Balancing Homeschool and Running a Business

How do I school my children and keep up the housework? This question has long baffled homeschooling families for many years. In fact, this was recently asked in a homeschooling group by a family already homeschooling. Evidently, many are still trying to find the answer to how to manage many priorities that we have as families.

I understand the urgency of this question because this was a great concern for me, it dominated much of my conversation with a friend who was helping me put the pieces together to ensure I had what I needed before starting homeschooling.

After countless hours and phone calls, I was able to adjust my mindset to ensure success.

Several years on I am homeschooling three children while running a business from home. Managing the needs of the school and the company has been a challenge, but as a family, we work together to accomplish our goals. Every family is different, and the needs of each will vary, but I wanted to share some principles that we follow to ensure that both can thrive.

Scheduling

Having time to do each task is crucial to the success of homeschool and business. I am an organised person generally, but having to run a business and homeschool call for a different level of organisation.

I have set anchor for my days, which helped with ensuring the needs of the children are met and the business succeeds.

My anchors are worship times, meal times, and family time. Everyone knows these terms, and we all work together to ensure that we stay on schedule as much as possible. School is the first half of the day and work the second half, when the children are catching up on the task of doing a project.

Household chores

We undertake household chores together; we all have a task, and the family members work together to ensure chores get done. The children have been trained all their lives to help. They have always had a unique, age-appropriate task to do.

I have a special day to wash and clean, and try to stay within these parameters. I use time as efficiently as I can, which helps me accomplish the task set for myself that day. I often batch cook meals and freeze; I also make dinner while making breakfast. Meal prep help saves time at the other end of the day.

Connecting

As a busy family travelling, speaking, running a business, and homeschooling, life can be hectic; it is easy at these times to be focused on meeting deadlines and accomplishing a task, and miss out on good emotional connection with each other. For example, it can be easy to give a task to the children and not connect with them emotionally. We guard family time and special one on one time with the children. The individual moments ensure connection and send a message of love and acceptance.

Managing the needs of a family and business can be challenging; homeschooling adds another dimension that can sometimes be overwhelming. Take special times to relax, laugh, and play.

Service Can Be Fun And Exciting

A fun way to keep children stimulated, entertained, and engaged is to tell them stories about missionaries. The sense of danger and intrigue will give them a desire to want to know more, and you will plant a seed that could produce a harvest not only in this life but the one to come.

I grew up hearing amazing stories about missionaries, every Friday evening after family worship we would gather around our father as he told stories of extraordinary escapes or protection of missionaries in faraway places.

Following those stories, I would to go to bed content and excited. As we matured my siblings and I never formally verbalised a love for or any intent in becoming missionaries. Nevertheless, my sister has been serving in South America for the past five years. My children get to hear stories of God’s exceptional protection and provision from their aunt, and they love it.

As my children grow, they are each developing a servant’s heart. I taught them to love and respect people no matter who they are. They have a particular burden for the homeless. While living in the city, they joined a homeless ministry and took part in serving food to the homeless once per week. We relocated, and they miss the opportunity and talk of it often.

One Saturday night on our way home from a speaking appointment, we passed a fun fair and a football match, and our eldest son, the self-appointed spokesperson for the children, asked why we could not attend football matches and fun fairs. He expressed feelings of boredom. We prayerfully and patiently explained being stewards of time and money, and the environment that will be conducive to developing healthy Christian characters.

An Opportunity
We went shopping, and as we left the store, we passed a homeless couple. Forgetting their previous conversation of boredom, they asked for money to give the couple. However, my eldest son wanted to do more, and Dad accompanied him to speak to the couple to identify any needs that we could meet. They were able to purchase the requested items. The children were content for the rest of the evening and forgot their earlier complaint of boredom.

We learned that…
• Opportunities for service are all around us.
• Teaching children early to serve will encourage service to be a natural part of their character as they grow.
• Service can be fun and exciting.
• Service benefits both the one receiving and the person doing the giving.

Difficult Conversations

Raising my children in a world where knowledge is rapidly increasing I need to make sure that they have the skills to manoeuvre.  It is important that they can make right decisions on their own.

As they grew, I noticed my son the extrovert loves being around people, but he was also mirroring some of the behaviours of his friends. My daughter liked to people-please too.  Helping them to change and become more confident among their peers was going to take more than telling them. There was a deliberate process that I needed to follow, because I needed to give them the tools they would need to make good decisions.

Building an atmosphere of trust

I wanted them to trust me with the information they were learning while with friends. However, it was more than asking them to share. I had to be purposeful in constructing the kind of relationship that would help them feel safe enough to share everything with me.

Age-appropriate conversations

I began by having age appropriate discussions about a variety of subjects. At about age five a friend introduced them to the word “sex.” My son came home and asked me what it meant.

It was that moment for a parent where you battle between panic and disappointment. I was going to have a conversation earlier than I wanted to, and disappointed that he was introduced to it before I thought appropriate.

I was homeschooling partly to shield them from unfavourable influences. I wanted my husband and myself, as much as possible, to be the ones teaching and giving this kind of knowledge.

We talked about appropriate words. I used the analogy of going to the supermarket and paying the cashier after we have finished picking up our groceries. I stressed that we didn’t pay before because that would be the wrong way round. I assured him that while sex is not a bad word, it was not a word for children to be using, and asked him to trust that Mommy would talk to him about it when the time was right. He promised to wait to speak to me.

As a parent, having these conversations can be hard. Since that day I have had many conversations where I am terrified inside while remaining calm on the outside.

I do not shame or interrogate. I asked questions and have discussions in a non-threatening way.

It is important when dealing with difficult subjects to keep the lines of communication open. An honest conversation conveys comfort and safety.

Ask open questions and use active listening skills, such as paraphrasing and summarizing.  Active listening will communicate your understanding and give them the feeling of being heard.

Our formative years greatly impact the way we parent. If you are aware of unresolved childhood challenges, it is important to get support to work through them. Use support that is safe and non-judgmental. 

Developing a relationship of trust and openness with children is long-term work. However, it is well worth the investment.