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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

How to Work and Teach Your Kids at Home Without Going Insane

By Kerrie McLoughlin

Overwhelming, stressful, and challenging are just a few of the words that can describe working from home while homeschooling. Not only can you survive this unprecedented time, but also you can join the ranks of those who are thriving! Here’s how.

1. Go easy on yourself. No comparing. This includes getting rid of any Mom Guilt about your kids being on screens too much. Sarah Lyons, a writer-mom of six, says, “I think the most helpful thing I’ve learned is that your best is enough. It’s okay if you have to let some things go (housework), and it’s okay if you are working at your own pace. Just doing your best and being aware of what your kids can handle is more important. Don’t compare yourself to others, just do what works for your family.”

2. Carve out your workspace. I’ve always preferred to work at the dining room table so I can see what’s going on at all times. When it’s mealtime, it’s easy to move my laptop over to a small nearby bookshelf, where I keep anything I need for work and homeschooling. However, there are times when I need a place to focus for a while, and that’s when I move my little operation down to the storage room, where there’s a Formica table, chair, plenty of light, and quiet. Maybe you even have a real, separate office in your home, and in that case, fantastic!

3. Create and post a routine. While schedules are rigid and only induce more stress, a routine lets everyone know what’s coming next, so arguments and feet-dragging diminish. My family sleeps late, which means I work in the mornings. Then I put work away to focus on homeschooling until 3 p.m. so my kids know I am entirely available to them. They know when TV time starts at night, what their chores are, and when I’m available for requests. You might work best at night, on weekends, or maybe you work well in 30-minute increments every day, task-switching between homeschooling and work. But…

4. Routines will get disrupted. Some days homeschooling will be thrown off course. You may have to work overtime, or your child may get sick and your job will have to be put on hold. But it all evens out in the end. You are not going to be caught up on the latest season of anything; you might not have much time to read; and your social media perusing might be non-existent, except for during school breaks. Just know that there’s going to be a lot of juggling, pivoting, and communicating.

5. Everyone pitches in. Slap up a rough draft of a chore chart as fast as you can, then tweak it as the whining (from kids and spouse!) begins. This way, everyone sees what needs to be done on what days. This takes decision-making out of your court as you simply point to the chart.

6. Solve the daily dinner dilemma. Creating an easy, rotating meal plan will be the best thing you ever did. Take full advantage of the slow cooker, grocery delivery, and leftover and delivery nights. If you have older kids, now is the time to teach them how to toss together a casserole and pop it in the oven while you finish up that last bit of work. Prep meals on weekends and always remember that, if you made dinner, you don’t have to clean it up. While your family tidies up the kitchen, you can get back to your job, help the kids with their homework, or heck, even take a well-deserved shower! Pam Barnhill, of the Homeschool Solutions podcast, has a course called Put Your Meal Plan on Autopilot that’s worth checking out. See

7. Practice saying no. You are at home, so there will be people who expect you to accept them as a drop-in visitor, answer every text in a timely manner, and sign up for all the church and sports volunteer positions. Make your routine clear to anyone who should know, then sit back and say no as often as you need to so you can maintain your sanity, marriage, and family time.

Don’t forget to take to heart what June from the blog This Simple Balance says: “Give yourself so much grace to try different things until you find the right balance and routines that work for your unique family.” 

Kerrie McLoughlin ( has been working from home for 19 years and homeschooling for 14 years.