It is easy to feel as though the world is passing you by when you are a homeschooling parent. But what about when your family life is passing you by? As a home educating parent who enjoys providing rich opportunities for my children, staying relevant in my profession and running a business, things can sometimes not be as easy to navigate as once anticipated. It is easy to fall into the trap of not running my business but allowing my business to run me. If I am not attentive, my children can suffer academically and emotionally. I was raised by a single working mother who also attended night school for ten years. Though I was not a home educated child, I missed having her present at home with me to check homework, ask me about my day or just sitting with me and discussing things that were going on in my day. I was determined to never have my children feeling the way I felt in the absence of my mother during those important years of my life. She was doing the best she could, but are we, as homeschooling moms, business owners or moms working outside of the home, doing the best we can to be attentive toward the needs of our homeschool? During this podcast, I will chime in on the idea of running a successful homeschool and business simultaneously minus the array of emotions that often accompany this arduous journey. Know that you are not alone in this. Other homeschool moms reach out to me often requesting strategies for best supporting their business or job while homeschooling. Here is my open letter to these amazing mom’s.
The Working Homeschool Parent
Dear Homeschool Mom,
Are you an entrepreneur or working from home? Perhaps you are working outside of the home and someone trusted is guiding your child in their education while you are at work. I have received countless comments from homeschooling mom’s who are feeling overwhelmed, guilty and question if they are providing “enough” for their child because they are working homeschooling parents.
Feeling guilty about working is never okay. You are doing what you need to do in order to help provide for your family. You are a role model for your child and they are watching you build a business or work a business that demonstrates work ethic, prioritizing, business acumen, making mistakes, learning lessons and any number of content area skills that promote higher order thinking, synthesizing information and evaluating concepts. You may be unknowingly teaching your children some of the most valuable lessons in the world. You are a powerhouse that is not feeling so powerful some days, especially if you are not being as present for your children as you may like.
Do any of these sound familiar?
1.) not being organized (Disorganization)-business, homeschool and home
2.) Not guarding your time (Time escapes you quickly)
3.) Not believing in yourself (Self-doubt)
4.) comparing yourself with other (The comparison game)
5.) Being unintentional (Loosey goosey)
6.) Forgetting about yourself (Putting yourself second)
7.) Pleasing others (People pleaser)
8.) Following the crowd (being a follower and not a leader)
9.) Beat up on yourself ,
10.) Holistically Out of control and out of balance.
11.) Overly Sensitive Allowing someones actions to dictate or cause your reaction.
12.) Busy Work (Giving your children learning material that is “easy” for grading but not necessarily planned out by you or them and not academically enriching)
Often times it is easier to pretend nothing is wrong and embody the belief that everything is everyone in your camp is okay when in fact, they are suffering as you run your business. You may not realize it but in your your quest to achieve goals and manifest success,
you may be actually neglecting your family for your business. This can most easily be summed up in one word: neglect. Spoiler alert: this is a little lengthy but so worth the read. This may be a hard blog to get through but there is hope contained within the read.
The Neglect Mistake
Neglectful behavior patterns can cause emotional distress in your children and can also take on a form of abandonment. For some working moms, that may look like providing their children learning material that is convenient but not necessarily rich or powerful just to ease their own sense of guilt and provide a false sense of security believing that their children are learning, but are they thriving? It is so very important to recognize when you are ignoring your child’s academic needs. This is always apparent when you observe and check the work they are doing whether it is a project or a workbook.
This pattern of neglect can be detrimental to not only the emotional health of the child but to their academic success. For the parent who is working from home a sense of guilt may quickly be eased for themselves so they do not feel bad, is replaced with an attitude of any of the following: I’m doing it for the family, they are young enough that by the time they are older they’ll understand why I did it, the when they are old enough to understand the difference between having and not having, we will have if I make this sacrifice right now. Explaining the situation to the children may seemingly suppress and soothe the parent initially-at the onset, but children often say they understand or it’s “okay” to please the parent, not because they truly mean it, but they love you and do not want to make you feel bad.
Parents who work from home are usually emotionally convicted early on in the homeschool journey with the realization that something is not working. Being attached to your business is natural because after all, work is usually a high priority. There can a balance in balance and family life when you make the decision, the choice, to give equal time to both. Even if that does not happen fully, you may be surprised at how close you can come to creating the balance. Sometimes running a business makes you selfish and blinds you into believing you are present and providing quality attention and care for your family. Business and work can be sneaky and trick you into paying more attention to it than your family and then causing you to be burned out, then needing time for yourself and perhaps leaving your family to need you even more. Don’t get me wrong, self-care is number one on our list as mom’s, but being public enemy number one at home can make for a miserable home life.
Determining boundaries early on for your business and designing a schedule for both your homeschooling and business is imperative. Your children should not feel like second fiddle or feel that your work is more important to you than they are and there are many great ways to demonstrate their importance to you. Recognizing when you are ignoring your child’s academic needs is paramount. This may look like the parent who purchases workbooks year after year not because they are truly teaching their children but because it is convenient and easy for the parent. No planning involved and trusting that the topics covered within the workbooks will take care of everything. It will not most likely. Therefore, we will discuss a bit more that can be done to prevent this slump from occurring in your homeschool.
Children observe their parents and emulate everything about them the good and the not so great. This emulation ranges from dispositions to handwriting, dietary choices, clothing, hair, to business acumen, communication skills and friendship choices. It is important to provide avenues for your children to be able to explore opportunities outside of the household so that if they are naturally inclined to take on or become all that their parents are, it was a natural progression not forced upon them indirectly because it was all that they were exposed to. You want your children to be able to answer the question “Who are you” aside from simply stating their name, but to be able to answer the question for themselves holistically both intrinsically empowered by their answer and pleased with the outcome of its honesty through the product.
Here are a few tools that may help alleviate the negative emotional baggage that can come along with being a working homeschool mom and support your family in the process.
So we all know that if you fail to plan you plan to fail so goes the old adage. The truth could not be more accurate than when you are a working homeschool parent. Working moms know that planning is in the preparation and that planning empowers and positions us for greatness. Planning needs to be especially organized with dates, preferably planned out for the year on a calendar. Provide a working calendar/planner for your children so they can be accountable, expectations are shared and they are aware of what is being covered. You are not the only planner in a homeschool. Your children are master planners event the youngest ones as they are able to share exactly what they want to learn with you. Though homeschool philosophies and methodologies of teaching vary, organization is always key. Keeping track of what your children are doing helps you to know that they are in deed learning. Have you considered a true teaching co-op that supports the needs of your children or joining another homeschool mom who would not mind teaching your children for you? Need help or more ideas? I am available to assist you as are other homeschool moms within your tribe. We are here to help get your homeschool year organized!
Being intentionally present, mindfulness, listening to your children and providing meaningful feedback. (On any and everything is so very important). Giving them your full undivided attention intention is important to them. So set a time aside (many times aside) for that specific purpose. What about spending time with you children when they think you are supposed to be working? A day spent with fun and things that the children enjoy. What if you cannot take a day off? Here are a few ideas!
3. Little Things, Big Results
When you cannot take a day off, small things equal big things in the eyes and hearts of children, especially when it comes from Mom.
Let’s consider the following…. 5 Things You Try Can Do Today
- Cooking A Meal Together
- Play Games together
3. Write letters to each other. For an added touch, leave small notes around the house in areas the children frequent and may most likely find them.
4. Include your children in your business or help them to start their own
Your business is not their business and vice versa but providing them with a framework to learn business acumen alongside you may thrill them!
5. Project Based Learning Family Style! Learning alongside your children is always rewarding. Consider working together as a family on a specific project. Maybe having different roles in the planning or doing research together and creating a project and sharing it with others as a culmination, might be a fantastic opportunity to connect and build greater relationship within your homeschool.
5. Be humble and apologize
Let your family know that nothing is more important than they are. Period. Business is consuming and important, but children are only young for a season and this homeschool experience is is once in a lifetime opportunity.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to planning intentional and fun activities with your children. Creating both mental and physical space to provide opportunities to balance your business and family life is key to your peace of mind and a bountiful homeschool experience.
Hopefully todays episode resonated with you and you feel supported and know that you are not alone in being a homeschooling working mom.
You can follow me on social media @dearhomeschoolmom and visit my website dearhomeschoolmom.com for the latest blog posts.
As always, embrace the process and celebrate the journey. Happy homeschooling