves doing both due to the mandated health-related restrictions, here are the tips you need to get the situation in hand.
1. Adopt a homeschool style that accommodates your unique situation.
Now I’m a homeschooling mom who has tried just about every style and method out there. And here’s what I’ve found: a relaxed homeschool approach is the way to go.
That may sound pretty obvious to you, but honestly, I was anything but relaxed for at least the first few years of this.
As a recovering workaholic/Type A career banker, I agree that having some structure can work to your benefit. And since the importance of education and academic achievement were drilled into me as part of my East Indian/British family culture, relaxing over schoolwork seemed, well, negligent.
However, when homeschooling and working from home, you’ll soon learn to appreciate a more easy-going approach. In fact, the reduced stress seems to encourage the kids to e
(Note: one of the first newbie WFH homeschooling mom mistakes I made was trying to keep my three-year-old on an 8:30 am to 3:30 pm academic schedule. While nursing a newborn. And keeping up with content creation for a major website overhaul of a major financial institution client. Yes, I was THAT mom. My poor daughter.)
A relaxed homeschool style gives you the flexibility you’ll love all while keeping the love for learning a priority. If something doesn’t get completed as planned, this approach allows room for “learning as you go.” There are several homeschooling ideologies that mesh well with this style, such as teaching through unit studies, the Charlotte Mason approach, as well as the “eclectic” homeschooling method.
2. Stay organized with a routine.
Don’t confuse a routine with a schedule. A schedule is something that is often written down and followed to a “T”. Thinking of how public and private school days are laid out – in schedules. On the other hand, a routine is often seen as activities that can be done without much planning.
In the case of keeping your days organized, you can develop a general routine that can easily be followed.
Start with the main parts of your day, such as when you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Learn about meal planning and meal prep ahead of time. Then begin filling in the other times of the day with school in the morning (or afternoon), with work being the opposite.
3. Incorporate time blocking when you homeschool and work from home.
Time blocking can be seen as more of a schedule; however, the main reason for using this method is to help with time management and maximizing the hours you have in a given day. Decide what activities throughout the day deserve a spot in your time block. Then, figure out how much time to devote to each activity.
Time spent homeschooling and working should definitely be time blocked to help you and your child stay focused and on task. Be sure to give yourselves breaks between big chunks of time.
More info on handling working at home and homeschool:
Good Housekeeping: Work From Home and Homeschool
Washington Post: How to Actually Do This Remote-Learning Thing While Working From Home
4.Provide clear communication about expectations.
One of the quickest ways to get disorganized is to keep your schedule and/or planning a mystery. If no one in the family knows what the other is doing, then it’s bound to end up in stressful and overwhelming days.
Utilize organizational tools to help keep everyone on the same page. A few tips and ideas are:
- Hang a wall calendar in a location where everyone can see it.
- Color code activities according to family members.
- Use apps that can sync on everyone’s electronic device.
- Hold a family planning meeting at the head of every week to discuss the upcoming week’s activities.
- Do not overbook.
5. Prioritize the day’s events from most to least important.
Oftentimes, as homeschooling work-at-home moms, we can end up feeling pretty exhausted during the times just when our energy is needed the most. This is honestly due to a lack of planning. Remind yourself to consider what’s most important right now. And when that thing needs to be completed.
For example, we wouldn’t expect our child to do schoolwork at 10 o’clock at night. Therefore, planning his/her school time during the parts of the day when they have the most energy is ideal. The same goes for you when you work from home.
What are the best times of day to complete certain tasks? Plan to do them at that time. And don’t forget to calculate and plan breaks, lunches, family time, etc.
If you’re anything like me, this doesn’t happen overnight, or even over a couple of weeks. It’s taken me a long time to figure out when I’m most effective, when my kids’ energy levels are up (or down), and how to shift my work schedule and homeschool expectations as needed. In other words, to be flexible.
Overall, organizing your day when you homeschool and work from home starts with planning, being flexible, and trying different things to see what works best for your family in this season.