Homeschooling While Working

/ / - Planning and Organization, Blog

Working while homeschooling can be as difficult and as rewarding as you want to make it. Both of them take commitment, dedication, and the ability to compartmentalize time.

I started a business while in the throes of homeschooling in order to help my husband financially with our family and to encourage other homeschooling parents. But to do that, I had to change my habits.

                Instead of getting up later and getting my daughter up at the same time (She’s 13 and appreciates sleep more than life itself), I get up early and get a couple hours of solid work in before she gets up. This getting up earlier than her has helped me get some uninterrupted time in to work, write blog posts, make podcasts, and have virtual meetings. Of course, if you have little kids who seemingly wake up with the sun, it would be extremely hard to wake up earlier than them.

                A lot of times, when my daughter is doing her schoolwork, she wants me right beside her or at least in the same room with her as she plows through subjects. We are eclectic homeschoolers so we do a little bit of everything: Charlotte Mason, traditional schooling, textbooks, even watching videos on YouTube makes up our homeschool. So, while I teach her, she can get reinforced instruction through other means like books and videos. Sometimes, if all she wants is me in the vicinity, I do things in the kitchen which is right beside our dining room/homeschool space. That way I can help if needed and work on dinner.

                Also, putting dinner on in the morning in the slow cooker helps life so very much. You don’t have to think about it later, or you just add a couple side dishes. The slow cooker is a working homeschooler’s best friend.

                Homeschool takes us about four hours a day, then she does life skills (aka chores). Chores help her learn how to take care of a home, and it gives me a little more time to work. Compartmentalizing my time into workable chunks has helped me with homeschooling while working from home.

                For those who have little kids, especially toddlers, and must work, I would find an older homeschooling teen who would like to be a “mother’s helper” in exchange for a little cash, food, or something you may have. Some teens may just enjoy a change of scenery from home or want to have a good reference for a future job. I’d employ them for a set amount of time each week so you can get some uninterrupted time to work.

                Another idea is to work when your children are otherwise engaged. One summer when all four of my children were younger and lived at home (three are adults now and have moved out), I needed a break from the craziness so I instituted a “Feet on Bed” Hour. This “FOB Hour” meant that for an hour each afternoon, they had to lie down. They could nap if they wanted, they could read, or they could even play with Legos, but their feet had to be physically on the bed and no talking. It was a blessed hour of just peace, and they found they needed that hour, too. Having your younger children take mandatory quiet times or even naps in the afternoon can give you one to two hours of time to work.

                Homeschooling during the day and staying up later past the kids’ mandatory, set bedtime each night can help you get your work done without sacrificing the homeschool time. The key to managing working while homeschooling is setting a schedule and sticking to it, compartmentalizing your time, and having your older children help with younger ones will enable you to do both. Teaching life skills and enforcing chores will help, too.

                The main thing, though, is when you’re with your children, be with them. Be present. When you’re working and have the ability and time to work uninterrupted, do that. My favorite motto is “Be here now,” which means, whatever it is you’re doing – whether you’re on a field trip with your children, working, homeschooling, spending time with your spouse, or just relaxing – Be here now. Don’t think about what you could be doing but be present right then.

Terrie McKee is an author, speaker, podcaster, and blogger who also homeschools her youngest daughter. She is founder and president of IAJ Ministries which is putting on the “For Such a Time as This” Christian Women’s Retreat ( Terrie is married to Greg (who is paralyzed). Together they have four children who all have varying special needs. A follower of Jesus Christ, she teaches adult Sunday School and writes books to encourage Christians on their faith journey. As a homeschooler, she also encourages and inspires other Christian homeschoolers as they home educate their children. Follow her at

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).