So you’ve decided that you want to go back to school… but you don’t want to quit your job. After some research, you stumbled on the possibility of homeschooling yourself and have realized that this is the perfect solution for you. Perhaps you’ve even found the right curriculum now, or have enrolled already. Congratulations!

The next steps are difficult, but worth it in the end. You have to learn to motivate yourself, concentrate, and juggle your homeschooling efforts and career.

Remember to keep your priorities straight. If you have to choose between writing a test and going into work for overtime when you really need the money, if your top priority is to earn a living right now and keep your job, you might want to take the overtime shift and see if you can arrange an alternate test time with your facilitators. On the other hand, if you only have a part-time job and are secure enough in your living environment, consider turning down the shift if your education is that important to you. Either way, you will have to have a great commitment to your education if you want to succeed in homeschooling yourself.

Try to maintain a regular schedule if possible. “Normal” work weeks are conducive to this kind of schedule, which can help your body and mind get into healthy habits. For instance, if you work from 9-5 Monday to Friday, you might opt to spend a particular hour each night (7-8 PM, perhaps) on education. Remember to take advantage of your time before work and on lunch breaks, too. You can often squeeze quite a bit of learning in a short time. Flashcards can be reviewed while standing in a lineup at the bank, and you can listen to audio tapes for language learning during your morning and evening commutes.

Shift work is a little trickier to juggle with homeschooling. You will have to be more flexible and have a greater level of determination in order to make this work. When your mind isn’t in a set routine, it can be hard to settle down to do schoolwork at some seemingly random time. This is exactly what you’ll have to do, however. Try to keep it consistent even so; for example, if you never work during a particular time of day, you could schedule your “school time” at this time.

The support of others is another important factor in juggling your homeschooling and career. Your close friends and family members will need to know that you have less time available, and why, so they don’t think you hate them. If they aren’t likely to be supportive, however, you’ll want to delay telling them until you are confident in what you’re doing.

Homeschooling yourself while maintaining a career is a challenge, but you will learn many life skills and become a better, more well-rounded person once you manage to do so. These skills will transfer over into your work life, and your experience from your career will enrich your academic life.