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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m sharing tips and ideas that I’ve gleaned through my Working while Homeschooling time this past year. (If you would like to check out Day 1 of this series, please click here.)

TIP #1: BECOME A SCHEDULING QUEEN.

Welcome to the world of the hyper-scheduled! Really. Yeah, I know – this is one of the things I loved most about my homeschool life before working. How life was just allowed to more organically happen and wasn’t ruled by the Almighty-Calendar.

Yeah, that is over.

You need to get yourself the best organizational calendar program you can find. Digital, paper, whatever. I personally use a combination of both: Outlook for my job, Cozi as a family calendar (sharing everything with Hubby), and a hard copy organizer/planner that I love but keep forgetting to use and update. Way too many to deal with – but I can’t seem to let go of the paper planner. We also both have cheapie phones, so I don’t have a way of taking Cozi around with me when out, and hubby doesn’t always see my paper planner. So, until I come up with a better solution, this is what we’re stuck with. I really like Cozi for what it does. I wish PlannerPads would come out with a digital version of their calendar though! That would be my ideal.

In order for me to stay relatively sane, and not let balls drop, I have to keep my calendars hyper-organized and up-to-date. At least twice a month I will go through all the emails I have in-boxes (cause yeah, I have multiple email accounts to deal with now, too) and make sure everything is organized and added. EVERY LITTLE THING. Playdates, doctor appointments, going to the grocery store, everything.

On top of scheduling like a banshee, are routines. I had to create all new routines in order to get things done. Before this fall, when hubby worked late on Mondays, I took that evening to run errands like library trips and grocery shopping whenever possible. (I love that my favorite library is open late!) Now, we’re doing American Heritage Girls on Monday nights, so will have to work on creating a new routine for that this year.

I’m also working on helping my girls get more organized about their own routines. Instead of “chore charts” (I’m not a fan), I’ve created “Morning and Evening Routine Reminders” to help them remember what to do, hopefully with less nagging reminders from me. (I do plan to share that soon, as well!)

And hubby has also joined in on the bandwagon. He is actually remembering to add his own things to the Cozi calendar, and check there for the family schedule. And has adding “helping out a LOT more” to his own personal routines as well. But I promise, more on that later as well. Because our hubby’s deserve their own section!

Moral of this story: if it is not on my calendar, and not on my to-do list, IT WILL NOT GET DONE.

TIP #2: LEARN TO SAY NO. A LOT. LIKE ALL THE TIME. EVEN IF YOU DON’T WANT TO.

Here’s the thing. There are only so many hours in the day. And only so many days in the week. And only so many weeks in the month. And so on.

And there is just one you.

There are a lot of things you are going to have to give up if you want to homeschool and work. Currently I work between 20-30 hours per week. We homeschool from 9am-12pm, have 1/2 hour for lunch, and then I work from 12:30pm-5pm every day. At five, I start dinner, rush around trying to clean the kitchen or whatever can be cleaned in that half-hour, and when hubby arrives home we eat dinner. The girls go to bed between 7:30pm-8pm and then I get back on the laptop to pretend to work some more (or that’s the idea).

That doesn’t leave a lot of time for extras.

We don’t do many afternoon activities – because I have to work. Play dates are ew and far between. We do field trips, but there are few of those during the week. Most of those last a full day –  and I have to work. Mainly they happen on weekends, with Daddy, when I have a work engagement on the weekends. All field trips are planned and scheduled far in advance, so I can organize my work schedule around them.

We do not do co-ops. The co-ops for younger children in our area really tend to be “elective” type courses, and also require the parent to teach/volunteer. I personally don’t want to volunteer for those, and I don’t have time to waste doing lesson plans for random electives.

There is little “free” time for me as well. Any time I have free is already well – accounted for with a mile-long to do list, or cleaning.

So, you have to start saying no all the time to others, even when there are fabulous ideas floating around, and things you would really LIKE to do, but know you will really never get it done. There are others who can and maybe should do it. But right now? It’s not me. If it’s not work or homeschool, it’s a very low chance I’ll say yes.

Bottom line: You have to GUARD YOUR TIME. Because it is precious and fleeting.

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