How to work from home and homeschool your kids
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How to Homeschool and Still Work From Home

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A few things we learned during the pandemic of 2020 was just how hard it can be to work-full from home. Then, we were asked to adapt again. Fall came and instead of brining a sense of normalcy, was yet another hurdle for parents to try and figure out how they were gonna get through the school year.

For many, it was not an option to continue working from home (or be out of work) with the kids, but rather a necessity to report back to work in person.

Working parents were finally given a sense of normalcy when kids were allowed to return to school in person. I mean, they work, they don’t teach. Otherwise they would be a teacher.

But the truth still remains that working and homeschooling doesn’t end with the pandemic. There are many who were granted full time access to remote, making it a long term solution. Yay!

Let’s not forget though, about the stay at home moms that are juggling the whole teacher/homeschooling balance while trying to still earn some money.

‘Cause, stay at home mom guilt is a real thing, let me know.

We all deserve a pat on the back for doing rolls we never though we would. For those who are needing some extra support, or are new to this role of teacher AND breadwinner – here’s a letter to you!

But was about the stay-at-home mom guilt?

Hey there homeschooling warrior,

I am writing to you because I know today is a hard day. You are moments away from losing your sweet tone. You are trying to get the kids going on their school assignments so you can step away to shower, brush your hair and if you’re lucky, tweeze your eyebrows.

Today is one of those days where all the little that could go wrong, have gone sour. I know you are thankful nothing terribly wrong has happened. And are almost frustrated with yourself or not being more appreciative. For letting the little things get to you when you have so much to be thankful for.

But today is just one of those days where all those little things have up to the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Let me first tell you it’s okay. It’s okay for you to be frustrated. It’s okay for you to be overwhelmed. It’s okay for you to wonder if you made the right call choosing to homeschool. Had to miss the days of going to work and being able to clock in and clock out. It’s okay for you to miss the recognition and the good job from your boss. It’s okay for you to want some alone time. 

So before we go any further I want you, and I give you permission to go and take 10 minutes for yourself. I want you to actually set the timer and go do something for 10 minutes that is for you. Not as mom, not as his wife, not as teacher. But for you.

That’s taking a shower, go for it.

If that’s doing your hair and makeup absolutely do it.

If that is sitting in your closet and eating the entire bag of chocolate covered cranberries, you go girl.

If that is standing in front of the mirror including those heels you used to wear everyday just so you can feel empowered again, go for it girl.

Whatever it is that makes you feel like you again I want you to go do it.

Then come back and finish reading.

Are you ready to homeschool, continue working full-time (or part-time) AND run your house without losing your mind?

Okay are you ready to keep going? Because now that we have filled your cup again I can help you see where you can begin to pour into others and into your household to keep it running smoothly.

There is so much about homeschooling beyond the academics that I want to share with you. Because it’s easy to see the cute pictures on social media where teachers and moms are effortlessly going throughout their day. Where there’s clean tables that are free of dishes.

It’s so easy to get caught up in perfection and only seeing a one-dimensional snapshot of other people’s lives and then looking around yours and feeling like you’re falling short. So let’s just be realistic and honest with ourselves.

The state of your house and where you are at in your day is normal. Where you choose to go from here is what will either keep you operating as a normal household or going above and beyond and going to a place of optimal living.

While many are content operating as normal and actually only want to be normal, it’s still okay for you to want better and to strive so long as it does not depress you or unmotivate you.

Goals are only powerful if they are inspiring.

Let’s get started and hopefully you can be inspired with some of these ways to get back on track and get your happy back. 

Your mental health check as a working parent that is also homeschooling, is vital! Before to take a moment to check-in with yourself.

Mental perspective

Feeling overwhelmed by the reality of homeschooling and juggling all your household chores? It’s not uncommon for you to feel like you are just treading water and keeping your head barely above water as you teach and do all of the jobs required of you. 

Let’s take a look at just a few of the jobs a homeschooling mom is going to encounter throughout the day

  • Child care for all ages
  • Teacher
  • Principal
  • Spiritual leader and mentor
  • Cleaning lady or janitor
  • Playground monitor
  • Lunch lady or personal chef
  • Laundromat
  • Dishwasher
  • Event planner 
  • Chauffeur

There is no doubt that being a homeschool mom is hardly a title for the job that it encompasses. 

And you get away but before you get intimidated by just how many jobs that you are going to be juggling let’s take a moment to remember why you are doing this and the benefits

  • Extra hours of snuggles 
  • New recipes tester
  • Planner
  • Teaching the next generation and having a direct impact on the future 
  • Guidance counselor 
  • School administrator
  • Childcare expert
  • Personal cleaning service 

Now take a quick look at the two lists. Your mental perspective is what made the latter seem more “professional”. Getting bigger down by the idea that you are “just” a homeschool mom is something you will have to combat on the regular. Mentally preparing yourself to perform the duties your kids, household, and life required is something you need to do and make time to recap. 

Are you a planner or a writer of lists? Start a gratitude journal and see your goals starting being checked off!

Gratitude journal versus planner

One of the best things you can do is to keep a gratitude journal if you are really easily sidetracked by negative thoughts.

A gratitude journal helps you to mentally refocus and train your mind to find the good and the positive. If you tend to get overwhelmed then a planner is something you will benefit from.

From my own personal experience I have found that while I love planners and being organized that is not what makes me be productive. But rather keeping a gratitude journal and refocusing my mind from what I have or have done is far more motivational than what I need to get done.

A planner has its time and its place in my household, but it is not the main focus of my day. I am not one to refer back to my planner multiple times in a day.

But I can find things throughout the day to be thankful for and to verbally say out loud. It’s so much easier because I can be somewhat of a scatterbrain and misplace my planner. Or my coffee. Or anything (such as my train of thought).

For many, planners it is motivational because it is a goal that you are working towards. I love to think that I am a planner because setting a goal means competing against myself. I’m a very competitive person and will always push myself a little bit harder whenever there’s a goal inside.

I’m not really sure if anybody else struggles with the mental balancing of staying positive and overwhelming yourself with things to do. But I know as a homeschool mom it’s so easy to get frazzled, and oftentimes we don’t (or can’t) pinpoint or feel like we can take the time to stop and pinpoint what’s really preventing us from being the best version of mom or teacher but most importantly of ourselves.

It’s one of those let’s talk about how overwhelmed we are but not actually do anything about the trends of society right now.

I want to break those habits that homeschool moms are underworked and frazzled, but I also want to empower you with how to overcome that. I challenge you to give yourself a week to experiment if a gratitude journal or a planner is going to be more motivational for you.

Maybe take two weeks out of the summer over a break or heck, even in the middle of the school year and see what it does for you. You don’t have to have anything crazy or cute.

In fact, I challenge you to not go out and invest and I plan a gratitude journal until you know which one for sure is going to give you the most motivation. For now grab a blank notebook or some of those blank computer sheets because that’s what’s there and just start writing or planning.

If you need some help with gratitude prompts I have designed a gratitude journal. Whereas a planner is something you can find digital downloads on Esty, pick one up at the Dollar Tree pretty much any store even the grocery store has a planner of some kind. 

14 day gratitude vs. planner challenge☝️

Homeschool days are filled with interruptions that may just be opportunity for redirection.

Handling interruptions

Interruptions are inevitable. There are going to be times when your homeschool day is interrupted with car repairs, doctor appointments, phone calls, people asking for favors, or even events that you want to do outside of the house while there aren’t big crowds.

From anything from grocery shopping during the day to clothing shopping or just going to the museum as a field trip day. What you deem as an interruption versus life skill or what I like to call reality, the perspective is up to you. Now there will always be interruptions so don’t think that responding to that text message with the cute meme or gift is necessary.

Or that I’m giving you permission to stop for the 17th time to scroll through social media because hey that’s a life skill. But rather finding the balance between what is an interruption and identifying what is an opportunity for redirection.

During school hours there will be many things grabbing your attention. The baby crying, stepping away to switch laundry, or refill the dishwasher.

While most moms have learned to do these tasks while your student is doing their independent work, there will be times when your kiddo finishes before you. How you handle those interruptions is how you are going to pace yourself throughout the day.

You have to be conscious that you are choosing where to spend your energy. Are you spending your energy getting frustrated at every little minor inconvenience?

Or are you choosing to put tunnel vision or blinders on during the school day and giving yourself permission to dismiss or overlook those little things to keep your focus and your energy on your homeschooling. Decide now that it’s far more important for you to funnel out interruptions and give more attention to redirecting yourself.

To combat those free moments when you kids try to run off while you finish up, have a lesson enrichment station prepped. This is a great way to utilize those activity pages, mini workbooks or work on sight words. These are the simple but necessary things you can do on their own, and choose for themselves while you are using brain power elsewhere.

On the first day of school be sure to go over to the activity center and tell students during this year they will be sent to this center to enrich and reiterate concepts.

Maintaining a schedule

Sticking to a routine is easy when you are set up to limit distraction. When kids go to school they are trained and reminded constantly in verbal and nonverbal ways, it’s school time. From the decorations, the teacher’s presence, all the way to the mental associate that the school building is only for school. Well, homeschooling can be harder to differentiate that.

A schedule is harder to stick to when I have the short commute from bedroom to kitchen table. I mean, look at how working from home went. You started out so pumped to have no commute, sleep in later and NOT wear those “uncomfortable” work clothes.

Ha.

Then a month, two months….a 17 years later and you are working from home in sweat pants and feeling a serious lack of motivation to ever put real pants on again.

Welcome to the homeschooling moms struggle. So let me say this, after many years of being homeschooled, and now homeschooling, MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO HAVE ROUTINE.

Let me say that again, a schedule or some sort of boundaries is a MUST when you homeschool. Some people are gonna fault you for having one.

Some people are gonna say a strict schedule is the whole reason parents don’t send their kids to public school, so why would you have one at home?

Some parents are gonna tell you to NOT be so relaxed.

It’s one of those classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t moments. 

Homeschooling while working from home is not easy. Especially when it comes time to clean.

Do a 15-minute cleaning burst before starting the day

Power cleaning get its name because you spend a small amount of time, with extreme focus. As a homeschooling household, messes are going to be a big distraction for you. It’s so hard to see the stack of dishes piling up and want to pause your lesson to empty and fill the dishwasher.

It’s going to be so tempting to “take a break in between subjects” to switch the laundry.

However, you gotta be mindful of how those short power cleaning or household chores can turn into big routine killers.

Take it from a mom that is obsessed with cleaning. Overcoming the need to have a perfectly clean house in order to teach is a mental focus. 

Because if you are not careful, time will slip anyway and the mom guilt will compile.

Mental focus while homeschooling

Mental focus

Juggling teaching, cleaning, cooking and child watching for all ages is no easy feat. You are gonna get overwhelmed and feel stretched on some days, like you are just keeping your head above water.

And guess what?

That is normal.

Ask anyone who worlds a 9-5 and they will tell you the same thing. 

Your job as homeschool mom is really just head mental refocuser (not a word, I know but you get the picture).

Stay motivated, but stay focused by doing the task at hand. When tempted to stray, write it down somewhere (so you won’t forget) and let it be a to-do for later.

Signs you need to just stop and turn off

There is so much focus on mental awareness that we forget about the constant mental hurdles we overcome daily. We are always going. Always pushing yourself.

We are constantly “on”.

On edge. On time. Online. On top of things. On the go. Turned on.

You name it!

But what if this constant state of being on is what is causing us to burn out. After all, a light bulb that is constantly in use is going to burn out faster than when you turn it off. Not to mention it sucks up all the energy and we’re constantly fussing about the electric bill. Well it’s no different with you.

You are constantly drained when you are constantly on. You are using up your reserve of mental awareness, motivation and being when you are constantly accessible. Something you are going to have to learn how to do, and train yourself to do, is to say no as a homeschool mom you are going to be expected to always say yes.

To always have time to do things. Always be there when somebody needs you because hey you’re staying at home mom now. And you just have an endless supply of time now. But the truth of the matter is that anyone who stays home knows that somehow your workload grew 10 times.

Because people know when you’re at work you are limited with what you’re able to do and they tend to respect that boundary.

Part of learning how to homeschool is learning how to say no. Learning when to turn off your phone. When to go offline. When to not go off. And learning how to stop running offense when it comes to your life. 

I sincerely hope and pray that you were able to take something away from this letter. I hope that you are able to know you are not alone. I hope that you are finding new ways to improve and persevere, rather than adding to the list of why you shouldn’t continue. I will end this with no secret formula to how to homeschool without losing your mind. But there are some tips and tricks that you can hopefully take from those who have gone before you. Be inspired and know that this is only for a short time. And you can always find ways to improve or tweak. Just know that in the end your family and your needs are what is most important. 

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