For many parents, the decision to homeschool is about the preservation of cultural, social, and spiritual priorities within their children’s lives. Regardless, many find it difficult to develop and sustain a routine that offers children the skills they need, while keeping them engaged. Add to that, the necessary attention it takes to nurture a small business, and there’s a recipe for disorganization, stress, and the discouraging feeling of overwhelm.
Thankfully, many families have learned how to manage the unique design of a life that includes at-home educating and entrepreneurship. Among the primary concerns for homeschooling entrepreneurs, is of course, the sacred sanity of the parents. Though there is not one unique set of rules that will work for every family, the following rules may just shed some light on how to stay sane while taking on the honorable task of helping children flourish through personalized attention and customized at-home education.
Rule No. 1: Be Flexible, Not Forceful
This is a tough rule for many parents, but well worth the effort. Remember that most children are not likely to follow a structured routine, so parents’ expectations should match that reality. Instead of setting a rigid schedule with set tasks during specific blocks of time, consider focusing on one or two topics each day, and giving children the room to do some pre-determined exercises, and to feel their own way through the material as well.
Though children in a traditional school setting can cover as many as 5-6 topics per day, the home environment lends itself to deeper exploration of each topic, which can help children take personal interest in what they’re learning. Personal interest means a greater capacity to learn and retain important information. So go ahead, create a curriculum, set the expectations, but leave plenty of space for children to process the information, and to develop a sense of engagement with whatever they’re learning.
Rule No. 2: Consider a Hybrid of Parental and Digital Guidance
We live in a time when teachers, tutors, and trainers don’t have to be in the same geographic location. There are virtual academies and virtual tutoring services that offer interactive video lessons for topics ranging from history and math, to guitar and yoga. Instead of going solely by a pre-set curriculum, savvy homeschooling entrepreneurs take advantage of the well-qualified individuals and organizations that offer online lessons and activities. Parents can schedule important business calls or blocks of work time during their children’s digital lessons. Many states have virtual schools and cyber academies that offer great opportunities for students to engage in fun online lessons. While children are online, parents can manage their business priorities, and schedule time to review lessons with their children and add their own lessons at their convenience.
Rule No. 3: Take Your Children To Work With You
What better opportunity to impart your constantly expanding wisdom of self-employment to your children than including them in aspects of your day! Setting aside as little at 10 hours per week to show your children some aspects of entrepreneurship offers relevant life lessons with the benefits of early exposure. Working on a contract? Show them how it’s done too. Print out a copy just for them, and go through the process together. Need to comb through your files for a particular set of documents? Why not give your child a chance to earn extra cash by assigning them the task of locating that document? Remember that learning doesn’t just take place at a desk or during the review of a lesson designed specifically for children. You may be taking your many skills for granted, and recognizing that can often remove some of the pressure that comes with finding ways to keep your children engaged while getting your work done too.
Life itself, particularly the entrepreneurial process is ripe with opportunities to explore various topics. Allow your children to be part of your life, instead of just looking at ways to be part of theirs. Exposing them to the intricacies of your day can help them to develop their own relationship with self-employment and basic business principles, and those skills translate well both in social and academic settings. So, be flexible, create a digital community to support your at-home efforts, and remember that your work can offer fertile ground to reinforce the life skills your children will need to flourish in any environment.
About the author: Akilah S. Richards co-founded The Life Design Agency to help entrepreneurs discover, design and express their unique products and services. Akilah works primarily with women on the emotional and spiritual life components.