Homeschooling can be challenging all by itself but throw working from home into the mix and it can become downright crazy. Throughout our homeschooling years I also worked a full-time job from home. I would love to be able to say that I mastered juggling home, homeschool, and work, but believe me, I dropped the ball many-a-time! Breakfast for supper became a regular menu item as did "fend for yourself" nights. There were times when grading schoolwork and lesson planning got backed-up and extremely late nights or ridiculously early mornings were necessary to complete work tasks. However, I did pick up a few habits along the way that helped make balancing home, homeschool and work a little less chaotic. These are my 4D's.
Delegate – Nowhere is written that you have to do everything yourself. We divided household chores between all capable family members. Also, my husband or older child sometimes helped with grading papers and assisting with schoolwork. Not only did this lighten the workload, but it also taught valuable lessons in responsibility and teamwork and strengthened our family bond.
Determine – To help bring some kind of order to our day, we determined specific time frames for doing school, work and household activities and tried to stick to it as much as possible. We even went as far as posting a time schedule on the fridge for a while so everyone knew what was when.
Dedicate – When I first started working from home, I would try to work in our classroom while the kids did their assignments, so I was readily available to help them. I soon learned that this was not a good idea because of constant interruptions and I often felt guilty when I was more focused on work instead of them. So, after determining a good work schedule, we also created an office area from where I could work. Having separate dedicated spaces for school and work helped minimize distractions and we were able to focus on whatever task we were on.
Decline – It's OK to say no to extra curricula activities, especially if they cut into valuable time that can be spent more productively. We would prioritize outside activities and interruptions in our day. That didn't mean that things never came up, but we would pick and choose based on importance and availability.
Balancing home, school and work takes some effort, but with the whole family working together it can move from a circus act to a successful adventure.