Are you educating children at home while juggling work deadlines and commitments? If so, consider flexible schedules.
Learn more and explore practical strategies for creating and implementing this type of schedule for your family’s unique needs.
This article contains affiliate links to things that might help you when homeschooling.
A recent Slack survey reveals that 94% of employees would prefer jobs offering flexible schedules over traditional ones. At the same time, the demand for flexibility has expanded beyond our workplaces into how we approach education, particularly homeschooling.
And while flexible scheduling helps many homeschooling households, it may be especially beneficial for moms trying to meet the challenges of full-time careers or businesses in addition to homeschooling responsibilities. Flexible schedules can significantly enhance your ability to navigate these challenges.
But how exactly do you create and implement this schedule to suit your needs?
The Power of Flexible Schedules in Homeschooling
Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you must stick to a traditional school schedule. And if you also work from home, you may have more leeway in choosing your work hours.
Maybe you need a 4-day week for homeschooling to use three full days for work activities. Or perhaps you prefer to stretch schoolwork into the weekend.
Embracing flexible schedules lets you create a homeschool routine that best suits your family’s needs in your current season of life. It even empowers you to customize learning experiences according to your children’s individual needs while ensuring you allow time to meet your professional obligations.
It also accommodates effective time management strategies like asynchronous work opportunities, which allow task completion outside traditional 9-to-5 hours using remote work options.
Get Creative with Time and Location
As a homeschooling mompreneur of many children with two still at home, I learned to get creative with completing homeschooling and work activities outside of regular work and school hours and even outside of our home.
For example, one of my children lives with Juvenile Arthritis and struggles to focus in the morning when her joints are sore. So, we complete math each evening.
And each weekday morning for the past 12 years, I’ve dedicated the hours from 5:00 am to 8:00 am to my online blogging and freelance writing work.
Sometimes, we complete science experiments on the weekends while visiting our older children, their families, or our engineer friends.
We listen to history audiobooks on long car trips across the country as we visit family each summer.
Consider your current health and energy levels (and your children’s) when looking for creative times and ways to meet homeschool responsibilities.
Crafting Your Homeschool Schedule
Developing a flexible custom homeschool schedule that aligns with your family’s unique needs means honestly assessing what could work best right now, given your children’s ages, academic requirements, and your own business needs.
Strive to strike the right balance, ensuring every subject receives due attention while allowing time for breaks, extracurricular activities, and work commitments.
Schedule Your Month, Week, and Day
One way to create a flexible working homeschool mom schedule involves looking at your entire month. Here’s an example.
First, prioritize and schedule any (affiliate link) online classes, homeschool field trips, and extracurricular activities such as sports, lessons, or church activities.
Next, schedule all of your online and in-person work meetings.
Now schedule all the homeschool activities and lessons that require your presence with your children. Some families call this couch time or table time. It may involve reading out loud, teaching a math lesson, or even family group discussions.
Add in the independent learning time for your children. This may be minimal when your children are small, but don’t worry. It increases as they get older!
Tip: schedule independent learning time for older children to coincide with nap time for younger children. Even an hour a day can give you time for light work activities, such as answering short emails or responding to social media comments.
Look for Weekly Pockets of Time
Accept the likelihood that your monthly schedule will get several revisions. And that’s okay.
Revisit your homeschool schedule each Sunday night and adjust your week as new client meetings get booked or sports practices get canceled. Stay calm if you need to shift lesson times around as long as you meet your weekly homeschool goals.
The key here involves flexible scheduling of homeschooling lessons around fixed meetings or classes. While you might not complete 30 minutes of math every day at 10:00 am, your homeschooler has completed 2 ½ hours of math instruction by the end of the week.
And remember, daily schedules may need to get shifted based on illness, lesson issues, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Prepare for Challenges
While advantageous in many ways, flexible schedules and non-traditional timetables present unique challenges, such as finding work tasks spilling into the time allotted for homeschool activities. To navigate this challenge successfully, establish clear boundaries and expectations for your work hours and homeschooling periods.
This might involve setting specific’ office hours’ for your professional tasks or designating certain times as dedicated learning slots. If you find the “ding” of your work smartphone’s email or Slack messages too tempting to avoid during homeschool hours, switch your phone to silent mode. Better yet, leave it in a different room.
When to Change Your Homeschool Schedule
Even when you find a schedule that works, expect to change your homeschool schedule in the future. Shifting work responsibilities, family structure changes, health issues, and increasing academic courseloads as children get older can all impact the effectiveness of your homeschool routine.
And that’s okay. So don’t hesitate to modify your schedule as needed.
Sometimes, the signs that it is time to adjust your schedule are more subtle. For example, watch for increased stress levels in yourself, your spouse, or your children. And pay attention to declining interest on the part of your kids during their study times. These signs could indicate something isn’t working quite right with the current arrangement.
Tip: Some working homeschool families schedule homeschooling in six-week segments, with a one or two-week break following each six-week segment. This gives students a break and lets parents catch up on work projects.
Flexible Scheduling Encourages Homeschooling and Working Parents
The past few years have led to a shift towards more remote work options for parents, with 74% of employees expressing a preference for remote work. And that opens up more opportunities for families to create flexible schedules that accommodate homeschooling.
More parents may adopt flexible work schedules to accommodate the demands of educating their children at home. And this creates an environment that promotes both professional productivity and effective learning.
At the same time, the rise of online learning offers new opportunities for asynchronous learning or studying different subjects. This suggests a future where successful homeschool strategies build on flexible, customized scheduling tailored to each family’s unique professional and educational needs and circumstances.
An Unbeatable Advantage
Flexible timetables are an unbeatable advantage for homeschooling families, particularly for working homeschool moms. They can help boost productivity, enrich the educational experience and help to maintain work-life equilibrium for families with full schedules.
In our own family, this flexibility has allowed me to homeschool for almost ten years while traveling, moving across the country, raising a chronically child, and building a busy online business.
Yet crafting a flexible schedule requires carefully considering your family’s particular needs and balancing various subjects with breaks and extracurricular activities. It’s important to recognize when to adjust your homeschool schedule to maintain harmony at home and to keep meeting homeschool and work goals. And remember, navigating potential challenges associated with flexible scheduling requires discipline, strategic planning, and self-care measures to avoid burnout.