Yes! You CAN Work Full Time and Homeschool Your Children
Maybe you’re here because you work full time but you’re interested in homeschooling. Maybe you already homeschool but you need to work outside of the home. No matter your situation I have great news. You can work full time and homeschool!
Yes, even if both parents work full time or if you’re a single parent who works full time.
No, it doesn’t require you to work full time from home. Of course, as a mom who now works full time from home, I agree it’s definitely easier that way.
Working from home isn’t an immediate option for everyone, though. It wasn’t an option for me right away either. I worked outside of the home for over three years years before I was able to work for myself from home.
Here’s how my family homeschooled with two parents who worked full-time. (Oh, and we both had part-time side gigs, too!)
How I Worked Full Time and Homeschooled My Children
We’d been homeschooling for five years when I started a full-time job outside of the home. Our family decided to continue homeschooling instead of sending our children to public school.
Our previous arrangement was ideal for home schooling. I was self-employed part-time and a part-time family therapist. I could set my own schedule. My husband worked third shift so at least one of us was home with our children at all times.
Eventually we realized our overall quality of life was less than ideal, in large part due to our professions. So, we made some changes.
I left my career as a family therapist and started a job closer to home. My husband made the switch from a 3rd-shift-seven-days-per-week
indentured servitude job to a healthier 7-4, M-F gig.
When our careers changed we assured ourselves and our children that we could work full-time and still homeschool.
Frankly, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out. It was a leap of faith.
Fortunately, it worked very well for our family.
These are the lessons we learned and how we worked full time and homeschooled for over three years.
You Can’t Do It All On Your Own
It would be a lie to say we had no help with schooling our kids while we worked.
While I was at work, our youngest son stayed with a wonderful care provider who was homeschooled as a child and had four children of her own. She understood our family’s situation and our goals.
We were grateful to have a caregiver who understood our desire to continue homeschooling and was willing to help us by working with our son on his school work.
My older two sons were able to work more independently. They had less structured caregivers who were mainly there for emergencies.
Depending on the ages of your children, hiring someone to help with the homeschooling or to oversee more independent work is vital.
Be aware of the laws in your state, which may require homeschooling parents to provide a specific percentage of the educational instruction.
Ask for Flexibility With Your Job
After I worked at my new job for a couple of years I worked out an arrangement with my boss so I could work from home a couple of days per week. (I wrote an article a while ago about how to ask your boss to work from home.)
My family kept the same schedule every day, whether I was working from my home office or my office at work. That was crucial to keeping us all on track.
Maybe you can work irregular hours that allow for one parent or the other to be with the children at all times.
In addition, you might work weekends in exchange for weekdays off.
Focus on Independent Learning
If your children are older independent learning can help you manage working full-time and homeschooling.
For language arts and math, we used Time4Learning, which is an internet-based curriculum. Time4Learning both teaches and provides learning activities, quizzes and tests.
Time4Learning allowed me to see the areas my boys sailed through and the areas that needed a little more help from me.
I don’t usually test my children, nor does my state require it, but I used the Time4Learning tests to gauge their progress.
Another wonderful tool we use to make homeschooling and working full-time possible was technology such as Netflix and podcasts.
We unschool science but it’s one of the most important subjects my children learn. We have a strong science-focus in our home and Netflix has been a big part of our science learning over the years.
For example, when we learned about astronomy (a child-led interest that we all happen to share) we found several good documentaries on Netflix to back up the reading we did on the weekends.
My husband found a few podcasts that teach various sciences, as well. When we were at work the boys hooked their iPods to a speaker and listen to the lectures while doodling or taking notes.
Don’t Try to Replicate School at Home – Have a Flexible Approach to Learning
I’ve already mentioned that we unschool some subjects, but I want to stress that our approach to homeschooling is more about learning at home and not at all about schooling at home.
Because we give our children the freedom to learn and foster a life-long love of learning, we realize it’s important that they’re exposed to new information and not important to recreate a traditional school environment in our home.
Our open-mindedness about our children’s education has allowed us to be more relaxed about some things that might worry other homeschooling parents. For instance, we know that it’s not necessary for an authority figure to be present in order for a child to learn. In addition, people often better retain information they find out for themselves rather than information that’s forced on them.
Without a strict, traditional school-at-home approach we were free to structure (or not structure!) our school day as needed to accommodate our work and the boy’s extracurricular activities. This sometimes included using evenings and weekends for school.
Working Full Time and Homeschooling – A Day in the Life
Overall, our experience of working full-time and homeschooling was a positive one. Since this article is already long, I’ve written another one that shows what a day in our life looked like when I was working full-time and homeschooling.
Check out this awesome resource – How To Work and Homeschool