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Working + Homeschooling

The Workbook

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Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Meeting the Challenge of Working and Homeschooling

I am always amazed at the response I get when I tell people I homeschool and work outside
the home. The puzzled looks, the shock, the look of amazement. I get it, I really do.

Just like most homeschoolers fighting for a day actually at home. I am not only not home, but I
am not even with my kids.

When I first decided to tackle this job of balancing the two, I was overwhelmed and terrified.

Everyone kept telling me what I was attempting to do was impossible. The more doubt they
expressed the more I began to believe them. After all, they were putting a “voice” to my
deepest fears.

Looking back, I realize it was fear that paralyzed me and stopped me from moving forward.
Today I want to relieve you from the dread, the overwhelm, and fear of homeschooling and

You can do both. This workbook is designed to help you cut through the noise and find a path
that works for you and your family in your journey to balance homeschool and work.
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Steps to tackling the challenge of balancing

both homeschool and working

Step 1. Realize it is possible

Don’t you hate being told something you want to do, you need to do, is impossible? Think of all
the everyday products we use that are a result of someone doing the impossible.

You are not alone, there are many moms who not only homeschool, but work. I have an entire
blog series dedicated to chatting with these moms.

Some of the jobs they juggle while homeschooling are:

• Business owners
• Working outside the home
• Blogging
• Teachers (in the public school system)
• Authors
• Creating online courses, just to name a few.
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The Workbook

They all balance homeschool and working. It can be done, you are not alone!

It can be hard to think positive when loved ones, friends, and family tell you it’s impossible. I’m
here to tell you it IS possible!

I have zero special skills unless eating whole apple pies count! However, I have been able to
juggle homeschooling and working outside the home. If I can do it, so can you!

Although you do not need special skills to work and homeschool, you do need two things:

1. You need to be determined to make it work.

2. You need a plan to suit your unique situation.

So let’s get crazy and do the impossible!

Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Step 2. What is your “Why?”

One of the first things you need to do is reconsider your “why?” to homeschooling.

Why is what will get you through the rough days, the sick days, stressful days, and the crazy
days. Trust me when I say you will get all of these, but let’s just hope they don’t gang up on
you and show up all in the same day!

When you feel like throwing in the towel, knowing your personal why is what will keep you
moving forward and help you get back on track should you stray.

Here are some examples of why others homeschool:

1. To develop a love of learning

2. To build self-worth
3. For safety reasons, to be free from bullying, and violence
4. To have more time as a family
5. To work “school” around your schedule
6. Freedom to choose what to study/when to study
7. The chance to learn from life — outside the desk/box
8. To be life learners, independent thinkers, and problem solvers
9. To develop social skills with all ages
10. To build strong character traits.
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That list names a few reasons that might define your “why?” Do any of them sound familiar?

Do not be surprised if your “why?” is more complex than a single sentence. Why you
homeschool is very important. It’s the foundation and motivation for what you do. It will see
you through the dark days and light.

It will also change from time to time. That is why I like to reconsider why I homeschool at the
end of each school year.

Take time to consider and write down why you homeschool in the box below:

My Personal “Why” for Homeschooling is:

Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Step 3. What is your homeschool motto or guiding principle?

Please note that your motto or guiding principle might be similar to your why. Put simply, your
“why” is the reason, but your motto and guiding principle are the “how.”

If you don’t have a motto, ask yourself these questions:

• What is your plan for the school year?

• Is it to bring back learning fun?
• Is it to work on a skill your child needs to learn?
• Is it to work on character development?
• Maybe you need to deschool?

The answer to these questions will help you find your motto. When you have one, write it in
the box below.

Our Homeschool Motto is:

Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Some homeschoolers prefer to have a guiding principle. Here are some examples from the
working moms from my interview series to give you an idea:

This is from a teacher and mom: “Our homeschool guiding principle is always to put God first
and to be a life-long learner. I want my children to want to learn about different aspects of the
world and use that information to create whatever their imagination takes them. I want them
to know that they do not have to wait on any individual to tell them what they need to learn.”

This is from a blogger and homeschool mom of 11: “Keep. It. Simple. With a family our size,
this mindset is imperative for us to maintain good relationships and for me to keep my sanity!”

Write your principle below:

Our Homeschool Guiding Principle is:

Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Now you have your homeschool why and your homeschool motto/guiding principle. Keep
these two in mind as we go through these next steps. You will use these two points to guide
you in what you will use.

Remember: Your child, your family, your homeschool.

What works for others may not work for you. Use what works.

What you think might work later, pop it up on a shelf. When you get in the groove you might
be able to work it back into your homeschool and life. Other things you will know that in no
way would work for you, chuck it away guilt free!

For example, my kids are very textbook based, but you might be unschooling and a list of
subjects might not work for you. However, consider how you could adjust that idea to work for
you. Would you benefit from a block of time used to plan for what you want to strew around
or research more information for your child’s latest interest?

So, take what you can and rework it for your unique situation. No two children are the same.
The benefit of homeschooling is being able to adjust to each child and family’s needs.


Curriculum planning: It really is all about you
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Step 4. Set Priorities

You have many roles. Employee, teacher, mom, wife, friend, etc. and you need to figure out
what is important to you and your family in each part of your life.

Setting priorities in both your work, homeschooling, and life is the best way to take control.
Use these questions to help you figure out your personal priorities and write them down:

When you feel like throwing in the towel, knowing your personal why is what will keep you
moving forward and help you get back on track should you stray off track.

• What must be done in work?

• What must be completed each week/day/month for school?
• What must be completed for life — around the house, appointments, etc?
• What can wait?
• Who can help?
• What can I delegate?

Family is a team, so work together to reach your goals if possible. Get the kids involved, make
them feel part of the family, and maybe even pick up a life skill or two.

Last point, know your limits. Be willing to say no or ask for help.
Working + Homeschooling
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Step 5. Make a plan:

Be as scheduled as you need to be to run your life.

Find a planner/organizer method that works best for you, be it online, paper/pen and stick
with it.

I have found that breaking the plan into 3 sections (fixed, flexible, and you) works best. Then I
recommend revisiting it later and see what’s working and what isn’t and then adjust

Fixed, simply put, are items or events that you have little to no control over such as work,
appointments, extracurricular activities, lessons, etc.

This you do control, think school time, field trips, park days, etc. You want to fit these around
the fixed items on your schedule.

Don’t argue. Put yourself on the list. Take even 5 minutes to recharge each day. I get that this
is a huge struggle for most mothers, but there is only one of you and you do not want to burn
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Example schedules:

Working mom #1: Works 20 hours a week, has own business, and homeschools

• Monday and Wednesday: work from 8 am – 1 pm, school from 1:30-4:30 pm

• Tuesday and Thursday: school from 8 am – 3 pm
• Friday: work from 8 am – noon, school from 1 pm – 3:30 pm
• Saturday: work from 10 am – 1 pm, home business from 2-3 pm, hubby has kids
• Sunday: Me Time in the morning; work from 1-3 pm

She fits her business in the evenings or early mornings before work. She meal preps on
Saturday afternoon with the kids’ help.

Working mom #2: Works outside the home, is a blogger, and homeschools

Wakes up at 6:30 am, spends 15 minutes of “me time.” From 7 -7:30 am she works on her
blogging tasks and works out at the gym with her husband Friday-Monday evenings when

• Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Works 9-5, checks work kids have done independently
after supper.
• Tuesday, Thursday: Works 8-2 pm, homeschools doing non-independent work from 3-5
• Saturday, Sunday: Volunteers from 10-12pm, does errands with family and helps elderly
in-laws from 1-3 pm. Kids use this time to make up missing time for school.
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Putting you on the list:

All moms struggle with putting themselves on the list. If you can’t do it for you, do it for your
children. After all, there is only one of you and they need you. Look after yourself so you can
look after them.

Remember, it takes as little as 5 minutes a day to destress and focus on you. Here are some
ideas to get you started:

• take a walk
• get up before the kids to allow quiet time
• read a book
• watch a movie you choose
• go for coffee with friends
• exercise

On the next page, you will find a printable chart. Fill out each section to get an idea of how
you can make a plan that will work for you and your family.

There are 3 sections, use the questions above to help you set your priorities and don’t
forget to take into consideration your unique needs, your “why,” and your “motto” or
Fixed Items:

Flexible Items:

Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Step 6. Change your curriculum to fit your new needs:

The last “stumbling block” that we are going to address is curricula.

Your schedule has gone through major adjustment if you just started working. Before, when
you were with your children all the time, your chosen curriculum might have seemed perfect.

Now you are not with your child and the “perfect” curriculum is giving you meltdowns and
freak-outs. This is one area I wish I had been prepared for.

So, how do you face the challenge of teaching your child when you aren’t even with your
child? Here are 5 tips:

1. Break your curriculum into two lists: dependent work and independent work.
2. Prepare the independent work ahead of time, make sure all worksheets are printed off,
and that they have access to everything they need to do the assignment (items like
textbooks, workbooks, Wi-Fi, art materials, etc.).
3. Save the dependent work for when you can be with them (think science experiments,
instructor-led, discussions, etc.).
4. Realize your beloved old curriculum may have to go.
5. Be willing to break the “rules.”
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Example of breaking the rules:

Sometimes we come across a resource that we think is super neat. So, we read how to use it
or we notice others using it, but when we do it, it just… falls short? Feels wrong? Or won’t
work for us?

Often times I find this is because I am not them. *Well, duh!*

Here’s the problem: I am a rule follower.

So, moving away from the right way to use things is hard for me. I struggle. I drag my feet. I
keep trying to do it the right way instead of finding the way that works for me.

When I first saw notebooking, I watched the videos, looked at the freebie, and saw sheets I
would never use in a million years. I thought, “I can’t do this. It is too much like lapbooking.
The kids are going to hate it.”

I wished I could use one page at a time, pull from the packs the ones I wanted just like
worksheets, but ones I didn’t have to make myself. So, what was stopping me from using the
notebooking pages in that way?

Me. I was stopping myself!

Working + Homeschooling
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I found Notebooking Pages last school year. It took me until this year to break the perceived
rules and use it my way, and I am going to be completely honest here:

I LOVE notebooking now!

When I was doing it the right way, not so much.

Now I use Notebooking Pages almost every day. We pull out the ones we want: timelines,
book charts, sheets for character study, and more. The kids love them. I love the print and go!

Question for you: what is it that you think you need to do a certain way, but it isn’t quite
clicking for you? Can you think outside the box and do it your way?

Be brave, break the rules!

Remember, this is your homeschool. If a program looks like it might work for you, feel free to
adjust it to fit your needs.

Take what you can use and use what you can. Or chuck it completely if you see that it isn’t
working. Let it go.
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Light at the end of the tunnel:

There are benefits of homeschooling and working, so to share a light at the end of the tunnel,
here are my top 5:

1. The kids have learned to be independent in their learning. They research more and
figure out more things before asking for help.
2. They are overall better time managers. They take charge of when and how they do
school, giving them more freedom.
3. They help each other more. They fight a little less.
4. They’ve decided when they need to write resumes and do interviews, I’m their “go to
person.” I think that’s a good thing…
5. Lastly, they miss me!! When I was home, I was taken for granted and kind of treated like
chopped liver. Now they run to me and tell me about their day.

In review, we have discussed:

• That you can totally work and homeschool, but you need to be determined to make it
work, and that you need a plan.
• You have rediscovered your why and homeschool motto/guiding principle and how to
use it.
• You’ve set your priorities.
• You’ve decided on a plan of action.
• You are ready to face your curriculum needs!
Working + Homeschooling
The Workbook

Thank you for downloading this eBook.

What’s next?

As you work your way through this eBook, you may find you have more questions. Feel free to
reach out to me, I am always willing to help!

You can reach me here: Jennifer (at) practicalbydefault (dot) com.

You can find more articles to help you tackle working and homeschooling at my website,
Practical By Default.

How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Questions:

Curriculum for Your Child Defining Your Why?

Resources for The Working Homeschool Resources +

Homeschool Mom Curriculum We Use

Curriculum for Working Homeschoolers