Can a Work at Home Mom Also Home School Her Children?
This question was raised a few weeks ago in a support/mentoring group that I’m part of, for online marketers. One of the moms in the group earns her living at home and was beginning to consider home schooling. She was concerned that she would either have to allow her business to suffer or maybe not do a very good job with home schooling.
I thought about her question and sent her my best answer. I wonder; with more moms working from home and more families home schooling, how many other moms might be asking the same question?
Maybe you’re one of those moms, wondering if it could work for you. But you don’t know who to ask because you don’t really know anyone who is doing both. I’d like to offer my thoughts on the subject. I’m a home schooling mom and a work-at-home mom, so I’ve got a little bit of perspective.
For the most part, my answer to the question “Can a work-at-home-mom also home school her children?” is yes. There are actually many moms doing that very thing, quite successfully. Many of them work in the homeschool market while some of them do something totally unrelated to home schooling.
It works for other people, how do I know if it will work for me?
It will depend to some degree on the nature of your business. If you truly work at home and not just from home, it will be easier to make it work.
The extent to which you can successfully work from home and home school will depend on the dynamics of your situation. There are some variables that will make it easier to do both.
- If you are completely in control of your work schedule; very little to no work that has to be done at a specific time or “live”.
- If your children can adapt to a schedule and be taught the boundaries of your work-time.
- If your business can be slowed down just a little while you get acclimated to home schooling.
- If you are willing to be mentored in both.
- If you are willing to let go of perfection but also be ready to work harder and smarter than you ever have before.
- If your husband is supportive of both, even to the point of being willing to help around the house, with the business, or with some aspects of the home schooling. Even if he can’t help, his emotional support will go a long way toward helping you succeed.
- If you believe in what you’re doing and enjoy it.
What are some benefits to doing both?
I personally think that by working from home as well as educating your children at home, you have the opportunity to give your children a well-rounded, personal, and useful education. You are living out your life with them by your side. You can use this experience to teach your children many things, including;
- The value of entrepreneurialism (and if you’re brave you can teach them how to spell it)
- Time management skills
- Work ethic; from watching you, helping with the business, and keeping up with their education
- Some elements of the business itself if the children are old enough to get involved
- The power of having a dream and working to see it come true
- The value of knowing and using your gifts
Do you have any tips that might help us succeed?
Notice I said “us”. You won’t have much success if you try to keep your business separate from your family life. There will be times that your children will interrupt your work. There will be times when your work will interrupt what you’re needing to do with your children. If you are constantly at odds, trying to keep everything in a nice tidy box, you will be frustrated. You will need to develop a habit of flexibility.
I personally have to “switch gears” many times in one day just to keep things rolling in the different areas of my life. The more comfortable you can become with allowing the different roles you play to intertwine, the more you will be able to accomplish.
Here are some other ideas that may be helpful;
- You may have to tighten up your work schedule. If you’re used to having most of the day to work while the kids are at school, you may not be working as “smart” as you could be. You’ll need to be more intentional with your work time and more determined to be productive when you do take time to work on your business.
- Implement some basic systems that will help you keep your home and family running smoothly. I would start with meal planning, chore scheduling, and saying goodbye to the TV. (more ideas here)
- Reduce the amount of time you spend away from the house. You will be involved in two full-time ventures that are based in your home. It will be difficult to find the rhythm you need if you are gone too often.
- Get the kids involved. Whatever their ages, find a way for them to “help”. Even if it isn’t really helping, you’ll be developing a cooperative atmosphere in your home. When you need them to give you some grace (and quiet) so you can do a special project, they will feel like they are part of what you’re doing and be more willing to help.
- Give some thought to the different tasks involved in your business. What things are you good at? What things do you really enjoy? If you can, focus on doing those things and outsource (pay someone else to do) the rest. It makes more sense to pour yourself into what you’re good at and pay someone else to do the things you don’t enjoy.
- The same idea holds true for home schooling. Decide what things are most important for your child to learn and what things you will enjoy teaching. “Outsource” some of the other things by signing up for co-ops, tutorials, or even online classes. (more on that here)
- Know that “balance” does not mean that you spend the same amount of time on each area of your life each day. Doing big things means sometimes giving more attention to one area of you life than the others. It’s an ebb and flow. One day (or week) you may have to work extra on a project for work. Later you might have to let work coast for a while so you can plan out your school year. It doesn’t mean you abandon all else, it just means that some areas will be more intense than others at different times. If you are careful, it all balances out over time. Just don’t let those times of intensity go on too long to the point of the other areas suffering.
So, are you thinking about being a work-at- home, home schooling mom? What other questions or concerns do you have? I’d love to help you explore this idea in the comments below.
Thanks for letting me explore this question. I’ll be back next week with another question for you.
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