Tips for Working at Home WHILE Homeschooling

Ever since we started homeschooling about 10 years ago, I’ve worked at home. When we made the decision to homeschool, I was a principal at a local private school. I love working in schools, and I love making a difference in children’s lives. However, seeing my own children sacrifice things to attend school, made me realize that they are my number one priority and that I needed to make a difference in their lives first!

However, working at home and homeschooling is never a breeze. There is always some type of major incident, someone who needs help with math, a dog that thr   ows up in the floor, or a drink that has been spilled on a math paper… there is always something. Yet, that’s part of the “wonder” of raising children. I know that one day I will miss all the little catastrophes that each day brings in the life of a child. In the meantime, I’ve learned some survival skills that really do help to make working at home a little less crazy.

1) Review your responsibilities – eliminate the things that are not NECESSARY. Which means – prioritize your life!

2) Establish a schedule, and use planning resources. I often print out about 6 months of calendars and post them on the fridge. We write all over them. With six kids, there is always a scheduling issue, and this common calendar does help. I also use Google Calendars and thanks to my friend Kerry – I have set up text alert notifications as well as email notifications of each event on my calendar. This is definitely a huge help – it reminds me every day of the upcoming tasks that I need to complete.

3)Anticipate change, life happens! Of course, right after I tell you to establish a schedule – I tell you to break it. LOL!! Really, the schedule is there more “as a guideline.” If have a basis, and your children get used to it, it really is easier to go about your day. Especially if you are distracted by something regarding work – the kids are in the habit of following their schedule.

4)Use a homeschool curriculum that enables you to work while they are learning. An intensive curriculum that requires a lot of teaching might not be a good choice for someone who has to work everyday. There are tons of great resources out there that really help make it easy to work and homeschool, from online spelling program s, video courses, and high quality online curriculum. We tend to use an eclectic mix of them all!

5) Use downtime like breakfast and lunch to catch up on work tasks, and make phone calls while the kids are busy and engaged with something. I find it is useful to have a “talk” with them before I actually make the call. They understand why they have to be quiet for a few minutes.

6) Use your kiddos to help you work. I love to include my family in as much as I can. So, if the opportunity ever arises I try to get them involved in what I do.

7) Organize your homeschool and work area to facilitate efficiency. I have found that keeping my kiddos stuff in “workboxes” or those craft drawers. This help s them keep all of their school stuff in one place, and in order. I don’t have to look for missing school books everyday. Keeping it in one localized area helps alot! (See #10)

8) Use automated record keeping or keep school records on the computer. I know the online curriculum that we use has an automated record keeping system that really makes this easy!

9) Schedule fun things into the day. I have found that my kids love art and music. However, I have realized that it is one of those things we will always skip if we run out of time. Make it part of your weekly schedule and it will happen!

10) Have a dedicated area for homeschool. I find that this is one of the most important things for me. Homeschooling and working is stressful, but wonderful. If I can close the door and leave that area, it makes me feel as if I have “gone home” from work and can relax.



Our 10 Best Homeschool Posts of 2013

It is so hard to believe that it is already the middle of January! Time really flies! To summarize our year of homeschooling in 2013, I thought I would share our best posts! We’ve posted on everything from a weather lesson to High School homeschooling and everything in between! Since, it’s easy to move on and forget exactly what we covered over time I thought it would be nice to have a little reminder! If you have an all time favorite post – I would love for you to vote for it in the comments below!

1) Pain Free Math for Homeschool Highschoolers

2) Homeschooling the Big Family – Just a Few Tips

3) Getting Your Students Writing

4) Using Games to Motivate

5) Top 6 Ways to Organize Your Homeschool

6) Learning History with Summer Exploration

7) Express Yourself

8) Writing for Early Learners

9) Making Independent Learners

10) Homeschool Sports and Special Needs

Making the Most of Life’s Interruptions…

homeschoolI love being organized, getting the job done right, and feeling like I’ve accomplished something. Yet, sometimes life just happens and I can’t get to anything that I need to do. This goes against everything that I’m made of. Whether it’s doctors appointments or special meetings, when life interrupts homeschool it can be frustrating, but going with the flow is about the only way to make it without going crazy.

It took me a long while to accept this thinking, and for many years I would get stressed out. Trying to accomplish everything was impossible. Yet, accepting that I couldn’t get it done felt like I was giving in. I finally had to make myself see that homeschooling is freedom in education. Though we have goals and standards we shouldn’t feel like we have to homeschool a certain way. Sure we have things to complete and do… Yet the blessing of homeschooling is that you choose when and where you do it.

When interruptions plague your day, turn to mobile apps, literature games online, or math games that the kids can take along. If you are too sick or too preoccupied to school on the go… Just postpone your homeschooling day. Do school on Saturday if you must. Whatever you do…don’t let the interruption get you down… Be flexible and enjoy life even with its interruptions!

10 Homeschool Organization Tips… part 1

Wow… I can’t believe that it is already the middle of July. This summer is flying by… hmmm… Time flies when you’re having fun is sooo true!

But the stark truth is that school  IS around the corner, and even though we have the right to determine when we go back… it will come eventually. That’s why every good homeschooler knows to use the summer as a preparation time. Time to research new curriculum, time to gather supplies, and even time to reorganize. Yes, I am trying to enjoy my summer, get refocused, and inspired during our family’s summer hiatus… but I know I also have to use my time wisely. Here are a few tips for getting your homeschool organized and ready to roll come fall…

1) Go through your existing curriculum… if there is some you know you won’t ever use, sell it on ebay. This is great for making room for curriculum that you will use and benefit from!

2) Go through your supplies and your children’s schooling area. In our family we use “tubs” like little lockers for all their “stuff.” Needless to say, these tubs get very disorganized and well… filled with plain old junk! I go through them and see what supplies the kids have that are useful and what I need to buy for fall.

3) Organize your school area to maximize learning. Think about how your family learns. Are they visual learners, auditory learners… set up your school room to reflect this. Also, it is a proven fact that children learn better in rooms that are NOT CLUTTERED. Clutter is a distraction and as we all know – children do not need to be distracted! 😉

4) Review last year, take a look at how the children achieved, review what worked what didn’t, and map out a plan of improvement for the coming year. Did your kids struggle with homeschool math or math vocabulary? Begin a search for a better curriculum. Do they have any gaps? Find a means of filling those gaps, and make a list of what you need to do that.

5) Begin to purchase any “new curriculum” you need from the list you made. Amazon, ebay, and other used book websites are super for gathering homeschool texts at a discounted price!