Guest blog by Christina Mondolo, Bridgeway Academy Academic Advisor
I know the thought of homeschooling your children can be overwhelming and as scary as stepping on a LEGO brick in the middle of the night. Homeschooling is already a daunting task–then add to that scenario that you’re working full-time. But I am here to tell you that it is possible. In fact, I am an example that it is possible, and you can do it anywhere in the world.
I started homeschooling my children when we moved to Panama for two years in 2018. We were full-time missionaries building a church and a community; all the while, I homeschooled my two elementary school-aged children. Now that we are back in the States, I am still homeschooling an 8th grader and a high school sophomore. In the beginning, it seemed impossible, but I want to share with you how I have been able to homeschool my children and successfully work full-time these last five years.
Here are 5 tips to homeschool successfully while working full-time:
1. Be flexible
Some days, you just won’t get everything done – and that’s okay because you are not in “school”. Homeschooling allows you to be flexible. Just know that sometimes you will get a lot done, and some days you will focus on only one subject. That’s all part of the process of homeschooling. Learning how to be creative with your time is key in figuring out how to balance working and homeschooling. Some days my kids wake up early and get all their work done; other days I will have my kids work on their materials and I will review it with them later in the day when I am available. The homeschool day is not confined to 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The beauty is that we can find time throughout the day that works for us. This leads me to my next tip:
2. Create a weekly schedule
Having a weekly schedule allows me to plan out my week and gives all of us direction for the material that needs to be covered. Be open to change, because most days not everything will be completed on the list. Having a roadmap of where you want to go will help guide you and your family in your daily learning. I have learned along the way that sometimes my daughter wants to dig a little deeper into a topic of interest, and I want to allow her time to do that. For example, my daughter can share so much information on volcanoes, she might as well have a Ph.D. on the topic. This is one of the benefits of homeschooling – we can foster a lifelong joy of learning and not hinder them because we have to get through a math lesson we planned on Sunday.
3. Find–or build–a community
Joining a homeschool community helped me early on when I had no idea what I wanted homeschooling to look like for my family. Get help and join a homeschool community that will help you navigate through your journey. When I first pulled my children from their private school, I was so scared that I was going to hinder their education. Once I joined a local homeschool group, however, I was able to learn about our state’s homeschool rules and I discovered the many opportunities that were available to my children. We joined a local co-op, and I was able to ask questions to veteran homeschool parents and gained confidence that I was able to homeschool my children and work full-time. Through my homeschool community, I have been able to learn what works for others and put into practice what works for my family. I also suggest joining a Facebook group; there are likely many homeschool groups dedicated to your city and state.
4. Stay organized for your sanity
Working full time while homeschooling my children, I needed to learn how to stay organized. By nature, I am organized, but staying organized requires my children to take on some of the responsibility. I create schedules and check in on them at the end of the day and see where we need to make adjustments. This is where I need to stay open and flexible to their daily needs. We use school agendas that I have purchased on Amazon, and I write in their daily assignments and the classes that they will have throughout the week. I also have my own personal agenda where I plan out each day, focused around meetings and work that needs to be completed. In our home I have an office space that is used just for work. My children also have a dedicated space to do their work, but I often find them on the dining table with me as well; when they need a quiet space, they are able to go to their rooms and work on their own there. Creating a safe, quiet space has been very helpful for all of us to get our work done.
5. Enjoy the process
Our children are always our children – but they won’t always be children. Because of that, I encourage you to find ways to enjoy the homeschooling journey. I always include my children in the planning and executing of our homeschool plans. This allows them to take ownership of their education and, in the process, the outcome has been my desire to create lifelong learners. Some days are filled with chasing history and other days are filled with numbers. Choose what works for your family and embrace the process…because it’ll be over before you know it.
Homeschooling while working full-time can certainly be challenging, but it is quite possible to succeed at both with a little planning and creativity. As someone who has managed a career along with homeschooling two children, I would welcome the opportunity to help you during your homeschool journey. I am available to answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or (610) 266-9016.
To learn more about Christina, click here to read her Advisor Spotlight!