How to Start Homeschool While Working without Losing Your Mind
If you want to start homeschool while working, then this is the post for you! I know it’s a big decision because I remember how much my husband and I discussed (and argued) for months before we took the plunge.
It can be really tough at the beginning too. I remember feeling totally overwhelmed by everything. I hope to give you some practical tips and strategies for making the transition as smooth as it can be, so that you don’t totally lose your mind!
Consider a Crossover Period
A crossover period can be useful for any big change, I think. And when you start homeschool while working, a crossover can be a lifesaver! It’s the opportunity to start getting a feel for what homeschooling will look like for you and your kids.
You could start by:
- doing some low-key homeschooling over weekends,
- trying out some curricula or online programmes,
- seeing what your kids enjoy,
- and discovering how your kids learn.
This is the perfect time, when the stakes are relatively low, for your kids to play and have fun while you observe and take notes.
At the same time, a work crossover period can also help you a lot. Much like your kids, you’ll need time to get used to a new way of working.
This time could also be used to transition from one type of job to another. Or if you’re staying in the same job, it can be the time to figure out how you’re going to do both in a day.
I took almost two years to move from my corporate work-at-home job to a freelance one. But it was worth it because when I was ready, my schedule was flexible.
As an online English teacher, I used this time to build up my students and to fill my calendar sufficiently. It was tough at the beginning, but once I was ready to leave my job, I was able to work in a way that suited being a working homeschool mom.
Take Some Time to Deschool
I’ve spoken loads of time before about the benefits of deschooling. And when you start homeschool while working, it can be incredibly powerful. Deschooling can help you to:
- find a schedule that works for the whole family,
- discover how, what, where and when your kids like to learn,
- transition from a school mentality to a homeschool reality,
- and get to know each other as a family.
I think the way to make deschooling as effective as possible is to take enough time for it. It might take longer than you expect, but your kids will let you know when they’re ready to learn in a more structured way. And believe me when I tell you, forcing kids never works!
Lower Your Expectations
Lowering your expectations is good advice for most things in life! It is really important when you become a working homeschool mom. There are so many things that are easier to let go of. For me it’s been:
- a house that is tidy and organized at all times,
- a dedicated area just for homeschooling,
- my kids learning consistently and eagerly,
- programmes that look cool but don’t work for us,
- and plain sailing all the way.
Another expectation that was very unrealistic when I started, was the number of hours I thought my kids should learn every day. I thought they should do what they did at school…eight hours of intensive learning.
But this is not the case when you homeschool. Just because kids are not doing workbooks or online exercises, doesn’t mean they’re not learning. If you give them opportunities to play and explore and discover, they will be learning in a natural, engaged and organic way.
My kids only do about one to two hours of dedicated ‘learning’ per day. So this makes it much easier to manage homeschool while working because there’s enough time to fit everything in.
Find Your Homeschool While Working Support Network
Finding your support network is probably the most important step of the whole transition. It can feel super lonely and overwhelming, but there are others out there who have been through it! And we’re here to support and cheer you on!
I suggest finding a homeschool while working community for lots of reasons:
- You can get ideas and resources.
- You can commiserate when your friends and family don’t agree with your choices.
- You can reach out for advice and support when you feel frustrated and alone.
- You can share your wins with others who understand what it takes.
I have a private Facebook group where working homeschool moms can hang out. If you’re looking for this kind of group, I would love to have you there!