I am convinced that if someone came across my daily task list, they would assume it was a quarterly activity report for a small village.

They’d be shocked to see that village being run by a braid wearing, camera obsessed, loud mouth soccer momma wearing biker shorts, a graphic Tee, and a vegan leather fanny pack. My name is LaVonda and welcome to my village, a.k.a the hot mess, wild & free express. But even the hot mess express needs a little bit of structure! I’m going to dive into how I homeschool while running a business. For context, we are going into our 7th year of homeschooling! That’s insane even typing. I never imagined being here. Now that I am, I can not imagine ever doing anything different. I’m so tempted to breakdown our “why” for homeschooling but I want to save that for its own separate blog. It’s too important. For now, let's go over my 7 best detailed tips for homeschooling while running a business.

1. Find a foundation mentor - If you're wondering "does she mean a business mentor or a homeschool mentor?" Then yes; the answer is YES. Myth: once you decide to homeschool, you’re on your own. Fact: Back in the day women would homeschool on the streets and in church houses in groups and small communities; so why should we start isolating now? I have a marketing coach and hired a mentor when I was first starting out in my business. So many of us set up our business questions asking about sales, equipment, or how to get costumers. We forget to ask "How do you manage your time?" "How do you set work life boundaries?" In the same way approach homeschool unafraid to ask for help and guidance! No space for pride and ego in homeschooling. For a mentor look for someone in your area who has a few years of experience under their belt. Make sure it's someone willing to listen and equip you; not just tell you what to do. Please know that I mean a legit mentor. Different from just a friend who also homeschools. This is someone willing to invest hours into your homeschool journey. A large primary meeting and someone you can reach out to through your first year. You are not looking for perfection you are looking for guidance and support! If you don’t know where to start, ask your accountability group to refer you to someone or choose an accountability group that offers homeschool mentoring.


Accountability Group: In many states you can’t just decide you want to homeschool and not tell anyone. You need to be under a legal accountability group that alerts the district of your decision to homeschool and tracks your progress. How much they track is completely up to you. South Carolina has 3 options for accountability groups. They are simply called Option 1, Option 2, and Option 3. My family is a part of an accountability group that supports Option 3 which is the most hands-off option of the 3. I check in at the beginning of the year and end of the year. Registration is every June 1st. You can register before or after if you are beginning later in the year. Returning families wishing to stay current must renew every year by June 1st. I agree to teach a minimum of 180 days and keep midterm and end of year reports along with examples of my children’s work. There are a few other rules like you must have at least a high school education to homeschool but that’s the gist of things.

2. Do not do it alone! Unless you're in an extremely rural area, find your people, find your tribe! As listed above, though I'm a solo business owner I also have help running the business. Mentor, marketing and sales coach, accountant, associate and second shooters, and I'll be bringing on a Bookkepper in the near future! On the homeschool front partnership in multi-parent households is key! My husband, the bestie, is the most incredible partner when it comes to homeschooling. He trusted me from the beginning when I decided I wanted to homeschool because he saw me research, spend months learning and creating a space for our first born, and he knew I was following my heart not a trend. We share our homeschool duties in a non-balanced, unique way. It’s called “tag you’re it!” Ha, for real though. I love teaching our kids and when I realized the subjects I do not enjoy I simply said, “Hey Hubby, catch!” I’m serious y’all; I threw the Math and History books right at him. You know what happened. He didn’t ask “What am I supposed to do?”, like me, he just researched, read, and figured it out! That’s the kind of partnership you need to have going in to homeschooling in a two-parent household.

Co-ops: a group of homseschoolers, sometimes untamed, in your area that meet up to do some kind of structured or non-structured classes/learning experiences together. We are a part of a co-op that meets once a week. We meet in a church with classrooms and our kids get to learn a variety of things like Oregon Trail simulation, book clubs, Junior Engineering, Chemistry, World of Wonders, and more. Now you might be like, ‘um hello… that sounds a lot like traditional school.' If you visited, you would see that vast contrast. Our classes are conversational. Almost every class is hands on, discussion based, activity focused, or outside. The nature group I taught spent 20 mins inside learning a different bird, their diet, and habitat each week; then the next 30 mins or so outside exploring nature through binoculars and games.

Field trips: Us homeschoolers LOVE our field trip days! Trust me! No shade but we often can’t wait until the public schooler go back to school so we can run through the less crowded museums and sanctuaries during the school year.

Online communities! Just make sure to follow accounts that align with your homeschool style and morals! When I first decided to STOP relaxing my hair over 11 years ago (don't worry the story is relevant - it'll make sense) I kept sending pictures to a curly hair friend of mine for advice. How do I get my hair to do this, to curl like these girls, to get that pattern!? To my surprise she responded "I only follow curly hair inspiration account that have my same curl pattern and also are close to my culture and race.” It was like a lightbulb when off in my head. I had been so frustrated with my failed attempts to achieve my goal pattern that I hadn’t stopped to realize a few deciding factors. A lot of the curl pattern girlies I had been looking up to were biracial or Hispanic women that live in different countries. Why does this matter? Well for starters I’m a black woman living in southern America. The goal was natural hair. Following accounts and magazines of hair types and cultures that I could literally never aspire to only made me feel like I was somehow failing in my journey. So...Homeschooling is the goal! I am a black, pro-culture based education, southern and coastal living, conversational teaching, nature loving momma. If I only follow strict, highly scheduled, memorization based, online and screen focused homeschoolers, I am never going to reflect what I see online in my own home. Insert feelings of inadequacy and comparison. If you see a momma that is crushing it but in a completely different situation, style, hemisphere than you; maybe save a few of her post and come back to follow her in year 2. I promise you removing comparison will be your biggest battle in year 1.

Branding Photo by Cameron Wilder Photo

3. Block scheduling will save your life! Allow everything to have its moment. Most of us can block off our days and we don’t realize it. Morning prep, commute, work, tasks/to dos, commute, extracurriculars, prep, night routine. Sounding familiar? Well, the same can be said for work & homeschool scheduling. Blocks have saved my life! I Implement this in my business as well and it helps me to stay motivated because I know what’s next, for how long, and what specific tasks I’m looking to tackle. I appreciate waking up in the morning and starting my morning by making my first block Faith & Fitness. This works best for me to do this before anyone is my house is awake. I don't have to do be available to others I can fill my own cup FIRST so that I can best serve my business and my family. Then I move on to my second block which is breakfast & buisiness part 1. This block is done right before I wake my kiddos up to start our day. I make this the brain space block. I get the tasks done that would otherwise keep my distracted from our homeschool day. Things like answering the email of a high priority clients, completing a deadline early, brain dumping, or publishing my blog for the day. This block is essential to a productive business day.

Next up is third block Homeschool. This can be broken down into it's own blocks as well. By time of day or subject. Morning block, post lunch block, end of day block. We tend to do ours by subject. I always start our day with the subjects that provoke deep thought and visualization; and pair that with faith study. For us these are sciences and social studies. We do Science/Social Studies and Bible in our block one for both boys. On Mondays and Wednesday we add in Art to block 1 of homeschooling. Next up is our Language Arts Block which includes our core Language Arts lesson along with reading and writing (and typing for my 6th grader). Block 3 consist of Math and end of day wrap up. Math is my oldest son’s least favorite subject so I save it for the end of the day after lunch and our play time refresher. No sense tackling a sore subject first this in the a.m. or in the middle of your fun day. When they get to Math he knows there’s nothing after this and if it’s tough at least he can go play lego or go for a swim right after. During their school time and their independent work I use to answer emails quick or work on social media management. Now I’ve learned the daily flow works better if I let homeschool be homeschool. Not homeschool and blogging, or homeschool and emails. But HOMESCHOOL.

4. Multitasking during LOW priority tasks ONLY. Ummmm LaVonda, Hello! Did you not just say “Allow everything to have its moment.” Hear me out. Unpopular opinion: multitasking isn't always a positive thing. If nothing in your life is getting your full attention in a given moment are you really giving your all? So what's the compromise? ONLY mulitasking during LOW priority tasks (typing, independent reading, journaling) I not going to be sending emails during my kid’s core History lesson. But if my kids are doing 20mins of independent reading and I want to read my High Performance Habits book for 20mins then I will definitely do that. I know that as a solo business owner sometimes there will be a response needed during our homeschool time. That’s when I look for low priority moments. If my son is practicing typing, which my other takes a break during, I will then answer what’s urgent. Do NOT trade low priority for low or lower priority. If I am called to business during homeschool, it needs to be at a more important level than my current task. Is “can my cousin shadow you during the wedding?” more important than my child learning his multiplication? No, also the answer is no because I want my focus to be on serving my clients not on teaching or education. Shameless plug – I offer mentor sessions! Trade up babes, never get distracted by lower priority. Your kids are watching you prioritize whether you know it or not.

Branding Photo by Cameron Wilder Photo

5. Be clear on your goals –Just as you likely didn't start a business without a goal or plan don't try to just jump into homeschooling head first. Homeschooling is our objective, what is your GOAL? To teach your kid’s truth? Why? What are your aspirations for your children’s education and learning environment? Photography is my goal and my objective. To document lasting, intimate and personal memories through photographic art and expression. Why? What are the goals for how you feel running your business and how your clients feel as a part of your business? Check out my last blog The Moments: My Vision for my why. When you know these answers, you will move accordingly.

6. Checklists - plan ahead! This helps progress flow! I use THIS school planner from Anthropologie. I like it because I can track both of my kid's days side by side. For day to day I spend my Sunday evenings going over the plans and flow for the week ahead. For business tracking I use The Organized Photographer products by Emily Magers. and for personal the self-care planner.

7 Track - keep track of everything! You legally have to, remember! I track sales and expenses using QuickBooks. For homeschooling I journal and take lots of notes. That's how I saw the patterns between how my oldest and I bumped heads during Math or how boring I felt history was. I've grown to like it again. I track my mental and physical health through the self-care planner (this is where my checklists go as well) and use apps like Alive by Whitney Simmons and MapMyRun to track fitness. Tracking also helps you feel accomplished. Every time you check something off, big or small, it sends positive vibes through your brain's waves... I just made that up; but tell me checking off your daily goals doesn't make you feel like a total boss!

Whew this one was packed full of info that I hope you found helpful. Now go flood my DMs with all your questions about the parts I didn’t get to! Business, personal, or homeschool related! I'm an open book! What are you most looking forward to implementing? How can I help you narrow down your why in your business and homeschool journey? I already have a meeting with a friend next Friday to chat all things business momma meets homeschool momma!