As an entrepreneur, mother of five, and home educator, I have a lot to juggle. And quite often I get asked by fellow women and moms how I “do it all”. To be honest that question makes me kind of cringe. Why? Because I promise you, I am not “doing it all”. And is anyone really? I think it’s easy to assume that everyone else has it all together, but we have to remember that we are all doing the best we can and we all have different circumstances. I wanted to make sure and share with you how I manage homeschooling while running a business in hopes that you may find a nugget of inspiration or a tool that could help you!
With five kiddos, educating four of them, running a business (okay, two!), as well as keeping up with the everyday to-do’s, life things can get pretty hectic depending on the day. I definitely don’t get it perfect all the time. However, there are a few things and tools that I have implemented that have absolutely been the reason I am able to stay organized, maximize the time I have, as well as be as productive as possible.
Friend, you are your child’s best teacher. You know them inside and out. You know their personality and the approach they need. And instead of questioning yourself, question the system that made you doubt your divine abilities to teach your child in the first place. You can do this.
Homeschooling your child is one thing. Working full time/running a business AND homeschooling is another. I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot but it is not impossible! There will be sacrifices that have to be made along the way and those will be different for each of us. There will be evenings that you are snuggled up after dinner to finish up science for the day. However, it’s a marathon. And we will never regret the time and energy we put into our children as mothers.
Your work schedule may have to adjust. Perhaps your kids’ schedule may have to adjust. It is completely normal that your family will work through different options and settle into what works best for you and your situation. We have days where we don’t begin our home studies until after morning meetings and conference calls. We have other days where I start home studies in the morning, we break so I can tend to work priorities, and then we can back at it after lunch and nap time. And some days my workload is light and we spend the day together reading more books, or we pull out the art supplies, or get lost in puzzles. Other days? We hold home studies off to the late afternoon and evening so I can put out whatever fires popped up for the day. Be flexible and have patience. The way you approach how you manage running a business and homeschooling will look different to someone else. And that is perfectly OK!
The fact that you are even reading this and contemplating homeschooling your child or if you have already jumped in means that you were in a position to do so. You have the opportunity to take this on and that is an amazing thing. Not every mother can customize her work to fit this in and not every family is in a position to take this on. Remember that, even on your hardest days, the opportunity to take this on is an incredible blessing. And walking with the gratitude will put you in the best frame of mind to do the incredible work of educating your children.
Okay, so let’s dive into the nitty-gritty. I have found the following tools and habits to make the biggest difference as I juggle all things and how I manage homeschooling my kids while running a business.
Having a solid morning routine completely changed my ability to function at a higher level. This was difficult to adjust because I am a solid night owl and loved my hours alone to create, brainstorm, and accomplish. But by simply swapping my evening hours for morning hours it means that I am getting better sleep (yay for health) along with getting started on the day to properly approach what I need to for the kids.
My morning routine begins anywhere from 5:00 AM and 6:00 AM (depending on if I had any little ones climb into bed with me the night before – wink!).
One habit that changed the game was giving myself one solid hour before I even look at my phone. It’s about taking care of myself before I let the outside world in. Keeping my phone away for that first hour of the day sets the tone. It allows me to be in complete control.
The very first thing I do when I wake up is pray and dive into the scriptures. This really helps me to fill my cup, get my mind right, and take care of myself in order to accomplish everything throughout each day.
I also get fully ready. If you are feeling sluggish during the days or lacking energy and you are hanging out in your sweats, this might be an area to adjust. Simply being ready, having makeup on, and my hair done makes me feel so much more put together. Working from home is still working. Put effort into the things you would normally. Just as your employer would expect it, you should expect it for yourself. You wouldn’t do it if you worked for someone else. You don’t do it when you work for you. Watch your productivity change, my friend.
After that initial hour, I then head to my desk and work as efficiently as I can until kids are up and have eaten breakfast. I am usually able to fit in about 2-3 solid hours of work before mixing in our home studies.
This is something I implemented several years ago and have adjusted to best fit my needs. There was never a planner out there that allowed me to do what I wanted to do. Or that catered to my specific needs and what I had to organize. So, I started researching ideas and came across the bullet journal system, an analog method created by Ryder Carroll. My interest was peaked, but I knew that the original and more involved method of how to do this was not for me.
So I started tweaking, adjusting, and really figuring out how to make it work for me. And I finally settled into a routine. I originally shared a peek into my method back in 2016. And since then I have heard from countless people how much they have loved a more simple approach to the paper and pen-style of organizing to-dos. A newer video is on its way as I have adjusted things over time, but this will give you a really great look into how I am tackling it.
My bullet journal is something I am looking at every day. I update it every evening and make adjustments where needed as well as take it with me everywhere. It tracks my to-do’s, my appointments, deadlines, everything. I love that it doubles as a place to record thoughts and jot down notes as they come to me. And it is just a simple notebook I came across at Target (and have obsessively purchased one each trip since to ensure I am never without it). Seriously considering making my own one of these days!
To go along with this, I also utilize the idea of block scheduling to help me stay on track during my working hours. Game changer!
Currently working on an updated post about this as I have made changes over time so keep an eye out – it’s coming soon!
We lovingly refer to homeschooling as “hack schooling” in our home. This is a printable planner page I shared last year when I gave a look inside our homeschool curriculum and flow. I have a habit of creating and designing tools that I wish already existed. And then I share it with y’all so you can enjoy too! Or at least I hope you do – wink!
I was originally using this digitally on my iPad. However, the kids told me that they enjoy seeing the daily run-down of what needs to get done. Now I print off five copies every Sunday (that’s my homeschool planning day) and simply add them to a clipboard for the kids to access throughout the week.
We have a specific system we use that involves a weekly scripture, quote, and word that the kids work on learning and memorizing. Along with that, I can also break down the studies for each of the kids and even the work they do to pitch in on keeping our household running smoothly. You can get more info on all of this over on this post if you want to implement the same thing in your home.
It’s extremely simple, but I love having a specific place to gather all of the details for our weekly home studies. And to help all five of us stay on track with what needs to be done! You can download this same printable for yourself right here!
As a working mom, I cannot yell from the rooftops any louder how much we love The Good and The Beautiful. We have actually never used any other curriculum so I can’t speak too in-depth of other options out there, but The Good and The Beautiful truly makes it possible for me to be both educator and business owner. And no, I am not sponsored by them in any way or get kickbacks. We just truly love the product they have created.
The courses are beautifully laid out and the lessons are set up in a way that allows you to open the coursebook and follow along – whether you are teaching a younger child or it is an older student working through it independently. It is Christian based and nothing gives me more comfort as a mother than to see my children dive into wholesome and family-friendly curriculum.
While I do make sure and take a peek at lessons for the week ahead to see what supplies I might need (conveniently listed at the top of each lesson), I really don’t so much more prep work between that and setting up our daily hack plans. Absolutely heaven-sent and takes so much off my plate!
Oh, for the love of all that is organization. For my fellow content creators and bloggers, this one is specifically for you. The Blog Planner has a special place in my heart. It has been a product that I originally created five years ago. Since that time, I have worked endlessly in perfecting and infusing as much value as I can into it. Why? Because there is SO much to handle as a content creator! So much that it makes your head spin. From planning and scheduling to creating shot lists for photoshoots. Working through SEO needs that are specific to the content, as well as tracking growth, what areas need more attention, etc. I could go on and on, but I will stop there.
The Blog Planner is what I use to manage all things business and it works alongside my bullet journal beautifully. It has proved to be the best approach I have ever found to organize everything needed as a blogger and content creator. This year I am using the digital version from my iPad, but of course there is a printable version as well for my pen and paper gals out there!
If you are wanting to grab it for yourself and experience a more organized, efficient, and productive year, you can find out more here!
Those are the main habits and tools I have in place to accomplish all the things and how I manage homeschooling while running a business. Do we have our off days? Absolutely. And there are days that we all wake up and we are just not feeling it. But that is the magic of homeschooling and the time freedom that comes with it. If the weather is great and we are dying to get outside, we will go for a hike or exploring. And if there is a Saturday that has us inside because of storms, it’s the perfect time to tackle some home studies. It’s flexibility and freedom at its finest and for families who are wanting a better fit for themselves and lifestyle, I can’t think of anything better.
Q: What did you wish you knew when you started that you know now?
That it takes time to figure out what works best for you, your family, and each individual child and how they learn best. We used to try and gather everyone up at the table to do school altogether at the same time. Now? My day is sprinkled with one-on-one time for each of my kids to work through english and math, but then we tackle subjects like history and science all together.
Q: What activities do the kids do when you are not doing school?
There is always someone doing home studies so the other kids are expected to entertain our youngest. So they use that time to tackle their chores or they do art projects or they play outside. We do allow screen time because some days just call for it, however, our kids are not on social media and they are not allowed access to anything that allows chat outside of texting their personal contacts. I have previously shared the apps and websites we allow them to enjoy and they also love making movies!
Q: What are your most-used supplies?
Without a doubt things like glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, and handwriting paper. Outside of your typical supplies like that, I have collected a lot that we love incorporating over on my Amazon affiliate page here.
Q: How do you balance more than one student?
We take turns and I will pull one of the kids that don’t seem too involved in an activity. If they are in the middle of crafting or building a fort, I will give them a few minutes before having them come to sit to do one of their subjects. And my entire day is work and homeschool. So I will pull one child for English after they finish breakfast, then another after that for their math, while I send another one off to get their reading done. It’s an all-day balance of work and homeschool, work and homeschool. That way works for us. It’s not for everyone though. I know many homeschool parents that prefer doing it all in one large chunk of time and after 2-4 hours they are done for the day. Because I have so many students and at different levels, it works better for me to divide it up throughout the day.
Q: How do you handle planning and how do you know you are on track?
This is going to be different for everyone as well. With the curriculum we chose there is very minimal planning on my part which is so helpful. Obviously, if I see a child struggling in an area I might find more activities for us to do to help them through it. Or if I see a child take an interest in something I will find a way for us to conquer that. For instance, our oldest became fixated on learning Swedish so after he stuck with free resources for 100 solid days, we took the jump into Rosetta Stone for him. Our oldest daughter, Blake, is extremely artistic and she was interested in learning the digital aspects of things. So she is enjoying multiple courses through Skillshare to learn Photoshop.
As far as knowing if you are on track of not, I would first say that homeschooling is not government education. For instance, at 5 and 6 years old kids start Kindergarten and are expected to be reading by the end of the school year. This is because you have a classroom of 30+ kids so students need to be able to read and be more independent to provide instruction for a classroom that large. Actually, the natural age a child reads is between 7 and 8. We have just been conditioned to think that it’s earlier. Homeschool also goes at a different pace and isn’t structured as “grade levels”. If you want to learn more about this concept, I would highly suggest the following books: Dumbing Us Down and Weapons of Mass Instruction. Definitely eye-opening!
However, if you are only homeschooling temporarily or would feel more comfortable being on track with your local schools, you can absolutely access the annual overview and instructional layout from your district. This will provide you with what the students will be covering and learning for that specified school year. I did this after we moved from Phoenix to Nashville because we hadn’t yet decided if we were going to stick with homeschooling or go back to public school.
Whew! That was a lot so if you made it this far, we are pretty much BFF’s. I do hope this look into how we tackle it in our home and how I manage homeschooling while running a business was helpful. Any questions? I would love to hear from you and answer what I can! Leave them for me below!