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How to Balance Homeschooling and a Career as a Parent

Remember those well-meaning warnings we all heard before we decided to have kids: ‘You’ll have your hands full’; ‘You’ll never sleep the same’; ‘Say good-bye to your hobbies’. And maybe we thought that the warnings weren’t for us… And then along came the baby. And then another one. Juggling a career and family life is a reality for many of us. Whether you're a dual-working household, a single parent, or have one partner at home, let's face it: life with kids is a whole new ball game. But you can’t help but feel that your options for educating your children are limited when you have to juggle a career as well.

Parenthood is like being an acrobat on a high wire, balancing our old responsibilities with a hundred new, tiny, but mighty ones. And when you throw homeschooling into this colourful circus of life, it seems like waving goodbye to any scrap of free time. However, it doesn’t have to be all consuming. With a few easy to follow tips and tricks, homeschooling can be manageable and -dare we say it- enjoyable, even if you’re having to manage work deadlines and date nights too. 

1. Embrace a Flexible Routine

Notice I said 'routine' and not 'strict schedule.' Why? Because life happens! Kids get sick, work deadlines come up, or you just need an impromptu nature walk day. A routine allows you to have a structure without the pressure of a rigid timetable. Set aside blocks of time for different subjects and activities, but stay flexible. This way, if something unexpected pops up, you can shuffle things around without too much stress.

If you want to try and add some structure to your homeschool download our free homeschool schedule. In it you’ll find an example week and a blank editable copy so that you can make your own. We recommend writing one for your children and one for the parents too. That way you can have close to hand where everyone should be and everyone (parents and children alike) can understand what’s expected of them and when. 

2. Combine Learning with Daily Life

One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is how learning can blend seamlessly with daily life. Cooking can be a lesson in fractions. A trip to the grocery store can be a practical lesson in budgeting and nutrition. These real-life lessons save time and make learning more relevant and fun for your kids. Plus, it's a great way to tick off those daily tasks while educating.

3. Find Resources You Like and Stick with Them

It’s so tempting to look at those beautifully illustrated unit studies on Etsy and think that they’ll be your curriculum for the year. But choosing little bits here and there can be time-consuming for you and may leave gaps in your child’s knowledge that you didn’t foresee. Now we’re not saying downloading the occasional Duck workbook is a homeschooling sin, especially if you find one that is particularly geared towards an interest your child has, but it can be difficult to make these your bread and butter. 

It’s easier and simpler to find someone who has a thought out road map already in place and to piggyback on a tried and tested plan. This way you can be comfortable that the basics are covered and you’re not spending your evenings scrolling for a single worksheet.

Having said this, if you’re someone who thinks of pinterest as a second home go ahead and ignore this one, it’s not for you. But so many of us started homeschooling to spend more time with our children and find that searching for resources takes away from that. Eton Academy can offer self-study courses that take students through the whole year, preparing them for exams should they wish to take them. They are made so that your child can work independently or you can choose to do them together and maybe learn a thing or two as well. 

4. Set Aside Time for Yourself

This is non-negotiable. You need time to recharge. Whether it's a quiet coffee break, a jog around the block, or just sitting with a book, make sure you carve out some 'me-time.' You can't pour from an empty cup, and taking care of yourself is crucial for maintaining your energy and patience (lots of it is needed for homeschooling, right?).

5. Research Online Schooling

I know, I know. You’ve just pulled your child out of school, you’re not looking for another one. But many online schools can offer the perfect balance between schedule and flexibility. Live lessons mean that you can be working from home while your child is learning and you can be confident they’re getting the help and attention they need. Or opt for self-study courses as mentioned above; especially if you’re lucky enough to have flexible work hours. 

Not all online schools are made the same so do your research to find the one that suits you. Which Online School is a great place to start or contact us here to see how we can fit into your homeschool journey.

6. Connect with Other Homeschooling Parents

Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who gets it. Connecting with other homeschooling parents can be a lifeline. Share tips, resources, and sometimes just vent a little. You might even set up co-op days where you take turns teaching, giving each other a little break.

7. Utilise the village. 

It’s easy to say and feels impossible to do, but you shouldn’t be doing it alone. Whether your family fully supports your decision to homeschool or not they can still help day to day. If that’s taking the kids for an afternoon walk or watching them while you have that important presentation, live by the mantra ‘if you don’t ask for help, you won’t get it’. This doesn’t mean you're failing, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be homeschooling. It means your human. 

8. Remember, It's Okay Not to Do It All

Finally, be kind to yourself. You don't have to do it all, and it's okay to have off days. Homeschooling is a journey with ups and downs. Some days will feel harder than others, some days you’ll feel like a superhero. What really matters is that you’ve made a decision that’s right for your family.

Have you found a better way to balance? Has something saved your homeschool days? Why not share with us or the homeschooling community by commenting below. 

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