I’ve been working at home for 10 years and homeschooling for 8. I keep a somewhat clean house. My hubby is often gone for long stretches and some overnights. Here’s my secret: I don’t do it all at once – or perfectly. Priorities matter.
I don’t get it all done. And I do chores as they make sense. I sweep our downstairs once a day. I clean bathrooms as I’m getting ready for the day. I keep meals really simple during the week.
What DOES work when you’re working at home with kids:
- Getting up at least an hour before my kids.
- Working during my set work hours and not during school times.
- Lowering my expectations about housework and homeschool.
- Making a few points in my week to connect with my kids (Wednesday afternoons park and library trips, slower or field trip Fridays, teaching them something fun instead of hitting skills super hard every day.)
- Audiobooks and podcasts in the car – when we have a longish drive, we listen to a chapter or 30 minutes and then take a break. Repeat. Lots of learning and conversations here.
- When a kid is having a bad attitude, I try to connect with them.
- Strict limits on devices. I have them all locked down and can block them out at any time.
- Keeping things really simple. Less clothes, less stuff, deep cleaning every couple of weeks.
- Involving tech smartly in our school. I put my big kid online for math this year. I let one kid practice reading skills and math skills on our iPad when I need to work with another kid. I also have my kids watch documentaries and movies with a message sometimes.
- Really connecting at bedtime. I read the most at night putting them to bed.
- If we read more than watch TV, I’m happy. Books are the best.
- A planning period on Sunday.
- Using weekends for catching up on chores.
What DOESNT work when you work at home with kids:
- Perfect planning (it doesn’t work because life happens).
- Taking calls during school (I have to focus or we all get frustrated.)
- Doing too much outside the house (Our job is school. We take great vacations and breaks. If we don’t do all the field trips, who cares?)
- Eating extravagant meals. I do some freezer cooking and we eat about the same meals every week. This makes shopping and cooking easy.
- Expecting my kids to have too much independence.
- Not relying on my kids enough. They are SO capable when you don’t listen to the whining.
- Don’t give into every “I’m bored” groan. Make suggestions, and they’ll find something to do.
- Don’t bathe kids every day. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier in my life. It’s a big job to bathe everyone every day. We aim for clean faces, ears, clothes, and teeth.
I hope this post blesses you because working at home with kids is a challenge and a joy. What did I miss? Tell me about it in the comments!