I’m sure seasoned homeschool Moms will see newbie mistakes all over my experience, but I am a newbie! 😀
My sister Vanessa and I have had several conversations about how we were going to work AND homeschool at the same time. I casually said, “TONS of people do it, we’ll be fine”.
It has taken some adjusting and to be completely honest, I am still smack in the middle of adjustment time. I need to get about 4 hours of work in a day. That sounds simple yes? It is on paper! The plan is to wake up at 5am. Complete my morning routine and work from 5:30-8am. (2.5 hours) Work for about 30 minutes in the afternoon sometime when the kids are occupied and then have an additional 1-2 hours to work after the kids go to bed.
I was going to ROCK this!
Let’s start with the 5am wake-up call… Up until this point I have been a night owl. Staying up until midnight and waking up at 8am. YES. I apologize in advance. I know this is incredibly luxurious. The kids got themselves ready for school. I would join them for breakfast, spend some time chatting with them and bring them to school. On most mornings, my husband drove so that he could get extra time with them since he works mostly nights. I worked until 4 pm when the kids were dropped off and then I would put in an addition couple of hours after they went to bed.
What I failed to notice with my new work schedule is that I was moving from a 10 hour work day to a 4 hour work day. Somehow in all the hustle and bustle this MAJOR fact eluded the logic part of my brain and I didn’t “see” a transition coming.
We started homeschool in mid-July. Within the first few days it was apparent that my to-do list was sorely unchecked. I was staying up late and then trying to get up early as well. We all know that isn’t going to help. I was adjusting to becoming a teacher, having the family home all the time and launching two new websites.
In general, I have found that there is no more multitasking allowed in my life. For the time being at least.
No work during school time.
I was trying to sneak in a task here, or an email there when the kids were working on a task. I feel that I may be able to do this down the line at some point, but right now… no. It’s not the task itself that is currently the problem. It is the mental shift from work to school that was exhausting me.
Enlisted the kids to help more.
One word LAUNDRY.
Laundry is our thing. If it starts to pile up, the rest of our house follows. I’m not sure what it is. When everyone at home, it seems that we are going through laundry 3 times faster than before. I couldn’t keep up!
My oldest is now tall enough to help move laundry from the washer to the dryer. SCORE! His new responsibility is to start the laundry and move it to the dryer. My youngest son takes it out of the dryer and brings it to our folding area. Also known to us as our coffee table. I fold. They can fold, but I just prefer to do it. Weird? Probably. Then we all put our clothes away. This little shift has helped me feel that laundry is not such a burden and it is not always hanging over my head.
A weekly to-do list. NOT daily.
I have noticed that I can not measure my productivity on a daily basis anymore. It just doesn’t work. Some days are more productive than others no matter what efforts I put towards them. After weeks of frustration and a few pity parties, I remembered the Toddler Diet Rule. Do not look at your toddler’s diet on a daily basis. Average it out over the week. Somedays they will only eat crackers and drive you insane. 2 days later? They will eat all those veggies you had begged them to eat a mere 48 hours ago. My pediatrician said, “as long as they have a balanced week, they will be fine.” That was very freeing information way back when and it now applies to my work life.
I am currently making to-do lists for everything I do at work. Taking the thought process out of “:what to do next” is helping me work through my tasks faster. I don’t have to worry about if I missed anything either. I am learning that some tasks are better knocked out during the morning work slot and some just need to wait until the evening.
GRACE and SLOWING DOWN
I am trying to give myself some grace. I am adjusting from having all the time in the world to a very regimented work schedule. I am learning how to homeschool and adjusting to a new family life. I love it all. I am trying to avoid the temptation to run myself ragged and instead focusing on getting a good night’s sleep and staying in the moment. One task at a time. It is so easy to make a mistake at work because you were answering a homeschool question or get frustrated because you “just want to answer an email” but the kids need help with math. I believe that if I am able to focus on the task at hand, and only that task. I will be more efficient.