Over the years, I’ve written several articles about how to homeschool and work from home. Yet it’s a slightly different story when you’re wondering how to START homeschooling when you already work from home. And in light of the most recent pandemic, I know many parents and children find themselves trying to get used to a new norm.
For some, this looks like remote work split with half a day at the office. For others, they’ve had to begin an entirely new adventure. They’re educating their children at home while transitioning their work to home as well. In other words, working from home and homeschooling through Coronavirus.
If you find yourself making the decision to begin your homeschooling journey while working from home, there are few things you need to know.
How to Start Homeschooling When You Work From Home
Let’s say you’ve been working from home for some time while your children have been enrolled in public or private school. So the new change your family faces is bringing your children home too.
I’ve touched on some of the basics of how I homeschool as a work from home in this post over on my other site. However, there are a few more things to keep in mind if you’re wondering how to start homeschooling when you work from home — especially if your children are older.
Have “the talk” as a family
When big changes, such as homeschooling, are made for a family, it should be a matter that is openly discussed. This is especially important if you are going to be pulling your children out of public or private school.
Sit down as a family and discuss the new changes. Be open about what that may or may not look like.
For example, perhaps your work from home job means you need to be available for phone calls throughout the day. Or maybe you regularly participate in Zoom meetings with clients or colleagues. If so, your children need to understand what is (and isn’t) acceptable behavior and activities for them during that time.
If your children are old enough, ask for them to chime in with any questions, comments, criticisms, or concerns. Opening the floor shows your children that you value their opinion and you’re able to gauge how they feel about it. It will also help you make adjustments to make the process as smooth as possible.
Understand your child’s learning style
Once you’ve made the decision to homeschool, filed all necessary paperwork, and maybe even started to nail down a homeschool routine, it’s time to start understanding the ways your child learns best.
Oftentimes you’ll find that children have several different styles depending on the subject. Do you plan to use an open-and-go curriculum which includes all subjects for one grade? If so, you could find you have an asynchronous learner on your hands. (All of my children have been asynchronous learners. Essentially, this means they work at different “grade” levels depending on the subject.)
It is completely normal for a child to be more hands-on in one area and completely visual in another. When you learn your child’s learning style you learn how to start homeschooling YOUR child. This means you can choose a curriculum that will accommodate their needs and best position them for educational success.
Use a planner and/or calendar system
Some of your best homeschooling days come when everyone knows what’s going on, what’s coming up, and what’s expected of them. Sure, you could swing a schedule or routine and hope for the best. However, organizing your day and staying consistent is key to homeschooling successfully.
While there are days when the schedule may go completely out the window, using a planner and/or calendar will give you that foundation to come back to.
Having a good planner will help you see the big picture of what you’ll be doing in your homeschooling and beyond. Use it to make sure you’re not overbooking yourself and your family and to keep everyone on the same page. A big wall calendar is always my go-to so everyone can see what we have on our schedule from planned field trips to appointments.
Take time to transition
As a veteran work-from-home, homeschooling mom I’ll be the first to tell you that rushing into homeschooling can cause more chaos than calm. Give yourself and your children time to get used to it. During this time, slowly coast into creating a schedule and routine that works for your family dynamic.
Over the course of the first few weeks, you may find that doing things at a certain time isn’t working, or that you need to focus on setting boundaries on your work or business hours to accommodate homeschooling. In that case, don’t force it.
Make any necessary changes until you find your homeschooling sweet spot. Even then, don’t hesitate to make more changes as circumstances and situations may call for. The idea is to make the journey pleasant for everyone.
Overall, starting your journey when you work from home doesn’t have to be intimidating or stressful. Instead, use my suggestions above to get and stay started on a path to successful homeschooling your way.