If you are like me, you wear a lot of different hats in any given day! Two of my current roles are: homeschool mom, and starting my own business. Today I’m going to give you some of my top Tips for Managing Homeschool while Starting a Business.
While all of this can feel like a LOT at times, I was encouraged by Christy Wright’s words in Business Boutique, “Sometimes the heaviness of everything — our roles, responsibilities, commitments, and obligations — can weigh us down and get in the way of living our dream….You were made for more than just getting by: fulfillment is waiting for you in work that you love. You’re not a supporting character in the movie of your life; you’re the lead role.”
It’s OKAY to pursue things like homeschooling your kids, and still want to create your own business or find your own passion. It’s what makes you YOU.
Our family life had some major overhauls during the past year. They were very GOOD changes, but as with anything new, it has taken some time to find our groove.
This past summer, I stepped away from my job and decided to step out on my own and build a business that I had been planning for quite some time. Over the past several years, I have learned a ton about running social media for business, and I was excited to teach others to do the same for their business. This blog has become just that – my outlet for teaching others how to let go of the OVERWHELM that can come with running social media for small business.
And then, right around the same time, we decided it was the right move to bring my kids home for homeschooling. I have a 5th grader and a 3rd grader this year (as well as a 3-year-old in the mix!) It has been a challenging and yet really great season for all of us as a family.
Admittedly, I am still relatively new to the homeschooling world. I have a semester under my belt and am headed into the next. Those of you who have homeschooled for years will likely have many other tips to add to mine below and I would LOVE to hear them!
I know that I am always curious “how other moms do it.” I like to know others’ routines and systems and see if I can incorporate them into my own life.
With that said, here are some of the tips and tricks I have learned this year on how to manage homeschooling while starting your own business!
Find “ready-to-go” homeschool curriculum.
This has been HUGE for our family, and has simply made the whole process possible. I don’t know about you, but I simply don’t have the time or the bandwidth to be prepping lesson plans and doing my own research for each subject.
This year we have been using Sonlight curriculum for History, Bible and Language. This curriculum is completely done for you and even gives you daily lesson plans for the entire school year. Also, my 5th and 3rd grader can do the same history and Bible curriculum. Of course, they understand it on a little bit different level, but we can do these subject all together. This is a huge time saver and also helps build the family experience into the day. I can’t speak highly enough of this program and how much the kids and I have loved it!
(Interested in trying out Sonlight? Use this link for $5 off a $50 purchase!)
Some other subjects have been a little bit of a trial and error process for me. We started the year with a Math curriculum that was just too much. It was a lot of work, and demanded individual one-on-one with me for the entire lesson. There was no part of it that they could go work on at their desks in their rooms. Needless to say, with a 3-year-old also in the mix, something had to give!
I made the decision about 1 month in to switch curriculums for Math. Both kids are now relatively independent, only needing my coaching sometimes. This was what we needed!
Though I am sure many moms love creating their own lesson plans, that just wasn’t an option for us. We get the benefit of school at home, spending time together, and learning as a family – without the added burden on ME to reinvent the wheel!
For those who are really interested, here are the specifics of what we are doing this year:
History & Bible – Sonlight (American History 1)
Language and Reading – Sonlight (Language programs at their individual level)
Math – Teaching Textbooks
Science – Exploring Creation
Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears (Cursive)
Typing – typing.com
Music – private instrument lessons
Teach the kids independence as appropriate.
My kids love routine. They thrive on it. Which is funny, because my tendency is to rebel against routine as much as possible!
I have learned though that when my kids know “how things are going to go” during the day, everything goes so much more smoothly!
My big kids have learned their chore routine in the morning, and now can mostly do it without a reminder. My little one has learned that during Language time she gets a special box of toys to play with (that ONLY comes out during that time!)
These kind of routines have allowed my kids to accomplish things throughout the day without my constant guidance. Since there’s only one of ME, this is absolutely necessary in our household. And, the kids enjoy the chance to get to have some independence.
Get up earlier than the family.
This one may be a hard pill to swallow for some! I know that we are all wired differently, and have our best work time at different parts of the day. But for me, getting up early is a must.
There are two reasons for this.
First, I am a definite introvert who needs my space – especially first thing when I wake up. If I can wake up, have my own thoughts, and get a good cup of coffee before anyone is awake, I am a MUCH better mom!
Conversely, if I sleep in and from the minute my feet touch the floor I am managing kids and getting them breakfast, no matter how nice they may be acting – I have a hard time!
I know myself well enough to know that I need some time to myself.
Second, this is the time that I get the most work done on my business. There are no distractions; It’s just me, my computer and some coffee. I can Get. Things. Done.
Change up the school routine now and then.
I have found that taking some school work to the library can be just the boost we all need! Some subjects are better suited to this than others, but often-times it goes really, really well.
First, my kids are “in public.” (Funny how they won’t be sassy to me when we are at the library!) That alone makes school go much more smoothly.
Second, there are incentives all around us. “Let’s finish up our history, and then you can go check out books and movies!” “Finish your language assignment, then you can get a snack from the cafe!”
Also, when they are busy playing at the lego table, reading comic books, and hanging out for fun (seriously, our library has everything!), then I have a few quick minutes to work on my laptop or brainstorm some business things in a notebook.
Make a list of every tiny little business task. Fit them in here and there throughout the day.
This sounds scattered, and it probably is. But the truth is that there are lots of little things you need to do for your business on a daily basis that don’t require must concentration.
While my son is finishing his math, I can quickly respond to Instagram comments. While my daughter is reading her chapter book, I can post on Facebook for my business.
I have found that making a list (and usually it’s just the same daily list each day), then crossing them off as I go is very motivating. I will often get to the end of the school day and find most of my tasks crossed off!
Get your whole family on board.
Talk to your kids. Explain to them the business that you are building and why it’s important to you. Tell them what it will require of you and how excited you are to be creating it.
This allows your kids to understand when you need to step away and write a blog post, or when they see you working so feverishly on something you are trying to accomplish.
Also, I think we all wrestle with mom-guilt in some way! This can help alleviate that. For some reason, when my kids know what I’m doing and why I am doing it, I feel more freedom to work on my business.
Having the whole family supportive and on my side makes all the different in the world!
Plan with your spouse a couple of times per week that you can step away and work.
No doubt, it is FANTASTIC to step away and get some work done. I can get more done with 1 hour at the coffee shop than I can with 10 hours at home.
Now and then I have had “work nights.” Right after supper, my husband cleans up, hangs out with kids, and puts them to bed. I head to my computer and get some focused time.
You could hire a babysitter for one afternoon per week. I even have a friend that does a “kid swap.” One morning per week she has her sister’s kids over. Another morning that week, her kids go over to her sister’s.
Be creative. Think outside the box, and come up with a couple of times per week where you can focus and get some quality work done.
Whatever you are doing, Be All There.
When you are reading a book with your kids, be there. Turn off your phone and focus on their giggles.
On game night with the family, put phones on silent and laptops away. Be all there.
Also, when you step away and work for a bit, be there. Laser-focus on the tasks at hand.
This not only helps you to be more productive, but it helps to make family time really good. Being constantly distracted and thinking about the other things you should be doing is not thriving.
Thrive at home and also with your business.
Automate the boring stuff.
If you take a look at everything you do, chances are there are a lot of things you can automate and forget about.
How many bills can you have auto-withdraw? Paying bills is now done.
Amazon subscriptions are life. You can just set up to have dog food, vitamins, toilet paper and whatever else you use monthly automatically delivered to your house. No running around town shopping or spending mental energy remembering to make a list and purchase what’s needed.
Another great monthly subscription is Grove Collaborative. This company makes personal and household products that are all free of toxins. You set up your subscriptions and then it all just shows up at your door each month. Plus they often send some really fun freebies with your order!
(Interested in trying out Grove Collaborative? Use this link for a FREE 5-piece gift set!)
Walmart Grocery pickup and delivery is amazing. Honestly, I hadn’t grocery shopped at Walmart in forever until they rolled this out! Order groceries online and then you can just drive up and they load them in your car. For the same price as walking around the store and putting them in my cart myself! No brainer here.
I often tell my husband that if my business will afford me grocery delivery and a housekeeper (and maybe a weekly massage) then I. Will. Have. Arrived.
Have grace for yourself!
Lastly, give yourself some grace. Remember the reasons why you are doing the things you are doing.
One of the main reasons we are homeschooling is to have flexibility. To push hard when we want, and to relax when we don’t. We certainly aren’t homeschooling to be scheduled to death!
Also, the reason I am building my own business is to give our family freedom. Financially and also with our schedules and time.
I often won’t get the balances just right, but that’s where grace comes in.
And those are my top tips for some sanity in your homeschool and business-building routine. I would love to hear what else you would add!