Working and Homeschooling: The Great Balancing Act

Two years ago, my kids were in public school. My freelance/blogging career was just taking off, and I was looking forward to my son going to school full days, so I would have all day to work and keep the house clean. Well, as my aunt says, we plan and God laughs. The following year I pulled my kids out of school to homeschool them, and we will be continuing with homeschooling in the foreseeable future.

The balancing act a working/homeschooling mom has to do is incredible. Even though I have the flexibility of working from home, I still find I don’t have enough time to do it all. When work and school are going well, the house is falling apart. If I have the house cleaned up, either it’s because we haven’t been schooling or I’m way behind on work deadlines. I have learned that I cannot, in fact, do it all. But I still try.

Even if the work/homeschool/housekeeping balance is never perfect, I have come up with a few ways to make our lives a bit easier.

Have a Routine

I find if I don’t schedule time for each task I need to do, the tasks don’t get done. Therefore, we have something of a schedule. First thing in the morning we all wake up and spend some individual time with God. I find that helps us all to have better attitudes, if the day gets overwhelming.

Next up is breakfast and getting ready for school. I drive Stargirl to band, come home, and get most of Bug’s schoolwork out of the way. When Stargirl gets home, if she needs any assistance from me, we get it done as soon as possible.

The afternoons are reserved for activities and cleaning the house. I know that three days a week I have time to clean, but Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually busy, so I don’t plan on doing much those days. To make cleaning a little bit easier, I use the Motivated Moms. checklist. That way I don’t have to decide what to do. I just look at the list and do it.

Evenings are reserved for family time, and I generally write after everyone is in bed. That’s also when I plan the school day.

Give Children Some Responsibility

As my children grow, they are more and more responsible for helping around the house, as well as studying more independently. At this point, most of Stargirl’s work is independent, save for some discussion time with me. Fortunately, she’s pretty self-motivated, so I can count on her to do her daily school work.

Both kids help with the chores. They are responsible for their own rooms, as well as other tasks around the house. Stargirl wipes down the bathroom each morning, while Bug starts the laundry. And I usually assign them items off the Motivated Moms. checklist as well.

I couldn’t work and homeschool without the support of my family. With everyone pitching in, though, the challenge isn’t as daunting.

Lower Expectations

I’m a perfectionist by nature. I want to have perfectly educated children, a perfectly clean house, and perfect work that is turned in on time. In reality, that’s never going to happen. The kids will have gaps in their educations (hopefully small gaps). My house is never going to be perfectly clean. And I frequently miss days of blogging.

That’s OK. I’m only human. It’s OK to cut myself some slack and lower my expectations.

I’m sure I could spend the next 10 years striving to find a perfect balance between working and homeschooling. But for now, I’m going to settle for good enough.