Can you homeschool and work full time?
Parents considering homeschooling their children have to consider how it coincides with their work schedules. If you're wondering, "Can I homeschool and work full time?" the short answer is yes. But it might take some work!
Some parents homeschool and work full time, and they take steps to make it easier for themselves, their partners, and their children. This might involve making a schedule, reaching out to their network for help when they need it, or using a ready-to-go curriculum. Let's take a closer look at some of the best tips for balancing work and homeschooling.
Is homeschooling hard?
If you're considering homeschooling your children for the first time and you work full time, you might wonder, "Is homeschooling hard?" The answer really depends on a number of factors.
If you work full time, homeschooling might be difficult because you have responsibilities to your employer, your family, and your kids' schooling. But by taking the right steps, you can find a balance between working full time and homeschooling your kids.
How to Balance Work and Homeschooling
Everyone's family—and everyone's children—are different, so what works for one family might not work for another. But here are some tips on balancing work and homeschooling to keep your days running as smoothly as possible.
Keep a Consistent Schedule
To balance full-time work and homeschooling your kids, creating some sort of schedule and a series of routines is crucial. It can be a large paper calendar, a Google calendar, or another format. But the schedule should be accessible to everyone in the family.
Your schedule should plan for and accommodate time for working, time for teaching, time for fun, time for housework, and time for working on the schedule. With a visible schedule like this, everyone can stay focused on what they need to do at any given time.
For tasks like cooking or other housework, consider getting your children involved in any jobs that would be age-appropriate and safe for them. This can teach them practical skills, build their sense of responsibility, and help tackle some things on your to-do list.
Schedules and routines help you structure your days, focus on the task at hand, and provide much-needed structure for your children as well.
Prioritize the Most Important Tasks
It might be true that everything has to get done, but certain tasks are more important than others. Think about the best way to break down these tasks and then prioritize the ones that are the most critical and need to be completed first.
If there are certain tasks you know you need to work on without distractions, schedule and prioritize them for a time you know you won't be interrupted. Work on other tasks when you think your kids might have a question or need your help.
Put Weekends, Summer, and Free Time to Good Use
Many parents go into homeschooling thinking their kids have to follow a traditional schedule, but that's not necessarily the case. Especially if you're working full time and trying to balance those hours with homeschooling your kids, some schooling during "non-traditional" hours might be beneficial.
Think about what might work best for your family. Maybe that means including all the days of the week in your homeschool schedule—including weekends. Maybe that means homeschooling fewer days of the week, but continuing through the summer, rather than just September through June. Or perhaps it means slipping some schooling outside the regular hours of 8 AM to 3 PM.
Or rather than using the free time for lessons, you might find that using early mornings, evenings, or weekends is a great way to have your lesson planning and schedules done and ready to go for the week or month ahead.
At the end of the day, if you're meeting your state's homeschooling requirements and it's working for your kids and the family, you have room to be creative.
Make Time for Yourself
Working full time and homeschooling your kids means that you definitely have a full schedule. It's important to carve out some time to take care of yourself so you can still be present with your kids.
Make sure you're getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying hydrated. When you have some free time, do an activity just because it makes you happy. If you show up for yourself, you can also show up for your kids.
Ask for Help When You Need It
Just because you're choosing to homeschool your children doesn't mean you have to do it all alone. There are plenty of ways to ask for help and support, which can help you avoid burnout and keep the whole family happy and balanced.
Asking for help might be hiring a babysitter or looking into other childcare options if you have very young children. Or, in some parts of the United States, organized homeschool groups and co-ops offer opportunities like workshops or field trips.
If there's a particular subject you're struggling to teach, you could look into hiring a tutor or buying a course from an accredited program like Keystone. There are plenty of options for support of every kind. If there's an area where you feel like you need a little extra help, odds are you can find the support you need.
Maximize Flexibility Wherever Possible
If you have the option, try your best to organize and plan your work around other family and homeschool needs as well as childcare opportunities. This goes hand in hand with figuring out how to best prioritize your tasks for when you'll have some time to tackle your work.
It might also mean changing your personal schedule slightly. Maybe you'll plan to wake up earlier or stay up a bit later to find those moments when you can work on the tasks you need to get done.
If your work hours are strict, you might have to find flexibility in your school schedule and get creative, using weekends or summers. The places where you need to be flexible may even change from week to week or month to month.
The more you can be open to change and maximize your flexibility, the more you can make any necessary shifts in your work or schooling schedule as smooth and effective as possible.
Communicating schedules and expectations with family members is important for the success of full-time working and homeschooling. Visible schedules and planners help all members of the family understand what's expected of them on any given day. Make sure to find time (maybe at breakfast or dinner) to review schedules and make sure everyone has what they need to tackle what's on their list.
It's also crucial to communicate to both your kids and your partner when you may or may not be available for questions or to provide help. Designate time on your kids' schedules when they can ask you for help and when they should take on a task independently. This works better with older children, but it can be a valuable skill for them to learn to discern between urgent vs. non-urgent situations, and it can help them develop their independence and sense of responsibility.
Keep it Simple with the Right Curriculum
One of the best ways to simplify the homeschooling process when you're working full time is to find already established lessons or a homeschool curriculum you can use for your students. This way, you don't have to worry about lesson planning, and with some options, you don't have to worry about teaching.
Many homeschool programs can be customized to your student's particular needs, maintaining that benefit of homeschooling. If you use a homeschool curriculum, it's important to choose one that works for your family. If you work all day, for example, you'll want a curriculum that enables you to be more hands-off.
Keystone's homeschool programs are fully accredited and offer courses for students in grades K–12. Parents who work full time can use Keystone's homeschool programs and have peace of mind that their students are supported by a strong curriculum and certified teachers.
Simplify Your Homeschooling with Keystone
With an accredited program from Keystone, you can make sure your child is receiving a comprehensive and well-rounded education while working full time. Reach out to us with any questions or explore one of our course demos today.
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