By Molly Aley
"You want to home school your children AND run a home business? And you think you can do both of those things-and do them well?"
The answer to that question is a resounding YES! There is no reason why you cannot home educate and have a thriving home business at the very same time. What is one very important ingredient that you must have to be successful at both?
Time Management Skills!
Now is NOT the time to throw organization to the wind. Many ignore simple planning methods, simply because they feel too busy to work on creating a daily schedule. But the exact opposite is true. A good implemented plan will GIVE them so much more time! As a home schooling parent and a home businessperson, you will HAVE to have an orderly schedule for each day in order to fulfill all the obligations on your plate. (A Day Planner or good calendar is a must)!
Having a scheduled day does NOT mean that creativity and/or spontaneity is dumped in the trash bin. Quite the opposite. An orderly schedule ensures that spontaneity can arise without wrecking havoc with the rest of the day's obligations! It provides you the ability to be creative, without sacrificing your family's needs at the same time.
Avail yourself to the numerous time management resources that there are out there-free for the taking, including books at your local library. You will be encouraged, even if you don't adopt their particular approach, and
Some things you will want to schedule:
Household chores-both yours and the children's. ...Yes, yours AND the children's. Our policy is: When you're old enough to dump out a toy bin, you are old enough to clean it up! Of course we make it fun for the little ones (and of course it takes three times longer to help them learn to do it than it would if I just did it myself), but it's important to us that we all learn to clean up after ourselves.
By the time the children are 5 years old, they are capable of doing so many household chores--and they don't whine about it, because they consider it all perfectly normal! They are praised for their accomplishments too--work is seen as an honored privilege, not something to complain about. Of course, that only works if that's the attitude YOU have toward work. If Mom is complaining every time she does a load of dishes, then don't be surprised when the children take on the same attitude when you ask them to fold towels!
One warning: Do not attempt to schedule in your husbands chores, unless he specifically requests for you to do so. We have found that scheduling a husband makes for more difficulties in a marriage than it does help! Let your husband decide for himself whether or not he wants to get in on this scheduling thing-and in what manner. Be thankful for what he DOES contribute (however big or small), and our experience has shown that an appreciative attitude will be the best thing you can do in encouraging him to contribute more.
School Work-There are so many different methods of home education that I won't try and tell you how to specifically schedule in your style. But regardless of your particular style of home schooling, the work won't get done if there isn't a designated time to do it. We prefer to set aside 3 hours for "school" every morning after breakfast-an hour for math, an hour for writing, logic, and other such tasks (puzzles, learning games, art projects for the little ones), and an hour for educational reading (good living books full of history, philosophy, etc). We got the idea from Dr. A. Robinson, a scientist who's children, might I add, all went on to get scholarships to MIT, get almost perfect scores on their SATS, etc...
Those three hours are serious school time-and the children get more accomplished during those three hours than they ever would during a typical eight-hour public school day! Thus, school doesn't drag on and on, boring everyone to tears and putting more demands on me than I can meet.and yet enough time is given (and taken seriously) that we are able to accomplish quite a bit more than you'd think possible! Late afternoon hours are for scheduling in the more social activities--music lessons, sports, library trips, etc...as you see fit.
Business Time-You have to set some "office hours" for your business, or you'll rarely work your business. For me, my office hours are the wee hours of the morning, before the children arise, and the one hour each early afternoon when we have our "Rest Time." The little ones take naps, and the older ones have a "lie down" period where they can read silently, and/or listen to a story tape (we are huge fans of Patch the Pirate, by the way!) or classical music-something relaxing.
Their Rest Time is also my Office Time, where I make my phone calls, do my computer work, coaching my clients, working with my business team, etc. The children benefit from having a time each day to mellow out, and our business is able to grow-maybe not as fast as it would if I could put in 8 hours a day, but it DOES grow!
My priorities are as follows:
1.) My God (or whatever that means to you)
2.) My husband
3.) My children
4.) My business
When I put my business first, everything else suffers. It can be tempting to do, but I'd recommend NOT even "going there." In my opinion, more important than a monthly check is a healthy spiritual life, having a happy husband and a good marriage, and growing thriving children. And the funny thing is, that even though my business receives approximately 2 hours of my time each day, which is not a lot of time, it's growth has much faster than we'd expected! Those two small hours are taken seriously, and I use them as efficiently as I can.and the business grows, step by little step, paycheck by increasing paycheck. Yes!
Some of you might not suffer from putting your business ahead of other priorities. In face, some of you may suffer from not putting your business anywhere at all! That's fine.if you don't ever want anything to happen with your business, that is. Let me explain. We home schooling parents are BUSY people. We have so many demands on our day that often, the loudest voice wins. Therefore, if you don't put your business SOMEWHERE in your schedule, you will rarely work your business, if ever.which translates into very little money made.
You know what your business goals are, right? Make sure they are reasonable, and then.make sure you provide yourself the time to make those goals come to life! Even a half hour a day is something-and that small investment of your time (day in, day out, when it's fun and when it's not) will help your business grow.
Home schooling your children and running a successful home business, all at the same time? Yes, it takes disciplined effort, but YES, it CAN happen!
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