10 Tips for Being a Happy and Thriving Working Homeschool Mom
Lots of women ask me how to be a successful working homeschool mom. As someone who has homeschooled and worked since 2017, I can say that it is possible. And you can also be happy and thriving! Read on to find out how!
I wrote a post more than three years ago about being a work-at-home homeschooling mom and so much of it still stands. I do however want to add in some extra tips that I’ve learnt since then.
1. Take the Time to Find Your Groove
Finding that sweet schedule where everyone is happy and thriving (you included) can take some time. But it’s worth it to spend the time on this part of the process.
My biggest tip for this is being open-minded and flexible. For example, you could homeschool in the afternoon if you need to work in the morning. Or you could do more homeschooling over the weekends.
You could also homeschool for a few days a week. We have a 4-day homeschooling week and the kids get more than enough learning during this time.
And don’t be afraid to change if something isn’t working. I’ve recently tweaked my work schedule because it just wasn’t working anymore. And I foresee doing it again in the future. The same goes for homeschooling.
If something is feeling too hard or forced, chuck it. It probably isn’t serving anybody if you’re super stressed out. Harmony comes from everyone being happy.
2. Release the Need for Perfection
As a type-A personality, this has been hard for me. I\’m not going to lie! But I’ve found that releasing the need for a pristine house, Pinterest-perfect homeschool lessons and everyone being happy and smiling 24/7, has really set me free.
The stress and energy needed to keep my house clean all the time, with a messy man, two messy boys and a messy dachshund, is not worth it. I’d rather spend the time filling my cup with things that bring me joy. Because everyone benefits from this.
A tip I’ve found that works is to do something small every day. And I also do a daily load of laundry. In this way, housekeeping is manageable and I also feel like I’ve done something. Ideally my boys would be involved but that is a battle I can’t and won’t fight at this stage!
The same goes for homeschooling. Small concentrated amounts of learning add up. We homeschool year-round so it also takes the pressure off a lot. And it keeps everyone from going absolutely bonkers!
3. Get Organized
Getting and feeling organized are incredibly empowering. I know it sounds like striving for perfection, but I don’t believe that it is. I think it’s a way to reduce stress and to feel more in control.
Obviously it’s very possible to go mad with organization. But I find that doing it in a way that feels natural and doable, has just as much effect.
When you’re organized, it frees up so much energy for other things. For example, meal planning takes a lot of pressure off you for the rest of the week. I spend an hour on Sunday making a pot of soup and a pot of stew or curry, that I can eat during the week. That’s it!
When you’re organized, it also allows you to do the things that you really love. I have to work out to feel sane. So that means I schedule in just 30 minutes a day to go for a run or to do a HIIT workout. Granted I don’t always feel like it or manage. But I’m consistent in the long run.
4. Find your Working Homeschool Mom Group
Being a working homeschool mom can feel lonely. And because it’s such a unique way of living, you might find that people don’t understand what life is like for you. They might even criticize your choices.
I live in a small town that doesn’t offer much in the way of a homeschooling community. I have however found so much support online and this has been my saving grace! Even though my community is scattered around the world, it makes me feel so supported and seen, knowing that many other working homeschool moms share my struggles.
I have a Facebook group especially for working homeschool moms. And I also belong to a homeschool blogging community. These two groups really help with the very specific challenges I face on a daily basis. I love having a place to ask for advice, to share wins and to also find support when I’m down.
5. Let Go of the School-at-Home Mentality
I’m the product of a state-run education system, which comes with a lot of educational baggage. I’ve luckily managed to overcome this in the past four years of homeschooling. And I did it for the sake of my children.
If you’re like me, then you might feel tempted to duplicate school in your homeschool. This was definitely the case for me in the beginning because it was all that I’d ever known. I soon found out that it doesn’t work! And I also quickly realized that I didn’t want to repeat the traumatic experience my kids had gone through at school.
I think one of the biggest issues is that you feel that your kids need to be doing workbooks for eight hours a day. This is just not the case! Christine from This Homeschool House, who is a second-generation homeschooler, says that children can be successfully homeschooled with just a few hours per day.
Preschool – 0-30 minutes
Elementary – 30 mins-2 hours
Middle School – 1.5 hours-3 hours
High School – 2-4 hours
Doesn’t this look much more manageable? And if you decide to homeschool year-round, it becomes even more doable!
6. Take Small, Consistent Steps
Small, consistent steps are so powerful. And I’m realizing this more and more as I get further along this working homeschool mom journey. Taking baby steps applies to work, homeschooling, staying in shape, homemaking…basically anything in life!
I took small steps to move from a corporate job that involved a lot of travel to being freelance, working from home and homeschooling. I’m now taking small steps to move into work that’s more fulfilling and I’m more passionate about.
Your kids can also benefit from small consistent steps in their education. Even if you’re homeschooling for just 30 minutes a day, it all adds up. I also believe that you can double or triple the learning time at home. There are fewer distractions, kids can learn what they want and at their own pace, and there are less kids than at school.
7. Prioritize What Really Matters
Once you’re really clear about what’s important to you, you can prioritize those things. This takes some soul searching and clarity around your life. I would also suggest doing this every 6 months or so to see that you’re still on the right track.
I’ll give you a small example of what this means to me. I have to workout at least 5 or 6 times a week. I need this for my mental health and sanity. So sometimes it means that the kids do less learning for a day or that the house isn’t spotless. Working out is a non-negotiable for me so I make sure I schedule it in to my day.
Another way I prioritize is that my job needs to fit around my family and not the other way around. I know this isn’t always possible, but if it’s something that you want to achieve, it is possible with those small consistent steps. I moved away from a corporate job to being freelance with a transition period of about 2 years. It took time but it was worth it!
8. Work Towards Flexibility in your Work
I know it’s not always possible to have the perfect job for being a working homeschool mom. I know a lot of the struggle comes from being pulled in a million different directions. It took me some time to move from a job that demanded my everything to one that I could control and change as I needed.
Working from home in your own business really makes homeschooling much easier. If this is something that you would like to achieve, then you could consider blogging, being a VA, offering an online service, being an online English teacher or a graphic designer, to name a few.
One good thing about COVID, is that companies have realized that employees can be just as productive at home as in the office. You could also ask your company for more flexible working hours or the possibility to do your job at home.
9. Remember Why You’re a Working Homeschool Mom
You’re going to go through some tough days. It’s normal. You might even question why you’re doing what you’re doing. So remembering your why is a good way to overcome times like this.
Firstly, homeschooling can be really hard to adjust to…for everyone in the family. You and your kids could benefit from a period of deschooling. It’s a really great way to figure out what works for everyone. And it also takes the pressure of everyone during the initial adjustment period.
When the going gets really tough, I always take time off from homeschooling. It helps the kids to relax and most importantly, it helps me to relax too! I also spend this time seeing what isn’t working any more and tweaking or changing. I also remind myself what it was like before when I worked a corporate job and the kids were in school. We were all not happy!
10. Find that Working Homeschool Mom Mindset Magic
Mindset can make or break your working homeschool mom life. I’m not suggesting positivity to the point of toxicity. Everyone has bad days and they’re a normal part of being a human being. But I do think that trying to find solutions and looking at things from a different angle can be incredibly powerful.
I’m a big believer in taking time off, reshuffling and ditching when needed. It’s ok to take a break and to do things differently to other people. It’s the beauty of this lifestyle!
Whenever you need some help or support, please reach out! I am here to support you because I know it can be tough! But I also know that it can be wonderful!