When thinking of home-schooling your kids, there are a number of benefits that you automatically think of. It’s great if you work from home and have flexible working hours. You get a real sense of control over your time and you also get to spend loads of extra time with the kids, something most parents can only dream of. But don’t be fooled, there are a number of drawbacks too and in order to make sure home-schooling is for you, a lot of organizing needs to go on beforehand. It can become incredibly stressful and you have to make sure you are well equipped to deal with this. If you are a parent working from home and home-schooling is an option for you, here are five tips to help you get started.
Consistency is key
When you first start out, chances are you will have no idea where to begin when it comes to managing your work and your children’s studies. You can set strict schedules but chances are they will be broken at the start. Until you know exactly what it’s like to home school, you can’t predict times and really plan your day. So when something you had originally planned doesn’t work out, adapt. You and your family will have your own rhythm and over time this will become clear. It doesn’t matter what works best for you as long as you keep it consistent. There needs to be some sort of regularity in order for children to learn and parents to work. Don’t worry if it takes you a few attempts to get it right, things will all fall into place soon enough.
Don’t neglect your relationships
If you are married, keeping your marriage alive should always be a priority. In the same way that you need to have a consistent work habit to rely on, it’s also important to have a great working relationship with your partner. Business, money worries and stress can all strain a relationship and you can often become so consumed with work and worrying that it becomes hard to take a step back and remember what is important. Make sure you set aside time for each other away from being a parent or a business partner, this will help keep the spark alive.
Organization! Organization! Organization!
Your ability to manage work, life and the kids can be very dependent on your ability to keep everything organized. This is something you should do from that start and revisit as often as you need to. Simple things like an effective filing system can make everything so much easier to manage. One of the main draws of working from home is being in control, but you need to be organized for this to work. Implement small changes in your and the kids’ routines to help each have a sense of ownership and to make sure everyone is doing their bit. Taking the time to set this all up properly can save you a lot of hassle in the future, meaning you have more time to enjoy with your family.
Have clear, well-communicated boundaries.
Regularly being distracted by small things is not practical for you or your kids and can make you less effective when carrying out certain tasks. This is where clear boundearies come into play. If you deal a lot with clients and partners via video conferencing, it won’t do anything for your reputation if the other party can see your kids playing in the background. If you need time to make an important call, make sure they know they are not to interrupt you. This could be as simple as having a do not disturb sigh on the door while you are busy. But you need to also make it clear when they can approach you and ask for help. Letting your family distract you when you have deadline to meet won’t do you any favors. It might also be a good idea to set aside a certain point of the day for family time. This might just be something simple like not eating at your computer and having lunch together, as a family.
Speak to others in your situation
Everyone needs some sort of support system in place and it is always a great idea to speak to others in your situation, especially if you are just starting out. You can be sure that all the things you are going through have been experienced by another family at some point. Having a support network around will help you overcome your problems and work towards creating the perfect work/life balance. You may also find that there are activities that the kids can go to during the week, freeing up your time and also keeping the kids happy.
One thing never to forget is that there is no right or wrong way to work. There might be things that you and your family have managed to perfect and work well for you but might seem utterly bonkers to the next family. Always try to ignore what you think you should be doing and instead, focus on what works best for you!