Are you looking to join the ranks of homeschool entrepreneurs? Many homeschool moms become entrepreneurs by blogging, vlogging, running home shops, or even working a regular job from home. You’ve probably weighed out why you should or shouldn’t do it, but how do you manage it? How can you balance being a full-time homeschool mom and running a business? We asked two of our homeschool entrepreneurs for their go-to tips on balancing their businesses and their family lives.
Mom-to-Mom with Megan
Before you commit to any type of business, I would advise you to take some time to write out your priorities. It’s hard to balance a business, homeschooling, and church and home responsibilities. I learned early on that I can’t do everything. I found it helpful to have a list of personal nonnegotiables written down so that I can refer to them whenever I feel overwhelmed. Am I doing the really important things? I’ve had to ask myself that question many times, and you probably will too. If you’re neglecting some of your priorities, you may need to give something up or scale back your business.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Don’t forget that taking care of yourself needs to be on that nonnegotiable list. I have to admit that I am not very good at self-care. For a long time, I felt guilty for taking any time away from my kids to care for myself. But I’m learning that self-care is necessary if I’m going to be able to continue all the work I am called to. I am not somehow cheating my family if I get a babysitter and go get that overdue eye exam, get my hair cut, or take an aerobics class at my local gym. In fact, not doing those things—not taking care of myself—will likely result in my someday not being able to care for my family as I should. So be sure to put outings, exercise time, and routine medical appointments on your schedule—and don’t feel guilty about spending that time on yourself.
3. Teach Quiet Time
Teach your children how to be quiet. Only one of my children still takes naps every day, but all of them have quiet time. It’s an hour or so when they are allowed to read, write, color, or work on a project independently, but they’re not allowed to interrupt me or talk to each other. It’s good for them to have some quiet time every day. It’s also good for me because I get some uninterrupted time to make phone calls, research a topic, or whatever I need to do.
Mom-to-Mom with Jennifer
1. Personal Space
It’s important and helpful to have an allocated work space for your freelance or other work-at-home projects. Whether it’s an actual office or just a quiet nook in your bedroom, try to create a workspace that’s completely away from homeschool areas. This will help you avoid distractions so you can focus on your tasks. Also, try to keep all of your work-related items organized in one place (e.g., laptop, tablet, files, portfolios, etc.). That way they won’t get accidentally mixed in with school materials. Extra tip: I always keep hard copies of work assignments in a small notebook just in case of computer problems. As much as possible, choose a space that is relatively quiet, well-lit, and free of clutter. The fewer distractions around you, the better you will be able to concentrate on your work.
2. Work Time
It’s also important to keep work time separate from school time. Even if you’re a great multitasker, it’s difficult to juggle school and at-home work at the same time—one is bound to suffer at the expense of the other. Setting aside specific blocks of time for work will help you stay focused and productive. Looking ahead and planning your work schedule is also key. I usually follow the same procedure whenever I receive a new work assignment. First, I look at the date it’s due and enter it into my calendar on my phone.
Second, I look at our family’s schedule to see all our other activities and plan my work times around them. This is especially helpful because I know for certain which days I simply won’t have time to dedicate to my project. On the days I do have free for work, I carve out at least one or two hours for my assignment. I like to work ahead and complete my project a few days before it’s due so I can read over it a few times and make any necessary changes. When planning your work times, remember to remain flexible for your family. There will be times your work gets interrupted by a “Mommy/Daddy, can you help me?” As spouses and parents first, we need to be willing to put aside our work so we can take care of our family’s needs.
3. Mind the Gap
Keeping work spaces and times separate from school will greatly help you in completing your at-home work in an efficient and timely manner.
Megan homeschools her four daughters while working with BJU Press to provide blog posts and other written content. Jennifer homeschools her two daughters while also working with BJU Press as a blogger and writer. We love working with these two ladies and are thankful for all that they are able to contribute as both full-time moms and homeschool entrepreneurs.