How To Homeschool & Run A Business
this question recently, and although I don’t have a magic answer for you, after years of homeschooling and running a business, I’ve found a way to make it work for us.
Creating A Schedule & A System
I LOVE having a schedule and using a calendar. I use it for accountability, to remind myself of what is important to me, so I don’t forget things, etc… I’m not sure how it’s possible to keep track of “all the things” without having a schedule and a calendar, and I think it’s important to note that it’s an innate part of my personality. It was also a vital part of keeping my sanity when I had up to 12 kids at home.
Systems make sense to me — figuring out your schedule, your needs, and how to “get there” is something I like to do. It also needs to be tweaked when things change, so don’t beat yourself up if you reevaluate regularly. Things for us change in the winter when Dane and I need to share a vehicle. They change during basketball season when we’re driving our daughter to practices and games for a couple of months. We have a system when I leave to attend a birth that’s different than when I’m scheduling prenatal and postpartum appointments.
To create a schedule, we looked at our lifestyle — going to the gym together — activities we wanted to participate in — the coop which is 2 Thursdays a month, basketball, my business, Dane’s work schedule, etc… I also asked other moms how they scheduled their time and got examples of how they structured their days. I used the calendar below (you can download it) to schedule our week and hung it on the fridge.
One thing to mention is that I’m a more “traditional” teacher. To determine what type of homeschooler you are, in Google, type in “what kind of homeschooler are you” and a lot of quizzes will come up. Dane and I both took these and it made a huge difference in our communication. Where he has more of an “unschooling” personality, and I am more traditional, we realized there were a lot of areas where we overlapped. Although he’s not at home DOING homeschooling, it was very helpful in our communication. It also helped me loosen up a bit, and he saw the value of more structure.
One big thing we decided to do is to go to a 4-day school week, which was one of the best decisions we’ve made! We take Thursdays off, since twice a month we go to our local coop. That’s also the day field trips are scheduled, and makeup work can be done. At the beginning of the 2022 school year, we started at 9 and since then have moved the schedule earlier so we get done sooner. This allowed me to have coffee meetings from 1:30–2:30 and get to the gym at 3 without an issue.
One thing that’s been important is to be FLEXIBLE and MOBILE. Although 95% of the time, we’re sitting at desks next to each other, or on the couch, or she’s using our bed as her reading nook, we get done on time, meetings are scheduled after school is finished, and the gym slot works out perfectly. When things don’t align like the calendar shows they should, I needed a system so the rest of our lives don’t go off the rails.
We complete the subjects that use the computer first. Math and Language Arts are both done on the laptop. We can take it with us, it’s just easier not to, so we get those out of the way first, and if we are on the go, it’s easy to pack the rest in a backpack. Our daughter is old enough to be alone, I just don’t WANT to leave her home to do school by herself, so being mobile is important to me. Business meetings aren’t always at 1:30, so sometimes I take her to coffee shops or meetings. If she’s not finished with school we bring the last of her schoolwork with us, and we head straight to the gym from there.
Also, I try to remember to make this time fun.
Running A Business
I’m a doula, and I schedule 2 prenatal, and 2 postpartum appointments for each client (4 clients per month). These are easy to work around homeschool and do later in the day. They take 90 minutes each, so I need to be selective of the days and times I schedule. Thursdays when we don’t have school, and Fridays when the gym is closed and we use the treadmill at home are the best days for those appointments. Births can’t be planned — when they happen or how long they take — so we have a system for that as well. Depending on when I get called she stays at home or we have homeschool friends with kids our daughter’s age and a family member we can bring her to. She schools with them and I check it later.
To stay organized, I use google calendar on my phone and my computer, and I also add calendars and color code them (like the homeschool coop) when possible. THIS IS WHAT I USE THE MOST!
I pay for a calendar (Acuity) that syncs with my google calendar. This might seem like an extra thing I don’t need, however, if a doula client needs to meet with me virtually via video, I have a link. It also absolutely streamlines everything about my podcast (which is a different post, but just ask if you’re interested). It’s worth it for those two reasons — I can set it and forget it, and it links to Google as well as Zoom. Acuity has customization features for when an outside person needs to make an appointment. I don’t need to directly communicate outside of sending a link, so it takes zero time for me, and the questions I program into the system give me all the information I need when it’s time for the scheduled appointment.
I also have a written calendar that I carry with me. I use that as a calendar that I can write in when I’m visiting with clients. First, it gives me the space I need to write, and second, it seems rude to me if I took notes on my phone. I also use it for my Bible study, goals, future plans, things I’m working on personally, etc… This is my journal for everything, and I only add due dates to my google calendar from here.
The Miscellaneous Tasks
Then there are all the miscellaneous tasks that we need to get done, some of which aren’t on the calendar.
- down time
- unexpected tasks or events
Since my daughter is in 7th grade, I don’t need to sit right with her all day. I DO sit next to her often (I’m writing this post for example), for zoom meetings, my podcast, writing, emails, reading, social media, etc… I also get cleaning, cooking, laundry, and even some shows on rehabbing houses in the time she’s doing school. She also has some of those tasks when school is done, as well as cleaning her bedroom and bathroom areas as part of her morning routine. Basically, I fit all the extras in the cracks of our day and do some extra deep cleaning and food prep on the weekends.
Hopefully, this is helpful if you’re considering homeschooling your kids, or need ideas on how to run a business and homeschool. Let me know in the comments how you balance it all!