Finding balance as a work-at-home homeschooling mom

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Written by LaToya Edwards

I never planned to homeschool my children. In fact until I got pregnant with my oldest I’d never even heard the word.

I also didn’t plan on being a single mom. But as the time came to make school decisions I ultimately settled on homeschooling as what was best for my family.

It was not an easy choice. And everyone around me thought that I was crazy! How in the world was I going to homeschool as a single mom?

It took a lot of trial and error but I was able to find a way to make it work, including affording to be home, paying the bills, and getting the curriculum that we needed each year.

Homeschooling and being a work-at-home mom has really stretched me.

In the beginning, I struggled to manage all the different roles and responsibilities. But I have learned a few things that have helped me to find some sort of balance and sanity in it all.

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If you are a single homeschooling parent who is thinking about (or currently working from home) I have a few tips to share with you.

These are also great for any mom who is looking to add to the family income by working from home:

1. Have clear priorities.

I remember when I first started working from home it was a disaster. I was always behind on something. My house would be a mess, but I’d have a really productive work week. All of our lessons would be completed, but I would have a pile of work that I hadn’t looked at even once that week.

I knew that I could not go on like this, so I sat down to write out my priorities. For me my family will always come before work. It’s a choice I made as a single mom and one I stick to now that I’m remarried with a baby on the way.

For me, my main job is being a wife and a mom. Any work that needs to be done will have to be worked around my family, not the other way around.

2. Create a schedule or routine and stick to it!

Once I had my priorities in order I set out to create a schedule that would allow me to homeschool, work, and take care of my home and family. It wasn’t easy. I ended up realizing that I had more on my plate than I could possibly manage, but was able to create a schedule that works for us.

After my morning routine I spend my mornings in mommy mode. I get up, fix breakfast and we do our homeschool lessons.

After lunch my boys are off for quiet time and free play for the afternoon. This gives me a few hours each day to get some work done.

I usually try to play a game with my boys after those working hours to reconnect and relax.

The rest of the day (until bedtime) is family time. I do my best not to work unless absolutely necessary.

Once my boys go to bed I have a few options: finish chores, work a little, relax, spend time with my hubby or go to bed early. Usually it’s a combination. I’m usually only working during this time if I have a deadline or special projects.

3. Ask for help when you need it.

This is a hard one for me. For some reason I like to think that I can do it all! Truth is that I can’t.

One thing that has been really helpful for me, especially when I’m working on a project, is having someone take my boys for a few hours so I can laser focus.

My hubby is really good about taking them to the park or the pool for a few hours so I can work, rest or catch up on housework.

I have a friend who is happy to take the boys to play at her house so I can work. And I also try to take advantage of the free time when my boys are visiting with their dad.

4. If you can afford to hire help, do it!

I’m not there yet, but I look forward to the day I can hire an assistant to help with some of my blogging tasks so I can work on other things or have more time for my family.

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5. Take care of yourself.

Self-care is so important, but it’s also something that most moms struggle with. Wearing so many hats (mom, wife, teacher and business woman) is a great way to burn yourself out.

We have to make sure that we have time for ourselves, moms: a few minutes in the morning to read the Bible and pray, or half an hour each day to read a book, or sit on the couch and close your eyes for a few minutes.

Taking care of yourself will help you be the best mom, wife, homeschooler and business woman that you want to be.

Be sure to grant yourself a lot of grace.

I have made many mistakes in the past and I’m sure that I have more coming. But if I can remember not to beat myself up over the little things I can continue to move forward.

Do you work from home? Or are you a single parent who is homeschooling? What tips would you share?

About LaToya Edwards

LaToya is the author of Beautifully Broken: Finding Joy and Purpose in the Pain. Ten years ago she traded in a law degree to homeschool her children and be home full-time to serve her family. She’s also a recovering perfectionist and control freak who loves old movies, good books and strawberry Häagen-Dazs® ice cream. Through trials of divorce, depression, death and more she has learned how to find joy in motherhood and broken circumstances. Read more from LaToya on her blog.

Comments

  1. This is helpful, practical and reaffirming. Thank you!

  2. It was great to read this post. I’m currently a working mom of two considering homeschooling. I have the option of transitioning my full-time, in-office job into a more flexible work from home arrangement, but I’ve been worried about how it will all work if I have to wear all of those hats at home. But this article was very helpful. I’ll keep it handy as a reminder for when we start the move to homeschooling. Thanks.

  3. Thank you, thank you for having this blog! I’ve been a physician for 13 yrs and my friends and family thought I was nuts to give up medicine in order to homeschool, especially after just establishing our nonprofit 30acre retreat center for inner city low income churches! However, Christ was clear about His calling and reading your blog gives me hope!! Thank you!!

  4. These are great tips! I’m currently trying to find the balance between working, being a wife, and being a homeschooling mom. It’s tough! But its totally possible. If I’m not on schedule I’m a complete mess. Routine and schedule is key for me! Thanks for sharing these tips!
    Jenn Roberts’s latest post: How to Make Learning Fun in Your Homeschool When You Really Need a Break

  5. Writing that schedule and sticking to it has been the biggest help for me. Now that my kids can do some (for one) or almost all (the other) work on their own, I’ve found I can sneak some work in while they are working too. It helps a lot that we have one communal office. Great tips. Thanks for the additional ideas!
    HeatherAnne @ Foofy * Not Foofy’s latest post: Cover Reveal: The Falling of the Moon by A.E. Decker

  6. This was amazing to read in the season I am in. I am a strong woman, and rely on God daily for my strength. He has always gotten me through. I have had many overwhelming days lately. I know it is just a season though. I am a single mother that has no family help. I work from home, homeschool my three children, and take care of my elderly grandmother (she lives with me). When I read this today I realized I am not the only single mother doing this. I am always putting myself last. I discovered I need to change this soon. I also liked the starting a routine (and stick to it). Thank you for writing this. I am so glad to know I am not the only one!

  7. Hey Latoya! What an encouragement you are to me. I too am a single homeschooling mom and I just started a blog for single moms. Thanks for sharing your heart and experiences. May God continue to bless you!♡

  8. I really need to be able to find that balance as well….my job has set hours from midnight to 8 am 4 days a week. And then my boys are up and ready to start the day at 8:30am. We usually finish all of their school lessons by 2pm. Then we all work together to get chores completed,on our small farm,before dinner time. I don’t have anyone to help me, no neighbors,no friends to take the boys. So we have literally fall into bed after a little family time,movie or game included at 10 pm and then I start all over again at Midnight. Getting my bills organized has been a nightmare. I have a system but finding the time to work on getting them paid,and the checkbook statement in order etc…falls to Sunday after church.and I start work at 7 pm that evening. I find myself crying in the shower and into my pillow every single day. My faith wavering…Ita good to know that I’m not the only one trying to do this. I do this for them,because it’s the right thing.I know sending them to public school would make things so much easier for us all….but I cannot give my boys over to a system so full of problems I cannot even begin to list. Thanks for sharing your strategies! I am A mom determined!

  9. Thanks for posting this, unfortunately we are not all living on one income and cannot be the devoted teacher mom all week long, and actually, that’s so boring for this momma to think about. I work so we can have a little extra money and so that I stay current in my field. I love homeschooling and watching my kids succeed but we all have some bending to do when mom works. Everyone helps around the house, and this fall my kids will have to work independently for 3 days a week. I used to work weekends but have resigned family time long enough and am taking a day position from my house 8-4. My oldest can homeschool herself and her ethic is strong, my son on the other hand, he’s a mover and shaker and anything that gleams or glistens or whistles or spins distracts him greatly. He needs a little reigning in sometimes. He is doing better, but for his situation we may end up doing more focused work and learning in the evening. I am really nervous about this transition but I feel it can be done!

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