How I Work and Homeschool Successfully

The working homeschool parents desk.

“Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.”  – John C. Maxwell

Trying to work outside the home while homeschooling is not an easy task. I know this because I have worked part-time and full-time, in the home and outside the home since the beginning of our homeschooling lives. It would be silly for me to tell you “follow these steps and it will be easy.”  Nope, can’t do that. It won’t be easy. After all these years trying this trick and that method, I know what works and what doesn’t work and have found tools to help you be a successful working homeschool mom or dad.

Before we talk about the usual planning and scheduling let’s take a look at curriculum choices and methods of homeschooling. These are simple things you do to make working and homeschooling easier. Picking a simple curriculum and approach will help you homeschool and ease any anxiety that your not doing enough.

CURRICULUM CHOICES

Lesson planning is probably the most time consuming task. Purchasing your curriculum is a lot more fun then lesson planning. To save you time All In One Homeschool and Ambleside Online are the best choices.

Hands down the easiest, least expensive curriculum is through All In One Homeschool Everything you need is all in one place. Each daily lesson plan gives your child clear instructions on what they are to do for that lesson. You will need to print worksheets out but that’s about it.  I have friends, besides myself, that have used this with wonderful success. It’s amazing! For high school students there is  All In One High School.  It is free or you can make a donation.

 Another program is Ambleside Online. A wonderful program that is also FREE and lessons are already planned for you.  It follows a Charlotte Mason approach that means books are necessary. They have provided all the information you need to obtain the books needed for the courses.  Plus there are lesson plans and curriculum from Year 1 to Year 12.

METHODS OF HOMESCHOOLING

This will probably be the only time you see me suggest CYBER SCHOOL, available through your public school.  I mention this because it is typically just like public school except your child is at home. It is different for elementary student then for the high school student.

My friend uses this type of program and she goes over her 3rd graders work while her husband helps with any homework when he arrives home in the evening.  

The CHARLOTTE MASON approach is perfect for the harried homeschool mom. When my boys were about 7 and 8 years old we had to live in a hotel suite for about two months while we were looking for a place to live on Oahu, Hawaii. It was hard living in a hotel room a.k.a. small suite, searching for a home and still trying to educate. This method worked because we would read books from the library and went on many nature walks. All we needed was our sketch books and colored pencils.  A “living” education.

Become the  RELAXED homeschooler by  narrowing your teaching down to the three r’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.  Read Ruth Beechick’ books: The Three R’s and You Can Teach Your child Successfully  she shares just how simple it can be. This can be practiced in the case of an emergency such as a job loss (happened to us.)

In all honesty, I believe every method can be used while working. However I have found that Charlotte Mason and Relaxed homeschooling lend themselves to a naturally less structured day. At the same time you know you are making progress.

Planning and Scheduling

The planning of homeschool is the easy part. It’s the act of working out your schedule that can be daunting. That’s why I like BLOCK PLANNING with a twist.

BLOCK PLANNING and Priorities

I discovered I am terrible about giving directions but I want to talk to you about priorities and why setting your priorities will keep you together. Then watch the video on Block Planning.

PRIORITIES

  • Spiritual
  • Personal
  • Family
  • Job

My priorities are listed in the order of most important to least important. Spiritual is at the top of the list. What that means is if I am asked to go for coffee (personal) it will need to be scheduled after my time with God (spiritual). If I am going to get a haircut (personal) and my son decides he can’t walk to the gym that day (family), he will have to wait until after I get my hair done. These are examples of how I use the list of priorities. These priorities also turn into my blocks for planning with coordinating activities designated to each priority block. Take a look at how I use the Block Planing method. (You can get the complete planner by clicking on the image.)

Example of how I use Block Planning

Within these blocks you will have detailed information.

  • Home includes doing laundry, meal prep, house cleaning and any house projects.
  • Personal might include a night for a long shower or bath, haircuts-time just for you.
  • Homeschool will have lesson planning, reviewing children’s progress, activites.

Now you can set time allotments for each area.  I give myself an hour a day for Home activities. But because my schedule varies from week to week I can move around the blocks to accommodate my job and still get what I need to, done.

Give more time to areas that are a priority which can also change.  If your child gets sick than you may decide to make less time for your Home block.  

I am also specific about what my priorities are for the month, week and day. That means you need to remain flexible at all times. Move things around when you need to. I will always pick my children when they are experiencing life dramas over getting a haircut. Hahaha !

To be successful at homeschooling while working you need to take a look at your curriculum and homeschool approaches. You will prioritize your plan and skillfully schedule.

If you have to work, you have to work. After to talking with several homeschooling mom’s they rather focus solely on being a homeschool mom. If that’s what you rather do or move towards not working, here are some helpful book’s to help you reach that goal.

You may find the way that I block plan helpful while working and homeschooling. You can download the blank year at glance, month, week, and day planner by clicking here to get your Free planner.

Beginners Guide to Homeschool Lesson Planning with Google Calendar

There are many advantages to lesson planning and keeping your sanity is one of them.  When I finally came to my senses it was back in the middle ages (late 1990’s) of easy to use online lesson planning printables.  There were some that I truly liked such as the free planners at DonnaYoung.org.  She also created an Excel spreadsheet that was simple to use.  The only downfall to online printables and spreadsheets is having to write everything into the planner or a lot of copy and paste.  However, It was still more efficient than the other options.

I don’t recall where the idea of using Google Calendar came about but I thought it was a brilliant idea. It was one of those “Why didn’t I think of that.” moments.  At the time I was already using a pre-planned curriculum and while our homeschool would have run much smoother if a lesson planner had been used I didn’t try it until this year.  Sometimes I wonder why I waited.   I can color code, repeat days without using “copy and paste”, share and easily add unexpected activities and lessons. It will make your homeschool life easier. You can watch the short video or read how I plan my lessons with Google Calendar below.

“If I had my way, I would remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead.” ― Roald Dahl Click To Tweet

  1. Login to your Google account.  If you don’t have a Google account you can visit here to create one.

    Login on to Google
    Login on to Google.
  2. Once you have logged in open Google Calendar 

Google Calendar in month view.
Google Calendar

Creating the Calendar

3. On the left side, you will see ADD A FRIENDS CALENDAR.  Click on the plus sign and click the drop-down and go to New Calendar.

Create a New Calendar
Add a Friends Calendar.

4. You are on the Settings page where you will create your new calendar.  This is where you add a name and description for your calendar.  I have named mine Homeschool and in the description, I like to have the school year and maybe the students’  name. If the state you live in requires more information you may want to add it to the description or add a link to a Google Doc that has the necessary details that your state law requires. Save your new calendar by clicking Create Calendar.

Creating a new calendar

 Tip #1

You can share the calendar with your students!  To do that click on the calendar you just created that is visible on the sidebar.  Click on the arrow and a menu appears.  There are several options but for now, you are going to Share with Specific People. Click and on the right, you are taken to the section to Add People.   Follow the prompts and remember to SEND.

Tip #1 Share your Homeschool Calendar
Tip #1 Share your Homeschool Calendar

5. Let’s add your main lesson/topic/unit study to the calendar.  For this, I prefer to be in MONTH view which you can find at the top right between the search icon and the gear.  Select the date you are going to start and click in that box.  You can also click on the RED circle located in the right corner.   A pop-up will appear.  Go straight to MORE OPTIONS. That will take you to the page where you will be able to add all the details.

Adding Your Main Lesson
Adding Your Main Lesson

6. For this example, the main lesson is named LITERATURE/LANGUAGE ARTS.  Because this study will last 4-6 weeks the date range will reflect that.  Select ALL DAY.  Make sure you have your HOMESCHOOL calendar selected not your personal calendar.  You can see that in the sidebar on your right.  Then SAVE.

Adding the main lesson/unit study/theme
Adding the main lesson/unit study/theme

What you are seeing here is how the calendar looks with the main lesson/unit study/theme/ for the weeks that it is being studied.  Time to add the assignments for your study.

Homeschool Lesson Planning
This is the MONTH view showing your Main Lesson/Unit Study/Theme

Creating the Assignments

7.  To create the assignments in your lesson plan have the calendar in WEEK view. To switch to WEEK view go to the drop-down menu at the top right between the search icon and the gear.  Choose the date and the time you will start the assignment.  Click on that location and the details box will pop up again. You are going to select MORE OPTIONS.

One method to create lessons.
Creating the assignments

8. This is where you enter the name of your lesson.  To make it easy to read for our homeschool portfolio I name the event; Lesson Plan and then the topicIt looks like this Lesson Plan: A Wrinkle in Time.  

9. In this example, we are going to have the class show daily, Monday through Friday, on the Lesson Plan Calendar and just for 1 week.  Select the date of the week and the time the class will start and what time the class will end i.e. 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm.  The dates should be the same.  Below the date and time selection, you have the option to click off ALL DAY or choose what days the class is going to be on.  click on the down arrow and click on  EVERY WEEKDAY.

10. After the dates and times are filled out then you can add the assignments for the week in the description.   You can read how I detail this in my blog post about lesson planning here.

The completed lesson plan in Google Calendar

This is how it will look after you have added the class to your Lesson Plan.

Tip #2

Color code each class for easy reading or color code each student.

Color code
Tip #2 Color code your classes and or your students.

After you set up your lesson plan in Google Calendar you will see how simple this is.  Watch the video at the beginning of the post then read through the guide.  Share how you use Google Calendar for lesson planning for your homeschool below.  I’m sure there are some creative approaches out there!